Richard Garriott lambasts 2011 Ultima Online
Talks of collaboration, and of his new RPG.
Richard Garriott has sneered at the direction Ultima Online, his creation, has taken since he was "pushed" from the MMO years ago.
In a long post on Facebook, detailing his rise to fame and quest to build the ultimate RPG, he declared that "Richard Garriott is an essential ingredient in the Ultimate Ultima".
He also pronounced his apparent willingness to collaborate with EA, owner of Ultima Online.
"Since I am no longer at the helm of UO, let's look at where it has gone in my absence," he wrote. "Elves and ninjas have been added into the game, things I specifically had banned. This is only a small example of why and how Ultima has drifted away from Richard Garriott, but I have not drifted away from Ultima.
"Overused, irrelevant and reused RPG elements are not the essence of my Ultimate RPG.
"It is clear to me that I, Richard Garriott, am an essential ingredient of at least the Ultimate Ultima, if not more broadly the Ultimate RPG. Perhaps one day, now that the people who pushed me out of EA more than a decade ago are long since gone, EA will recognise that together, we could rebuild that franchise in a way that they have failed to do in the intervening years. Richard Garriott is an essential ingredient in the Ultimate Ultima!
"Now I wish I could still build in the previous world of Old Britannia," he added. "Yet until the powers at Electronic Arts see the wisdom of such a collaboration (some there do, and player pressure could help), I must plan to rebuild in a New Britannia."
Not that Garriott hasn't tried to build a New Britannia before now; Tabula Rasa, a collaboration with NCsoft, was to be it - but it flopped. Fast.
"I would argue that Tabula Rasa strove to be a worthy Ultimate RPG," wrote Garriott, although he acknowledged it "may have fallen short in some areas".
Garriott's new company, Portalarium, will continue the quest to make an Ultimate RPG.
"Here is what I feel is safe to say," he wrote. "Lord British's Ultimate Role Playing Game, which may be called 'Akalabeth' or may be called 'New Britannia' or may be called 'a name I cannot yet say as it describes the setting I am considering and think I should keep secret at least until I know if it's likely true,' will be an Ultimate RPG.
"You will have customised Avatar homesteads and real roles to play in a deep, beautifully realised highly interactive virtual world. It will have virtues and the hero's journey reflected back to the player. It will have the best of synchronous and asynchronous features in use. Fiction will support your arrival from earth into this new world. I even hope to make maps, coins and other trinkets available to players of the game.
"But, please be understanding," he added. "It took 25 years to craft all the detail in Ultima. The new world will start smaller, thinner and lighter. It will have fewer features than some or most MMOs. Critical elements of the story I have just told may be missing upon launch.
"But fear not, this is where we are headed."
Garriott lauded the free-to-play business model and its near invisible barriers to play. But what platform exactly he'll build his new game on is unclear. Maybe he'll opt to span social networks and mobile. Maybe he'll pick Facebook. All seem viable, judging by his comments.