In 2007, Warren Spector taught a class at the University of Texas and invited 12 prominent developers to tell their stories of being pioneers in the game development industry, with the goal of preserving the history of our favorite hobby. His tenth guest was Richard Garriott, the game-developer-turned-astronaut who created the Ultima series of games that played a strong part in defining the RPG and MMO genres. In this 3-hour video, Garriott gives incredible insight into the process of making games, and is very frank about the problems, errors, and mistakes made along the way.
Richard Garriott's ambitious plans for Ultima Online 2 appear to have hit a bit of a snag. Like a bad horror movie plot twist, it turns out that his "very high level" discussions with EA don't exist. And, I don't know, his roommate's actually been dead for 20 years or something. At any rate, EA's giving the whole thing a big shoulder shrug.
"I'm not sure what Richard Garriott is referring to. But no one at EA is discussing partnership or licensing opportunities related to the Ultima Online franchise," EA head of corporate communications Jeff Brown told IndustryGamers.
So yes, those stories are rather, er, at odds with one another. Somewhere along the line, wires clearly got crossed. As such, I've contacted both sides in hopes of straightening things out. More soon, hopefully - unless, of course, I'm actually a ghost.
The classic RPG Ultima IV has been freely available to download for years, but distribution sites have suddenly started getting cease and desist letters from EA. Sites hosting downloads and flash versions of Ultima IV have been forced to pull the game, starting rumours that EA may be planning a new entry in the Ultima series.