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Ultima IV Will Be ''Re-imagined'' F2P Title By BioWare Mythic

BioWare Mythic is currently working on a new installment in the Ultima franchise called Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar. It will be a free-to-play game for the PC and iOS platforms, combining BioWare's AAA level of storytelling with the classic Ultima universe. Thing is, this game isn't exactly new -- it's a re-imagining of a classic Ultima title release back when Back To The Future was still in theaters.

"It is Ultima IV," Paul Barnett, creative director at BioWare Mythic, explained to Kotaku in a call. "We've taken Ultima IV, and then we've re-imagined it. We've basically taken the Batman reboot option. The Spider-Man reboot option."

"What we've done is we've picked Ultima IV, and then we've made it so it's small groups of people, three or four people down [in] the dungeon, going through the world of Ultima, going in to see all the famous towns and all the NPCs and the entire world's available," he added.

Released in 1985, Ultima IV ditched the typical hero vs. villain RPG scenario and introduced a complex alignment system based on the Eight Virtues derived from the combinations of the Three Principles of Love, Truth and Courage. Players developed their character into a spiritual leader, focusing on mastering Honesty, Compassion, Valor, Justice, Honor, Sacrifice, Spirituality, and Humility.

"Going into hot air balloons and flying over mountain ranges, getting into galleons [and] sailing across the oceans, surviving the great big storms, getting back to sea monsters, going to Stygian Abyss, and then competing to collect the actual Virtues, the eight Virtues that make you a good person, which is why Ultima IV is neat," he said. "[We'll be] doing that by giving you quandaries, actual conversations that you have to solve."

One example would be the player finding money. There's a merchant that lost money -- giving the funds back to him would be the Just thing to do. Yet giving the money to someone who is starving would be the Compassionate thing to do. This is the driving force behind the game: both are good options, and the player must evaluate both, weighing one against the other.

The biggest challenge, Barnett admits, is bringing an ugly old 1985 PC game into the 2010s. He compared the original game to Battleship Potemkin, a 1925 Soviet film that pioneered many techniques that nearly all movies have used since its debut.

"I mean, I'm aware that Battleship Potemkin defined modern cinema, but it's not a great view. You watch it and go, 'it's black and white and a bit crap, I'd rather watch something else.' And that's basically the problem we've been faced with, is how to reimagine and reboot a classic and make it so that there's a new generation that can have an Ultima," he said.

EA and BioWare announced the game on Thursday, revealing that it will offer cross-platform action-RPG gameplay between the PC and iOS devices "so gamers can experience all of the rich and deep RPG elements with friends, wherever and whenever they choose to play." Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar is slated to launch later this year although interested Ultima fans can sign up for the closed beta by heading over to the game's official website.

The rest of Paul Barnett's interview with Kotaku can be read here. The remainder of the conversation talks about how the game will generate revenue, and that it's currently in the alpha stage. "It works, it's lovely, it's in polish mode. But I can also tell you the powers that are more powerful than me are deciding when we roll out our beta and our final push," he said.

  • bystander
    I believe the Ultima series was the games that got me into playing RPG's. I'll definitely be taking a look at it. Good times.
    Reply
  • noobalert
    "combining BioWare's AAA level of storytelling" with EA' FFF level of service, and support! Bioware, and mythic made great games in the past, but now under the helm of EA there business strategy has been. "Ve don't care. Ve still vant ze money, Lebowski, or ve *** you up."
    Reply
  • mouse24
    "three or four people down the dungeon"

    Why is that in the sentence, it doesn't make much sense if its in there.
    Reply
  • sephirothmk
    noobalert"combining BioWare's AAA level of storytelling" with EA' FFF level of service, and support!
    Hahahaha yea, are Bioware and EA on crack? Bioware's storytelling has been nothing but bland and repeating and EA's level of service is nonexistent after they receive your money.
    Reply
  • aggroboy
    sephirothmkHahahaha yea, are Bioware and EA on crack? Bioware's storytelling has been nothing but bland and repeating and EA's level of service is nonexistent after they receive your money.That's probably subjective. I thought Bioware still has one of the best game storytelling among major developers.
    Reply
  • tomfreak
    aggroboyThat's probably subjective. I thought Bioware still has one of the best game storytelling among major developers.may be it was b4 acquired by EA
    Reply
  • assasin32
    Tomfreakmay be it was b4 acquired by EA
    No Bioware had crappy storylines even before EA acquired them. Neverwinter Nights storyline sucked, main game also sucked. Where it shined was the multiplayer, I spent more time playing that game than any other game I have ever owned by far.
    Reply
  • f-14
    Activision and EA
    you know how D3 sucks?
    ....we've made it so it's small groups of people, three or four people down the dungeon, going through the world of Ultima,...
    that's one major reason why right there.
    guess i know where activision gets their 'brilliant ideas' from.

    here's a perfect example
    http://www.geek.com/articles/games/blizzard-community-manager-warns-gamers-diablo-iii-isnt-awesome-20120223/
    Regardless of whether it’s next month or three months from now, fans are very excited about Diablo III. However, one of Blizzard’s community managers named Bashiok is concerned there’s too much hype, and has gotten quite serious about it in the Battle.net forums.

    Bashiok explains that part of his role as a community manager is to manage the expectations of gamers. He feels the expectations people have for Diablo III are, quite frankly, way too high. He compares it to M. Night Shyamalan movies, suggesting the third game in the series is no Sixth Sense, it’s more like a sequel to The Happening. If you’ve watched both those films, that’s a pretty damning statement to make.

    The one mistake Bashiok made was to not explain himself properly. His comments could be interpreted as a warning that the game isn’t very good, but I don’t believe that is what he is trying to say. Diablo III isn’t bad, it’s just not going to be a breakout title like Diablo was because it can’t be. It’s still going to be a fantastic gameplay experience, but it’s basically more of the same, which is what fans want in an up-to-date graphical form on modern hardware. if you expect anymore than that then yes, you will probably be disappointed.
    Reply
  • MrMakapuu
    Hey EA how your games doing? EA "Well the experiement with SWTOR is up in the air, it is KOTOR 3 btw, we just wanted to milk it with the subs, think of it as 12 games for 1. Muahahaha cha ching!” “ME3, well we kinda rushed that one, but hey it looks kinda good, but we knew it had no soul, but hey we sure made a shit load of CHA CHING!!!! Oh and how about your ULTIMA IV reboot? EA “ Well its already made, will just make it reall stupid this time for masses!!! CHA CHING CHA CHING!!! Hey EA how your games doing? EA "Well the experiement with SWTOR
    Reply
  • noobalert
    9380783 said:
    CHA CHING CHA CHING!!! Hey EA how your games doing? EA "Well the experiement with SWTOR

    A better example is what they did to Warhammer Online, and Mythic Studios.

    Its funny that they still use the name Mythic in there Title "Bioware Mythic" I guess they plain on making a Dark Age of Camelot 2 to squeeze all they can out of that failed investment.
    Reply