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Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar MMO coming to Steam Early Access in November

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Shroud of the Avatar

If you're one of the people who threw nearly two million bucks at the Kickstarter for Richard Garriott's very Ultima-esque MMO Shroud of the Avatar last year, you've likely already been playing it, in a pre-release state, for quite some time. But soon everyone will be able to join in, as developer Portalarium revealed yesterday that the Steam Early Access launch is just a month away.

As the title suggests, Shroud of the Avatar is very much a spiritual successor to Garriott's famous and long-running Ultima RPG series. The Kickstarter, in fact, says the goal is to "tell a story even more compelling than Ultimas IV-VII, create a virtual world more interactive than Ultima VII, [and] develop deep rich multi-player capabilities beyond combat akin to Ultima Online."

How close the game currently comes to that lofty goal will soon be revealed to all, or at least to those willing to spring for it on Steam. "We are moving full steam ahead (oh yes, I went there) towards our Steam Early Access launch on November 24," Executive Producer Starr Long revealed in the latest Kickstarter update. "We were nervous at first about moving to Steam, but are feeling great now based on the overwhelmingly positive and speedy results of our Steam Greenlight campaign, and the incredible support Steam has been giving us."

Playing the game through Steam is optional but Portalarium is asking that backers do so in order to help with testing and preparation for the Early Access launch. Details on how to do so, along with a breakdown of what's changed and been added to the latest release of the game, are up at shroudoftheavatar.com.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.