Ultima creator Richard "Lord British" Garriott has launched a Kickstarter for his upcoming RPG Shroud of the Avatar: Forbidden Virtues.
Developed by Garriott's studio Portalarium, Inc, Shroud of the Avatar promises to return to the genre's roots when it used to be about making tough decisions and influencing the story rather than grinding through arduous combat so you can be funneled through a streamlined narrative.
"While advancements in graphics and sound have been phenomenal, in many ways the virtual worlds we play in have become less real. Less open. Less immersive," said the developer on its Kickstarter page. "With Shroud of the Avatar, Richard and his team will again reinvent the classic fantasy role-playing experience."
Portalarium promises Shroud will contain the core tenants of what Lord British considers to be the "Ultimate RPG." This consists of: a "fully interactive world"; deep lore, with actual developed fictional languages; physical trinkets, like cloth maps and fictional manuals; and multiplayer online support - though Shroud of the Avatar will also be available offline, unlike some games.
There won't be any preset character classes. Instead, players are invited to customise their own identity without such strict barriers for what you want to be when you grow up.
The first 5000 backers to pledge $25 will receive a digital copy of the game upon release, as well as early alpha and beta access, estimated to come out around December. Those who give $60 will receive the same plus the honorific title of "founder" for their in-game character, along with early access to a backer-exclusive development blog. And $100 donations receive all of the above plus digital access to a language translation guide, art book, and soundtrack.
Having launched mere hours ago, the Kickstarter has already brought in $91,401 towards its $1,000,000 goal with 29 days to go before the 7th April deadline.
Shroud of the Avatar is due around October 2014 for PC, Mac and Linux.