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Published on December 13th, 2011 | by Dan


Richard Garriot Trying to Remake Ultima Online

Ultima Online is before a lot of KBMOD readership’s time.  However, this game is one of the more important games of all time.  It was one of the first, if not the first true MMO. Ultima Online launched in September of 1997 and I believe is still running today. The game has undergone a few different overhauls and ten or so expansions but remains true to the original.

Since the early 2000’s EA has had control over the game and owns all the IP related to it. Now the original creator of the game Richard “Lord British” Garriot is in high level talks at EA trying to regain control of the intellectual property for the game.  He recently told Euorgamer that “We’ve actually talked to Electronic Arts about [Garriott leading Ultima Online again]. 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.”  I would be all for a complete rebuild of the seminal MMO.  EA is apparently not completely behind the idea:

“There are some parts of the organisation that would love and embrace and clearly understand the logic of ‘wouldn’t it be great to work together on an ‘Ultima’.  And then 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 not I should be involved in it. And I don’t know where the counter-forces come from.”

EA is resistant in some circles to letting him in on any Ultima project.  I think we should see what he can do with new technologies 14 years after the original game.  MMOs made after Ultima Online owe a lot to what he and his team accomplished in 1997.  He has said that the new project he is already working on would be the “spiritual successor” to Ultima Online anyway. Having access to the framework would help to sharpen the game up and bring it the content it needs would be a great boost for the game.

He also stated that the new game would be free-to-play and usable across multiple mobile platforms.  This is the only downside that I can see.  Garriot wants the new game to be accessible in browsers and on mobile, iPhone, iPad, and Android.  I guess we shouldn’t expect too much of a graphical or game play overhaul, but only time will tell.  The prospect of a new Ultima game is enough to hold me over for now.

Watch some old school ancient wyrm battles below:

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I put the OO in Swagoo. One of the founders of KBMOD. I stream on Twitch as well as writing and editing for the website.

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