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EA shutting down Lord of Ultima

Ho ho not Richard Garriott, silly.

EA has condemned Lord of Ultima to death. Servers will be switched off 12th May.

Was it ever going to last?

Lord of Ultima launched in 2010, toting the name of Richard Garriott's famous role-playing series but none of the gameplay. It wasn't a hero-based adventure for a start - it was a free-to-play browser game about building castles and expanding empires.

Those were the days of the FarmVille gold rush, when gaming giants like EA hurriedly plundered their vaults, dollar signs in eyes, dragging up old favourites and adapting them for a new age. 'We'll show them who's boss.'

Thank god that didn't carry on.

"While glory has flickered in the heart of this new world, the shadows of the old one have risen to take it back from us forever," was the whimsical explanation for closure given by Lord of Ultima community manager Ophidian.

"It is always hard when we are met with such choices and the decision to retire older games is never an easy one."

Presumably not enough people were playing Lord of Ultima to make supporting it worthwhile. The writing was on the wall when the game's developer EA Phenomic shut down last summer. Back then, EA said it was adjusting development to "better focus our teams against priority growth areas".

Thank goodness EA's other attempt at adapting the Ultima licence for a free-to-play market, Ultima Forever, turned out much better. Oh, hold on, no it didn't. "Ultima's character has been corrupted and trammelled into a grotesque parody of itself in Ultima Forever," we wrote. "This game is a desecration."

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Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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