A hefty new gameplay demo for Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues surfaced this week, giving us a look at a "90-days-in prototype" of the in-progress RPG. As Garriott himself points out in the video, the gameplay represents the initial steps into developer Portalarium's 18-month plan for the Kickstarter-funded project.
Most people would be ecstatic about raising the money for their dream project on Kickstarter. But Richard Garriott has been to space, so presumably every subsequent achievement pales in comparison. "That was an excellent quiche I just made," a man who had been to space might hypothetically think, "but it wasn't as good as the time I was strapped into a giant rocket and went to goddamn space." Nightmare.
If Garriott can still feel earthly pleasure, he's presumably pretty pleased right now. The Kickstarter for his spiritual successor to Ultima, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, has closed out at $1.9 million - nearly double the required target.
Richard Garriott has posted a follow-up to our interview with him published on Tuesday ("Richard Garriott on why 'most game designers really just suck'") which he titled "Words Taken Out of Context."
I agree with him - they were. When he says that "Behind the inaccurate inflammatory headlines extracted from a longer dialog..." he's clearly referring to a number of news sources that chose to repeat his provocative statement, but failed to take the time to fully examine and independently interpret the whole story, or even follow up on their own with Garriott to ask what he was getting at rather than just blurting out the most provocative thing they could. That's tacky.
When Ultima creator Richard Garriott stopped by to show me Shroud of the Avatar, his new RPG which just met its $1M Kickstarter funding goal, he brought along some objects for show and tell. First, he produced a folder containing a stack of loose, lined paper—the first record of Ultima's world, featuring Sosaria, Lord British, and the evil Mondain. Holy crap, that should be in a museum, I thought.
“Let’s Reboot” takes a look back at a classic in need of a new outing or a beloved series gone stale and asks how it might be best redesigned or given a kick up the backside for today’s gaming audience. The Rules: Assume a free hand, and a decent budget, but realistic technology and expectations. This week’s sacred cow – the RPG with its sights set on honour... and eight other virtues too.
The next few months are either going to be really good, or really, really heartbreaking for Ultima fans. Officially on its way, we've got Ultima Forever, which will... ah... hopefully be better than it looks so far. Original creator Richard "Lord British" Garriott is also launching an independent revival of the series' core themes, if not the Ultima brand itself, with the online/offline Kickstarter project Shroud Of The Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. What neither of them are though is a classic RPG casually redesigned for the sake of a quick thought experiment. So, in the name of Britannia... Let's Reboot!
Taking a break from visiting space, ruling over his fantasy kingdom, and performing his other lordly duties, Lord British (or, as he's known in this realm, Richard Garriott) has created a new teaser website, which primarily consists of a giant clock counting down to... well, we don't know. However, the fantasy-ish font, the use of his Ultima name (Lord British), and a few other hints on Twitter leads us to believe the big reveal - due in just over 5 days - may be something RPG related, and probably for the PC.
If you're stumped for something to play this weekend, you might find some inspiration in this enormous weekend sale at GOG.com, which has lined up 26 of EA's goodest oldest games and shot 60% off their prices with the discount gun. If you're rolling in money, $62.14 will get you all the Ultimas, Wing Commanders, Populi (Populouses?) and Dungeon Keepers, plus loads more, or you can buy each game individually for $2.39, which should be about £1.49 in old money.
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.
The confusing tale of EA and Richard Garriott exchanging words or suggestive winks or smoke signals or something continues. First, Garriott claimed that Ultima-licensing-related talk had occurred at a "very high level." Then EA more or less said, "Wait, what? Since when?" So I got in touch with Garriott's current company, Portalarium, in an attempt to figure out why the two stories sounded like they'd occurred in alternate dimensions. Here's what I found out.
Crusader isn’t about action, or even shooting. It’s not about explosions, about story, or about saving the world from the generic totalitarian government in charge of it. It’s about being That Guy. You know the one. The one the guards have no chance of stopping. The one who just walks through any trap. The one who’s sent in alone to save the world because he and his gun are, if anything, overkill.
Action heroes don’t get much sleeker than the Silencer—an unnamed, mute super-commando who worked for the evil, all-controlling World Economic Consortium until ordered to massacre a group of civilians. Refusing, he officially switched sides and joined up with the rebels instead, lending his gun, skill, and (most importantly) awesome-looking battle armor to their noble cause. Just one glance at him tells you you’re many, many weight classes above most enemies you’ll face.
In an interview with IndustryGamers veteran RPG creator Richard 'Lord British' Garriott said that he would be interested in making new Ultima games with EA, who currently hold the rights to the brand, saying "In fact, we’ve had some discussions at what I’ll call very high levels."
It has been twelve years since Ultima IX: Ascension, the last of the series, sadly Garriott followed his statement by saying "The individuals who are currently shepherding the property don’t seem to be particularly interested in that, so we’ll see." He did remain optimistic though, saying "The door's always open if they were ever interested."
Would you be interested in more Ultima games? Or is it too late to bring the series back?
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who attended our PC Gaming Press Conference last Friday at PAX. It feels damn nice to pack a room with PC gamers, and talk directly about some of the innovations, ideas, and good things happening on our platform. If you weren't in Seattle last weekend, we're delighted to bring you video of the full presentation. Inside this post, we've also broken out the video into timestamps for your convenience.
We're really looking forward to doing this again next year in a bigger way. Obviously we don't think of ourselves as the keepers of PC gaming as a platform, but if someone isn't going to get on stage, gather some exciting upcoming games and say nice things about the PC, by jove, we'll do it. To that end, if you have any suggestions for format, content, or who you'd like to see at such an event, let us know in the comments.
The gregarious and gracious guys at Good Old Games are at it again: Richard Garriott's Ultima I, II, III, and IV will become the latest additions to their collection of PC classics for sale on Tuesday, August 30. The first three Ultima games will come bundled for the same price. And Ultima IV? That'll be free for the taking!
And then, like mana from heaven, Peter Molyneux's original god game Populous will join them shortly after, on Thursday, September 1, for another $5.99.
Every year, thousands of games are pitched, hundreds are released, and just as many... simply vanish. In most cases, we never even hear about them. Sometimes, the code can be on the verge of hitting the shelves, only for the company to fold or the publisher decide to cut their losses. We've been on a nostalgic trip through our back issues to remind ourselves of the ones we were most disappointed not to get the chance to play, both because we thought they were going to be great, and because we just really, really wanted to see what the hell some of our favourite developers were working on.
Here's our list. Share your biggest non-release regrets in the Comments...