Game designer Richard Garriott is working on his next RPG, which will be either a spiritual successor or an actual sequel to Ultima Online. Garriott says he's entered discussions with EA about having access to the property again, but he's not sure if everyone at EA is on-board with his vision for the series.
"I would love to have access to the Ultima property," Garriott said. "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."
Before you get too excited, though, Garriott also pointed out that a deal hasn't been struck, and some at EA might not be receptive to his ideas.
"Electronic Arts is a big company," he told Eurogamer. "There are other parts of the organisation who - I'm actually not sure where the resistance comes from, but it must be people who either have their own ideas about where the product should go, or have their own ideas about whether or nor I should be involved in it. And I don't know where the counter-forces come from."
But even if it's not formally Ultima Online 2, Garriott feels his next game will carry the series torch. "What essentially makes an Ultima an Ultima is the principles of design," he said. "And I'm very confident that when players sit down with this new world they will very quickly recognise that, whether or not we end up doing any deal with Electronic Arts. This is clearly the spiritual successor of the Ultima series."
Garriott expects the game to take "a year or two," saying that they'd be "very excited" to finish it within one year. Whatever name it takes, you may be playing a de facto Ultima successor sooner than you think.