What can we expect of Sid's Pirates! 2?
  Back in safe hands

The number of people who have played Pirates! and its 'sequel' Pirates! Gold is staggering. It almost makes you wonder why it took 15 years to come up with a full sequel (not counting the Gold version, even if that had enough changes to be called a sequel).

Now it's finally here though, or at least finally announced. With the announcement, we've also seen the transfer of the rights of 'many' of Sid's original titles back into his hands. Remember that when Sid left Microprose, the licenses remained with them. When Infogrames took over Microprose, they gained the rights to Sid's legacy. These days, Infogrames is called Atari and thus until recently, Atari owned the rights to build games on Sid's titles. The transfer of the rights puts them in the (in our eyes) rightful owners hands once more but probably also means that there are restrictions on with whom Firaxis is allowed to publish these titles.

But enough of the technical stuff. The important part is that at least the sequels will be produced under Sid's capable supervision and this includes Pirates! 2.

What we know...

So what do we know about Pirates! 2? Well, considering it's due out in the next 8 months or so, surprisingly little. There have been no screenshots, no real description of the gameplay and basically, nothing much to go on at all.

We've been doing some digging around and gathered all the available info and started analysing the data. Armed with the results we dare to speculate, but no more than that. ;-) So, here goes...

At this years E3, the huge yearly game expo held in Los Angeles, Firaxis announced that are working on a sequel to Sid Meier's Pirates!. A press release followed shortly after with again, precious little information about the game itself.

    In it, we're promised:
  • Updated gameplay
  • 3D graphics
  • New features (like forging alliances, several paths to wealth)
    We can also derrive that these features remain:
  • Players play a pirate captain
  • Exploring the seas
  • Ship to ship battles
  • Hand to hand combat
  • Taking over enemy ships
  • Raiding forts
  • Treasure hunting
    Some characteristics are spoken about:
  • Role playing aspects
  • Fame
  • Wealth

We also know that the game will use NDL's Gamebryo engine, which is a fully 3D engine that has powered a number of great games like Morowind, Dark age of Camelot and Freedom Force. It has proven not only to be an engine that can produce great graphics, it has also shown great flexibility. So it sounds like a great engine for Pirates! 2.

Speculating on a game to be

So, what can we make of all this? Well, to be honest, I think we're going to see something of a marriage between the old Pirates! Gold and a game like Sea Dogs. From the official game logo I'd derrive that it will probably be a game that doesn't take itself too seriously (As in, sense of humour, not overly realistic). I'm almost positive that the fun element will weigh heavier than the realism which in my opinion is a good thing. Too much realism in games tends to narrow the target audience considerably. I mean, Need for Speed has always sold better than Geoff Grammonds Grand Prix 3.

In any case, Pirates! 2 will go 3D but if you check out some of the pictures that come with this article, you'll notice that 3D is a very broad concept. For now I'll stick with the Pirates! Gold/Sea Dogs marriage as the most likely thing to happen to the game. This would mean that we'll still be adventuring, careering and will see enhanced empire building where it's possible to take over enemy forts and claim them for the nation you're sailing for. The adventure aspect will receiver more attention this time and the role playing part, though present before, will have considerably more depth.

From the sounds of things, we may also expect the game to as open ended as it was before, hopefully with a different time scale so that a game runs longer and we don't die at a young age. It would be great if quests would be generated at the start of a new game so that each game will come with new challenges although a main storyline will most likely be implemented.

Oh, and before I forget, many Gamebryo-based games allow plugins or modifications (mods) which could mean we'll see lots of small mods for Pirates! 2 arrive from the community as well as from Firaxis.

All this sounds great of course, but remember that all this is pure speculation. There's a good chance that this article will become obsolete the moment more details are revealed. ;-) If you want to add your ideas to the Pirates! 2 speculations, join this thread in our forum.

Written by Falconer

Pirates! Publisher

Sid's new Company

Makers of the Engine

Sid's old Company


Dark Age of Camelot

Freedom Force

Sea Dogs/PotC