10 Years Later, A Terrible Game Is Not So Terrible Anymore

10 Years Later, A Terrible Game Is Not So Terrible Anymore

In a rush to cash in on the popularity of the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, publishers Bethesda and developers Akella released in 2003 a very strange game. It wasn’t really a Pirates of the Caribbean game. It had been in development as a sequel to Sea Dogs, a 2000 game that itself was basically a homage to Sid Meier’s Pirates!

So despite adding a few characters specific to the film, and the obvious name change, the game actually had very little in common with Disney’s blockbuster property.

But what it did have was promise. As I remember it, the game that shipped wasn’t all that great, a pale imitation of Meier’s classic, but the bones were there for something better, potential modders quickly realised and set to work upon fixing.

And so the Pirates of the Caribbean: New Horizons project was born.

One of the longest-running mods in existence, the goal of the team was to transform the 2003 game into “as full an historical Age of Sail game experience as possible”.

There’s only so much they can do working within the confines of someone else’s game, but what they’ve done is amazing.

You can check out the complete list of what’s been changed, from graphics upgrades to major gameplay tweaks, at the project’s site below.

New Horizons [ModDB]


  • I had this game on the original Xbox and apart from the charcters looking nothing like Johnny Depp or Orlano Bloom etc it was a great semi open world pirate game, better than the Sid Meir re-boot in fact.
    I tried one of Akella later pirate games and it was a buggy mess complete with crashes to desk top every 5 minutes, but the Xbox one was great.Ha, I don’t think I’ll be writing the end of that last sentence again.

    • Indeed. I love articles about games I can’t get.
      Absolutely loved the original Sea Dogs too

  • HOLY SHIT I remember this game!

    I got it through book club orders through school! (without telling my parents…so sneaky of me!) it barely worked on your computer but…well it ended up working

    I knew immediately that it was nothing like the movies but even then (when I was too naive to belive a game could be bad) I thourght it was probably a good thing..since watching a movie rendered poorly again was akind of dumb

    I had alot of fun with it…the “open world” RPG nature was not something I was used too, I remember somone told me about an exploit with the loansharks where you could keep taking out loans while putting the money in a chest in their own house…somehow you ended up with shitloads of money

    also one of the very few games I actually finished in those days…I don;t remember the plot….but I do remember kirea knightly narrated some of the pre rendered cutscenes

  • I also had the game on the original xbox. I loved it. 3-5 years ago I saw the game on sale at EB in the cheap bin, I grabbed it. I never knew there was mods for it.

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