Garriott 'in discussions' with EA about new Ultima

Game designer Richard Garriott talks about his current RPG project, his talks with EA about making it an Ultima project, and the legacy of the series living on whether his next game carries the name or not.

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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.

Editor-In-Chief
From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 12, 2011 1:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Garriott 'in discussions' with EA about new Ultima.

    Game designer Richard Garriott talks about his current RPG project, his talks with EA about making it an Ultima project, and the legacy of the series living on whether his next game carries the name or not.

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      December 12, 2011 1:00 PM

      Oh boy! Get Chris Roberts in there too for a new Wing Commander.

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      December 12, 2011 1:29 PM

      I think it's time to get Romero back to make another Daikatana game.

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      December 12, 2011 1:45 PM

      Ultima 10 developed by BioWare.

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        December 12, 2011 2:01 PM

        Don't even joke about that.

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        December 12, 2011 2:38 PM

        I hope not

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          December 12, 2011 2:43 PM

          Remember a time when you actually wanted this to be true? WTF happened, Bioware.

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            December 12, 2011 2:50 PM

            EA happened. I wish developers would stop letting themselves get bought by them, you'd think at this point they'd realize their company will get fucked with like with Origin, Westwood, and Bullfrog.

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              December 12, 2011 3:54 PM

              And Bioware.

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              December 12, 2011 3:59 PM

              To be fair to Greg and Ray, the decision wasn't theirs. They sold to Elevation Partners and they sold to EA.

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              December 12, 2011 4:02 PM

              The people who make the decision of who gets bought only care about the money.

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                December 12, 2011 4:05 PM

                The higher ups and suits don't care about integrity, just $.

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            December 12, 2011 3:55 PM

            DA2 was their only slipup. We still have DA:O, ME1, ME2, etc. DA2 faults lie squarely with EA forcing them to rush it out the door.

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              December 12, 2011 3:56 PM

              And even then, DA2 is pretty fun I thought. It had some faults but didn't deserve the harsh criticism it received.

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                December 12, 2011 4:35 PM

                The only thing I can really complain about is the gross overuse of four-five level layouts .

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              December 12, 2011 3:59 PM

              Not really. I mean DA2 has tons of problems for just being rushed out the door sure, but Bioware has taken a conscious direction away from making anything resembling actual RPGs for a while now.

              And indeed, that is where their best games are, ME is the shining star at Bioware and it is NOT an rpg, Dragon Age is their limp dick secondary identity crisis franchise.

              I liked DA:O but it was just a warmed over BG2, and DA2 was DA:O cut down on every front, so what is DA3 going to be? Probably not anything I wanna play.

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                December 12, 2011 4:01 PM

                From what I understand though, DA makes the money and ME gets the kudos. DA costs far less to make because it's an in-house engine with no royalties to Epic, doesn't use big name actors and composers and the actual dev time and resources allocated to DA is less than ME.

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                  December 12, 2011 4:04 PM

                  Well DA2 was like 18 months so probably yeah it cost less and was profitable in terms of money coming in and out, but ME sells tons, like ME2 opened with 500k copies sold in the first week or something, it's a legit big franchise and DA2 had a hyped release that tanked immediately afterward.

                  DA:O though - you may have to pay Epic for Unreal Engine but you also have to develop your own technology. DA:O's costs over that best part of a decade they were making the game for were probably not small at all.

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                    December 12, 2011 4:06 PM

                    Don't underestimate the cost of overhauling an existing engine. From what I gather they basically used the render system and a few other things for ME1 because there was no RPG elements at all. UE3 as good as it is is still an FPS engine at it's core. Also, not sure where you get the idea that DA2 tanked. I thought it sold pretty well.

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                December 12, 2011 4:02 PM

                Isn't BG2 their best? How does KotOR compare to their newer games?

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                  December 12, 2011 4:04 PM

                  I still think it's their peak RPG. KotOR is more polished, but BG2 is just so epic.

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                    December 12, 2011 4:08 PM

                    The somewhat static, painterly style of the Infinity engine games gives them a literary feel. The sheer length helps with as well, and BG2 in particular feels like a treasure of that era. The character creation phase alone took quite a while.

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                      December 12, 2011 5:58 PM

                      Whoa, I actually agree with Marrbe, but I guess it's about video games, so that makes sense.

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                December 12, 2011 4:04 PM

                You sumbitch, DA:O was a great game. A game doesn't have 17 million levels of technobabble to be good. I loved BG2, and loved DA:O as well. :(

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                December 12, 2011 4:35 PM

                BioWare has not always been a strict RPG company. Their first game was a Mech game. They also put out MDK2 and Jade Empire. These were all good games. I don't mind the mixing of the genres they have taken to.

                They lost alot of cred with Awakenings and DA2. Awakenings was rushed out the door and never got fixed while DA2 felt like an expansion with some missions tacked on. Both could have been great but I would have been pissed if I paid full price for DA2. Basically you get a set of about 10 areas repeated throughout 3 chapters. Wish they wouldn't have gone the MMO route as no matter how good it turns out to be it's still another MMO. Would have much rather seen a proper KoTOR.

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                  December 12, 2011 5:55 PM

                  The games you named are pretty well the red headed step children of the company. The first game was being developed by Trent Oster and his brother and got brought into the fold, MDK2 was dropped in their lap my Interplay and Jade Empire started promising, but they couldn't pull off the action elements and teh RPG side wasn't quite strong enough to compensate.

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                December 12, 2011 6:54 PM

                SpaecKow will we ever see romance in a Bioware game that isn't fucking insipid?

                Tell me about your terrible past!

                a: Provide shoulder to cry on
                b: Punch her in the cunt

                Uh oh, you disagree on a course of action!

                a: Immediately capitulate to her desires
                b: Punch her in the cunt

                You've been caught talking to another female party member!

                a: Cut all ties with said party member, declare everlasting worship
                b: Punch them both in the cunt

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              December 13, 2011 12:43 AM

              [deleted]

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          December 12, 2011 3:53 PM

          I would be fine with that. it really doesn't matter, does it? I mean no one else is equip to make a modern Ultima either.

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        December 12, 2011 9:26 PM

        It'll be a new studio called Bioware Origin (that would actually be amazingly amazing)

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        December 13, 2011 12:42 AM

        [deleted]

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      December 12, 2011 1:50 PM

      [deleted]

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      December 12, 2011 1:58 PM

      Oh god no :( Going to be terrible if it's not in the vein of Ultima VII

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        December 12, 2011 2:39 PM

        I got excited about him making a new Ultima until I saw it's going to be a sequel to UO. I mean, I heard UO was awesome in the early days but I want something like Ultima 4-6 or 7.

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          December 12, 2011 10:10 PM

          I swear UO was the beginning of griefing online.

          I didn't play many MUDs, so I'm not sure if PVP was involved in those but man... UO was a pain in the ass in the early days.

          The only people that rant about 'the old UO' days and how awesome they were just the first batch of people that figured out the mechanics to GM (gain 100 skill) in Magic or Animal Taming (dragons were beast in the early game).

          I played UO for 7 years, both pre- and post-Trammel/Factions but before the Japanese expansion packs and the game was still good.

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      December 12, 2011 1:58 PM

      Lords of Ultima 2????

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      December 12, 2011 2:19 PM

      I really wonder what an Ultima game released in say, 2012/13 would look like.

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        December 12, 2011 8:57 PM

        Ideally... it should look like a more realistic (less cartoony) Diablo III but in Britannia. I know it's probably too much to ask for... but a 6 - 8 member party with turn based combat system would make my entire century.

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      December 12, 2011 2:26 PM

      Ultima 2144: Trading Swords for Plasma Rifles

      Play as the Guardian or the Avatar in the thrilling mulitplayer.

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        December 12, 2011 2:41 PM

        You, sir, are ignoring Ultima II, in which I drove a landspeeder and used laser weaponry.

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      December 12, 2011 2:37 PM

      Hopefully EA won't force him to make it crappy like Ultima 8 and 9 and will retain the depth of the earlier games.

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        December 12, 2011 3:47 PM

        I bet he just needs more space bucks and doesn't really care what EA does as long as the check doesn't bounce.

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          December 12, 2011 7:08 PM

          I would be ok with that too if that meant another Idle Thumbs podcast talking about it.

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        December 12, 2011 6:02 PM

        Love my U9 Dragon Edition!

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      December 12, 2011 4:38 PM

      Well, it's a foregone conclusion that EA won't really considering this until they see early success with SWTOR. If that hits any significant snags (maybe I should say when), they'll likely turn away from this idea. EA hasn't had a great track record with MMO.

      Regardless, I dunno what a Lord Garriott RPG or MMORPG would look like any more. Be able to sit down to the game and just know that it's an Ultima title? I dunno about that. Not as an MMO I don't think; especially since I totally didn't care for the gankfest that was UO.

      Still, he can design a single player game, so there's hope. Maybe he's taking notes from SWTOR about how to blend the two.

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      December 12, 2011 5:19 PM

      I would love to play a new Ultima that had Lord British involved but not if it's an mmo.

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      December 12, 2011 6:46 PM

      Ultima VIII: For Real This Time

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        December 12, 2011 6:46 PM

        i would also accept Ultima VII: Part Three. hopefully this is the valve secret announcement

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      December 12, 2011 6:55 PM

      Just remake Ultima's 4-7 and ill be happy with that

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      December 12, 2011 7:12 PM

      isn't he, uh, doing social media games now?

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      December 12, 2011 8:47 PM

      !!!!!!!!! WHOA!!!! WHAT?!?!?!? 8|

      Holy shit.. this is huge. I haven't even read the article yet but the title alone was worth at least 15 exclamation points! Ultima V is my favorite game of ALL time and I'm all as Stonehenge so I've played a lot of games.

      PLEASE let this happen. I knew that loony would smarten up one day and get back to real work! Fuck that space shit and make me an Ultima!

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        December 12, 2011 8:52 PM

        Ok... I took a Valium and read the article. Still awesome but please just drop UO 2 and make a REAL Ultima IX! There were so many great ideas and so much potential before it all just went horribly wrong. Just the fact the he's making an Ultima-like game would be amazing. I'm not crazy about the idea of doing it in 1 year though... that sounds a bit rushed... I want it to be huge and rich and deep (get your mind out of the gutter).

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      December 12, 2011 8:51 PM

      I don't know, after Tabula Rasa I'm not convinced Garriott still has the ability to make a great game.

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      December 12, 2011 10:12 PM

      UO2 would be awesome!

      A game that's 15 years old that still has a paying community of anywhere between 50K to 100K (plus whatever rogue servers people have setup) is a strong IP.

      I thought SWTOR was exciting but this is the best MMO related news I've heard in a long time.

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      December 12, 2011 11:40 PM

      UO, with improved graphics and modern features, playable on pretty much any device and console.

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      December 13, 2011 12:26 AM

      EA has become a no buy warning for me, I'd recommend Garriot to get back the rights to his IP and make it without EA meddling and messing things up like a fat greedy banker.

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      December 13, 2011 12:55 AM

      Battlefield:Ultima

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      December 13, 2011 7:59 AM

      I still think UO is one of the best MMO's to date !!! :)

      I was an Alpha tester for the series so I might be biased lol

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