At an E3 press conference today, Atari and Firaxis announced that the developer will create a new game: Sid Meier's Pirates! Firaxis' decision to revisit the classic game was inspired by, as Meier put it, "the many requests we've gotten from game players." According to Meier, Firaxis has received more requests to revisit Pirates! than for any of his other previous games in the more than 15 years since the original game's release.
According to Meier, Pirates! helped players feel as though they were undertaking buccaneering as "a career"--many players wrote in and explained how they enjoyed the classic game's unique combination of action, role-playing, and strategy elements. "We're at a point where it makes sense to reimagine the game for the 21st century," said Meier, who suggested parallels between the open-ended exploration of games like Grand Theft Auto III and the original Pirates!, since the original game encouraged players to explore the high seas in search of adventure. However, according to Firaxis president Jeff Briggs, the new game may put more emphasis on role-playing elements. Specifically, players will be able to truly decide to be noble sea captains in service to the king, or dastardly, scurvy pirates in search of innocent vessels to plunder.
Sid Meier's Pirates! will be released next year. According to Meier and Briggs, the game will be made available to members of the press "sometime before the game is released next year." We'll have more information on the game as soon as we can possibly get it.