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.
"There are no current conversations going on between Richard and EA regarding Ultima," director of communications David Swofford told PC Gamer in an email. "There have been conversations before regarding Ultima, but I'd refer to those as casual and they never really developed into anything more than that.
"Portalarium is currently having conversations with several companies about distributing our other products, which we've been doing a lot of recently as we get closer to the launch of Ultimate Collector," he added.
"I think if you go look at the original article where this came from…the one from Eurogamer, you'll find that Richard never stated that he was currently having conversations with the folks at EA regarding Utlima. What he was referring to were the type of partnership/distribution inquiries that I referred to above."
So basically, wires got crossed, words were misunderstood/printed out of context, and here we are. Oh well. A "spiritual successor" to Ultima Online is still better than nothing. And hey, you don't need to worry about an evil trans-dimensional Richard Garriott with nefarious plans to enslave all humanity. That's always a plus.