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Garriott: Ultima Online 2 "Theoretically" Possible

By - Source: Eurogamer | B 15 comments
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Richard Garriott's Ultimate RPG could convert into Ultima Online 2 if an agreement can be made with EA.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Richard Garriott said that his current project dubbed as Ultimate RPG could theoretically become Ultima Online 2. Nothing is set in stone as of this writing, but he admitted that he and EA were on speaking terms and may work together again in the near future.

"We've actually talked to Electronic Arts about [Garriott leading Ultima Online again]," he said. "I would love to have access to the Ultima property. We've had discussions at very high levels with Electronic Arts about access to the property. We're in discussions with Electronic Arts even now about a possible marketing and distribution relationships and things of this nature."

He said there's a split within EA about a possible collaboration: one side that's all thumbs up over the idea, and one half that's resistant because some people have their own ideas about future Ultima projects, and some that seem to have their own ideas about Garriott's possible involvement. Regardless, he's open to the idea of a collaboration, but the Ultima "spiritual successor" wouldn't be a clear, direct sequel.

"If you look back at Ultimas 1, 2, 3 - they weren't related to the rest [of the games]," he said. "Five of the later six games were all in literally the exact same world with the exact same characters and cities I actually think it's time to move on from that regardless, so even if we were to have access to the properties of my historical work, I don't think I would change my current plans. I'm very confident of the current plans as the right way to evolve my creation, regardless."

But the game will keep its isometric presentation whether it's Ultima Online 2 or Ultimate RPG, yet Garriott's team has created a toolset that will allow the game to be either isometric or an actual non-flat 3D presentation. It will also be free-to-play and have the ability to perform on any major platform (notably PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Android, etc).

"We are platform agnostic," Garriott explained. "We will do social media, we will do downloadable executable, we will do web browser and we will do mobile, iPhone, iPad, Android. Our intention is to do the same game across all those. I don't want to do the game where it plays on everything except your iPhone and we'll do some miniature trading game or some hamstrung version. That's not my interest."

To read the full interview, head here.

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  • -8 Hide
    bebangs , December 13, 2011 7:05 AM
    +like if they can port the old Ultima games to android.
    no likes for online Ultima games on android...
  • 2 Hide
    intel4eva , December 13, 2011 11:47 AM
    from the article
    Quote:
    "We are platform agnostic," Garriott explained. "We will do social media, we will do downloadable executable, we will do web browser and we will do mobile, iPhone, iPad, Android. Our intention is to do the same game across all those. I don't want to do the game where it plays on everything except your iPhone and we'll do some miniature trading game or some hamstrung version. That's not my interest."


    So basically it's going to be crap. How the hell can a game any of us drool over work on freaking facebook or a mobile phone? This guy's got dollar signs in his eyes. Too bad, reading the title I thought of Ultima Online and hoped it was making a modern comeback.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 13, 2011 11:58 AM
    Don't forget, this is the guy who believes console gaming is over:

    "I think we might get one more generation,might, but I think fundamentally they're doomed," he told Industry Gamers.

    "I think fundamentally the power that you can carry with you in a portable is really swamping what we've thought of as a console."
  • -1 Hide
    stormblade42 , December 13, 2011 1:30 PM
    I would be looking forward to his game. This dude greatly helped set the foundation for online RPGs and RPGs in general. Ultima 3 for the Commodore 64 is still my favorite RPG of all time.
  • 4 Hide
    sliem , December 13, 2011 2:44 PM
    I played Ultima 4 through 8, like 7a and 7b the most. 4 and 5 are the hardest and 8 (and heard 9) are the worst designed. I played UO back in 1998 and quit 4 years later, after my house got broken into by a glitch/bug. Sold my account for $400 :D .
  • 2 Hide
    stevelord , December 13, 2011 2:57 PM
    Played the original Ultimas has a kid. U7 was the best. Still some of the best quality RPG work to date.
  • 2 Hide
    SapienChavez , December 13, 2011 3:31 PM
    this is awesome!

    i just cancelled my UO account last week, after 13+ years... the first castle north of Minoc, on the Sonoma server, is now decomposing... go camp it; should drop in about 80 days ;) 



    ps- U4 is free on GoG.com right now: http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/ultima_4

    warning, it hasnt aged well!
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , December 13, 2011 3:44 PM
    Ahhh good old UO... Played from 98 till about 2001. Was like virtual crack cocaine! Ruined my college career. Once they took away multiple houses and basically ended PK'ing, it was time to ebay the accounts. Brought in about $2300 bucks for 2 loaded accounts. Built a new computer with the money and swore off any online RPG ever again!
  • 0 Hide
    kinggraves , December 13, 2011 4:57 PM
    intel4evafrom the article So basically it's going to be crap. How the hell can a game any of us drool over work on freaking facebook or a mobile phone? This guy's got dollar signs in his eyes. Too bad, reading the title I thought of Ultima Online and hoped it was making a modern comeback.


    You think an Ultima game will be bad because of bad graphics/low processing power?

    You've never played Ultima.

    Still, when UO came out there was little competition for it. Now the MMORPG scene is flooded with various titles. Ultima is an old school classic series that set the standard for PC RPGs today, but now that it's the standard, releasing a plain old Ultima title is going to be just that, standard. Is Lord British going to have something that differentiates this title from all those that have taken his formula and improved on it over the years, or is he going to count on brand recognition alone to hook old schooler players into buying it? It's been a long time to even be considering a sequel.
  • 3 Hide
    gm0n3y , December 13, 2011 5:20 PM
    UO is still the only MMO that I've played for more than a month (put about a year into it back in the day). This project sounds like its going to be full of fail.
  • 0 Hide
    Marcus52 , December 13, 2011 10:23 PM
    Not a fan of isometric or "free to play", which really means "charge you for stuff in the game that would be paid for with a subscription and will cost players more money in the end". It has been shown the average F2P player spends more money on their MMOG than the average subscription player. Frankly, I don't want to spend time with a player base made largely of people who believe they are actually getting something for free when they aren't, put out by a company that lies about their game's cost in order to market it to those people.

    The current population of MMOG players is bad enough in games that still have subscription fees exclusively. (Notice, I call them "MMOGs", not "MMORPGs" they have no clue what "RP" means, even if they did when they were made, their player base ruins it and the companies don't care.)

    I don't want to sound too negative, their are still a bunch of great players out there, but it's despite the companies that make the games and sell them, not because of them.
  • 0 Hide
    nottheking , December 13, 2011 10:42 PM
    kinggravesYou think an Ultima game will be bad because of bad graphics/low processing power?

    No, I think they're saying an Ultima game would be bad because it'd be dumped down to be on a par with Farmville. And on that, I'd be inclined to agree; complexity and a long learning curve are two of the strong points of the series.

    kinggravesUltima is an old school classic series that set the standard for PC RPGs today, but now that it's the standard, releasing a plain old Ultima title is going to be just that, standard.

    Actually, many things introduced in the series are still considered bleeding-edge; most "open world" RPGs are only on a par with the depth of the SECOND, "Age of Enlightenment," trilogy. Nothing's really quite yet matched Ultima VII: The Black Gate. Elder Scrolls games could've by now, had, say, Daggerfall not been badly rushed, or the devs started progressively dumbing-down each subsequent game.

    This lack of advancement is no more pronounced, perhaps, than with MMOs, where evolution has taken the opposite course: almost all MMOs are attempted clones of World of WarCraft, or EverQuest before that. The similarities, often even in superficial elements, is blatant. The generic formula is almost always kept the same: a quick comparison of The Old Republic to WoW will give you the idea.

    In this respect, Ultima Online stands DRASTICALLY out there, by using so many design choices that are simply not taken today, simply for being too "bold," or often "not easy enough to do." A few examples that, for those that take UO's innovation for granted, would help refresh minds:

    - Zero instancing, massive-content, soft leveling. Rather than relying on creating instances so everyone has a spot to play, the game instead relies on having many MASSIVE areas and dungeons, (Despise is larger than WoW's BlackRock Depths) and has a leveling curve and loot system that makes most dungeons worthwhile for both new and endgame players.
    - Player-count flexibility. WoW's standard is pretty rigid: to get anything done, you need a tank, a healer, and 3 DPS'ers, or a multiple thereof. By the time you can solo a dungeon, none of the drops are worth it. Meanwhile in UO, solo'ing is quite fully plausible even if you're avoiding quests. In fact, it's more the norm. You can entirely strip out all the other players, and the game winds up being about 90% as playable as before. So rather than the social aspect being a CRUTCH like in modern MMOs, it simply is there to add yet more dimensions: trading, player-owned shops, theft, open-competition guild-based PvP, etc.
    - Lack of fixed classes. I get somewhat amused by the effort many developers go to re-brand the exact same re-hashed archetypical classes. WoW just drops most of the pretense, and uses the most basic of names for what is essentially the same assortment of classes and roles most MMOs have. UO simply cut out fixed classes and let everyone build their own, resulting in countless invented classes, that allowed for player-developed variance that completely embarrassed any degree of mere talent-tree spec'ing.
    - Greater ability to specialize. Going hand-in-hand with the above, there's more than just a handful of roles one can play; in a WoW-style game, the classes are often only stylistically different variations of a few roles: a hunter and a mage are, for the most part, both ranged DPS'ers. UO's system and variances made it so that while sure, one could classify as "ranged attack," one couldn't remotely lump everyone in who qualified: sometimes slower, more powerful attacks were better than raw DPS, sometimes AoE attacks had a serious value, and other types, for some reason or other, just did better at specific hunting spots and dungeons than others.
    - Open PvP. Though the second expansion sent the game to a less bold stance here, it's still pretty unique: games that emphasize PvP enough to make it matter as more than a form of e-peen waving ("I ground longer for my arena gear than you did!") are almost invariably a niche category, partly due to failing to be terribly compelling for their non-PvP content. Provided the rest of the game is up to snuff with the original, a UO II would be able to bring a PvP focus back to the mainstream, by both having open PvP AND not neglecting the PvE part of the game.

    Seriously, if any game managed to replicate the design choices that UO went with, and produced a competent, not a rushed-and-half-finished one, it would stand out entirely on its own merits, regardless of the name, setting, etc. slapped onto it. Of course, the Ultima brand would be by far the most befitting of such an audacious game.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , December 14, 2011 4:35 AM
    notthekingNo, I think they're saying an Ultima game would be bad because it'd be dumped down to be on a par with Farmville. And on that, I'd be inclined to agree; complexity and a long learning curve are two of the strong points of the series.Actually, many things introduced in the series are still considered bleeding-edge; most "open world" RPGs are only on a par with the depth of the SECOND, "Age of Enlightenment," trilogy. Nothing's really quite yet matched Ultima VII: The Black Gate. Elder Scrolls games could've by now, had, say, Daggerfall not been badly rushed, or the devs started progressively dumbing-down each subsequent game.This lack of advancement is no more pronounced, perhaps, than with MMOs, where evolution has taken the opposite course: almost all MMOs are attempted clones of World of WarCraft, or EverQuest before that. The similarities, often even in superficial elements, is blatant. The generic formula is almost always kept the same: a quick comparison of The Old Republic to WoW will give you the idea.In this respect, Ultima Online stands DRASTICALLY out there, by using so many design choices that are simply not taken today, simply for being too "bold," or often "not easy enough to do." A few examples that, for those that take UO's innovation for granted, would help refresh minds:- Zero instancing, massive-content, soft leveling. Rather than relying on creating instances so everyone has a spot to play, the game instead relies on having many MASSIVE areas and dungeons, (Despise is larger than WoW's BlackRock Depths) and has a leveling curve and loot system that makes most dungeons worthwhile for both new and endgame players.- Player-count flexibility. WoW's standard is pretty rigid: to get anything done, you need a tank, a healer, and 3 DPS'ers, or a multiple thereof. By the time you can solo a dungeon, none of the drops are worth it. Meanwhile in UO, solo'ing is quite fully plausible even if you're avoiding quests. In fact, it's more the norm. You can entirely strip out all the other players, and the game winds up being about 90% as playable as before. So rather than the social aspect being a CRUTCH like in modern MMOs, it simply is there to add yet more dimensions: trading, player-owned shops, theft, open-competition guild-based PvP, etc.- Lack of fixed classes. I get somewhat amused by the effort many developers go to re-brand the exact same re-hashed archetypical classes. WoW just drops most of the pretense, and uses the most basic of names for what is essentially the same assortment of classes and roles most MMOs have. UO simply cut out fixed classes and let everyone build their own, resulting in countless invented classes, that allowed for player-developed variance that completely embarrassed any degree of mere talent-tree spec'ing. - Greater ability to specialize. Going hand-in-hand with the above, there's more than just a handful of roles one can play; in a WoW-style game, the classes are often only stylistically different variations of a few roles: a hunter and a mage are, for the most part, both ranged DPS'ers. UO's system and variances made it so that while sure, one could classify as "ranged attack," one couldn't remotely lump everyone in who qualified: sometimes slower, more powerful attacks were better than raw DPS, sometimes AoE attacks had a serious value, and other types, for some reason or other, just did better at specific hunting spots and dungeons than others.- Open PvP. Though the second expansion sent the game to a less bold stance here, it's still pretty unique: games that emphasize PvP enough to make it matter as more than a form of e-peen waving ("I ground longer for my arena gear than you did!") are almost invariably a niche category, partly due to failing to be terribly compelling for their non-PvP content. Provided the rest of the game is up to snuff with the original, a UO II would be able to bring a PvP focus back to the mainstream, by both having open PvP AND not neglecting the PvE part of the game.Seriously, if any game managed to replicate the design choices that UO went with, and produced a competent, not a rushed-and-half-finished one, it would stand out entirely on its own merits, regardless of the name, setting, etc. slapped onto it. Of course, the Ultima brand would be by far the most befitting of such an audacious game.


    what would make a great mmo today... thats kind of a hard thing to ask... personally, i don't think ultima would be a good one, it would be different but it wouldtn shake the mmo world... no, here is what i believe would be a good mmo for today.

    just an absolute massive landscape. im talking over 1000x1000 miles, it doenst need to be all hand crafted, you could take the mine craft world generator, generate a 1000x1000 land mass, and just cherry pick areas to expand on and hand craft.

    a 1000x1000 area would allow for players to make their own cities, with a mincraft like build model, and possibly real 3d modeling, submitting for implementation, and a real patch for it.

    set the world up for a 3-5 year cycle. as in the devs make real events that change the landscape of the world on the fly, and after 2-4 years of build up, it hits the fan, and ends in a year long war, where the players of the world can either win or lose, and the win/lose means different things depending on the side you are fighting for.

    there would be no absolute evils in this world, every one/ every race/ every npc could be on your side.

    as for combat. make it something meaningfull, like a demon souls / dark souls like, with some skyrim class defining, i dont want to invest time into a game that is click, wait 3 seconds and click again till things dead. i want slow, methodical combat.

    outside of the few main cities in the game, controled by developers, players are tasked with makeing their own cities, getting npcs to come, and players.

    and for the love of god, no the "best" weapons the game, i cant discribe the system, but i have a way to make the the game about what you want to look like, want to ware rags, fine, can be just as good as gear that you find in a kings vault.
  • 0 Hide
    nottheking , December 14, 2011 1:24 PM
    alidanjust an absolute massive landscape. im talking over 1000x1000 miles, it doenst need to be all hand crafted, you could take the mine craft world generator, generate a 1000x1000 land mass, and just cherry pick areas to expand on and hand craft.

    I'm not even sure you could comprehend how large that would be in a game. To date, the only game that can THEORETICALLY reach that scale has been MineCraft, and AFAIK no one has actually generated a world that size; it's just been pointed out that THEORETICALLY, the worldsize is only limited by that of 32-bit integers.

    The largest contiguous map in any game was that for The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, which was staggering: depending on how it was calculated, it comes up to 60-220,000 square miles or so, which still falls notably short of the 1 million you propose. Such a massive world would be impractical for an MMO, even if you made it a "one shard" design like EVE Online. Supposedly Lord of the Rings Online's map was 30,000 square miles, placing it in second. (my own examination suggests it's less than a thousandth that size, though)

    If you'd played Ultima during the older days, you'd know that player-created cities existed even there, in spite of the map being much smaller; the Britania facets (Trammel & Felucca) only came up to a mere 5.4 square miles each: folding in the other facets, the modern game has perhaps 15 square miles of territory or so.

    A "massive" world doesn't need be such horrendous. Depending upon the desired player-count, the density of actual CONTENT in the world, (an acre of hand-crafted territory is still worth well more than an acre of randomly-generated land) and the speed of travel, one can make do with a vastly smaller piece of land. Many games you think of as "huge" are likely vastly smaller than you're thinking. I'd recommend taking a look at this image just to see. It's also worth noting that, barring Daggerfall, a lot of the supposedly "huge" maps are actually nowhere near that size: judging by structure size of Nightfall, for instance, 1.5 square miles is more reasonable than 15,000. (at that sort of scale, cities should NOT be showing up as anything other than single pixels, like they do in DF) Similarly, the interactive map for LotR Online likewise suggests much less than 30,000 mi².

    The largest land-based fantasy MMO is still likely World of WarCraft, which does approximately fit its ~100 mi² claim.

    alidanset the world up for a 3-5 year cycle. as in the devs make real events that change the landscape of the world on the fly

    Ultima Online has already done this: I can name two cities off of the top of my head (Haven and Magincia) that were destroyed; while the latter's now been gradually rebuilt into New Magincia, the former, last I checked, remains a ruin, and the entire island's landscape was radically changed; much of it was completely obliterated, with nothing but water there. Similar, if less-cataclysmic, changes have happened elsewhere, and even in other MMOs. (WoW's elf/park district in Stormwind comes to mind) With UO, there's a constant state of flux due to storyline events, that not just change the landscape, but the NPCs and, say, monster spawns.

    alidanthere would be no absolute evils in this world, every one/ every race/ every npc could be on your side. as for combat. make it something meaningfull, like a demon souls / dark souls like, with some skyrim class defining, i dont want to invest time into a game that is click, wait 3 seconds and click again till things dead. i want slow, methodical combat. outside of the few main cities in the game, controled by developers, players are tasked with makeing their own cities, getting npcs to come, and players.

    The combat doesn't need to be slow to be methodical. Again, take a look at UO's, which is very fast-paced, but much more involved than other MMOs. As for the open-world PvP... That's also standard for a lot of MMOs. EVE Online pops to mind there: most of the game's galaxy is "zero security," with no permanent NPC presence. Control and construction in them is left entirely up to the players, and there's a constant war to take control over as much territory as possible. And in plenty of MMOs (even WoW-like ones that aren't WoW) avoid a contrived "good race vs. evil race" scenario, letting players pick whatever side they want as they see fit. (and the good games let them make up their own sides, such as EVE)

    alidanand for the love of god, no the "best" weapons the game, i cant discribe the system, but i have a way to make the the game about what you want to look like, want to ware rags, fine, can be just as good as gear that you find in a kings vault.

    This really already exists in current games: WoW's transmogrification system is a good example. (as it allows you to take high-level equipment, and switch its appearance to anything else you can find)
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , December 15, 2011 8:04 AM
    notthekingI'm not even sure you could comprehend how large that would be in a game. To date, the only game that can THEORETICALLY reach that scale has been MineCraft, and AFAIK no one has actually generated a world that size; it's just been pointed out that THEORETICALLY, the worldsize is only limited by that of 32-bit integers. The largest contiguous map in any game was that for The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, which was staggering: depending on how it was calculated, it comes up to 60-220,000 square miles or so, which still falls notably short of the 1 million you propose. Such a massive world would be impractical for an MMO, even if you made it a "one shard" design like EVE Online. Supposedly Lord of the Rings Online's map was 30,000 square miles, placing it in second. (my own examination suggests it's less than a thousandth that size, though)If you'd played Ultima during the older days, you'd know that player-created cities existed even there, in spite of the map being much smaller; the Britania facets (Trammel & Felucca) only came up to a mere 5.4 square miles each: folding in the other facets, the modern game has perhaps 15 square miles of territory or so. A "massive" world doesn't need be such horrendous. Depending upon the desired player-count, the density of actual CONTENT in the world, (an acre of hand-crafted territory is still worth well more than an acre of randomly-generated land) and the speed of travel, one can make do with a vastly smaller piece of land. Many games you think of as "huge" are likely vastly smaller than you're thinking. I'd recommend taking a look at this image just to see. It's also worth noting that, barring Daggerfall, a lot of the supposedly "huge" maps are actually nowhere near that size: judging by structure size of Nightfall, for instance, 1.5 square miles is more reasonable than 15,000. (at that sort of scale, cities should NOT be showing up as anything other than single pixels, like they do in DF) Similarly, the interactive map for LotR Online likewise suggests much less than 30,000 mi².The largest land-based fantasy MMO is still likely World of WarCraft, which does approximately fit its ~100 mi² claim. Ultima Online has already done this: I can name two cities off of the top of my head (Haven and Magincia) that were destroyed; while the latter's now been gradually rebuilt into New Magincia, the former, last I checked, remains a ruin, and the entire island's landscape was radically changed; much of it was completely obliterated, with nothing but water there. Similar, if less-cataclysmic, changes have happened elsewhere, and even in other MMOs. (WoW's elf/park district in Stormwind comes to mind) With UO, there's a constant state of flux due to storyline events, that not just change the landscape, but the NPCs and, say, monster spawns.The combat doesn't need to be slow to be methodical. Again, take a look at UO's, which is very fast-paced, but much more involved than other MMOs. As for the open-world PvP... That's also standard for a lot of MMOs. EVE Online pops to mind there: most of the game's galaxy is "zero security," with no permanent NPC presence. Control and construction in them is left entirely up to the players, and there's a constant war to take control over as much territory as possible. And in plenty of MMOs (even WoW-like ones that aren't WoW) avoid a contrived "good race vs. evil race" scenario, letting players pick whatever side they want as they see fit. (and the good games let them make up their own sides, such as EVE)This really already exists in current games: WoW's transmogrification system is a good example. (as it allows you to take high-level equipment, and switch its appearance to anything else you can find)


    1000x1000 of random generation, and canned places on the maps, i cant see takeing up a truely massive ammount of space. hand crafted areas by either developers or by players would probably take more space.

    i played ultima a bit, but not much, it was before i really got into rpgs, but the game called to me in the store as i think a 11 year old kid. it was a bit to complex for me at the time.

    i prefer the slower combat, and everyone can deal with slower combat, but not everyone can handle fast paced. id rather a game be more about strategy than twitch reflex.

    and for world changing events, im thinking more allong the lines of a war front that can sweep across the land, and take player cities under siege, where the people in charge the game could turn more to a strategy game then an mmo. or even a player triggered event, where they wake up a sleeping beast, like a old powerful dragon, that just rips apart the land, possible that players cant stop it at all.

    and i dont mean taking the best armor and making it look like other crap, i mean taking the crap and making it great, questing to gather material for further enchantments. that kind of thing.

    i really wish i could be on an mmo team at least with design, as i think it would be fun to craft a whole world.