You Can Buy Ultima VII!

By John Walker on November 29th, 2011 at 12:15 pm.

This is what games look like.

Good Old Games have been adding a bunch of EA games in the last few weeks. But today’s requires a post. They’ve got hold of the complete Ultima VII, widely considered to be the best in the Ultima series. (Argue!) So in there is all the extra bits and bobs, The Black Gate, Forge Of Virtue, Serpent Isle and The Silver Seed. For $6/£3.85. Which is nice.

, , .

81 Comments »

  1. duncanthrax says:

    Unarguably the best in the Ultima series.

  2. sabrage says:

    Is Ultima VI a good place to start with this series, or should I just roll on with VII? Can’t really stomach the graphics on anything before that.

    • duncanthrax says:

      U7 is a perfect start since it opens the story arc until U9. U8 isn’t bad but U9 was a complete technical failure.

    • Kapouille says:

      I happen to have started the series on U6. It’s also pretty good, but definitely not as good as U7 (and Serpent Isle)

    • arioch says:

      To be honest I would start with 7 and then if you fall in love with it go back and do 4,5 and 6…

      6 has a fantastic racism driven plot, but a lot of the game plays in a pretty clunky way…. I seem to remember struggling to finish it, but I did, and I still have fond memories…

    • Vorrin says:

      U6 is also really really good,tho graphically/technically obviously enormously inferior, I would say story/world/emotion-wise its a clash of titans,between that and u7,so yes,definitely a good point to start.

    • JackDandy says:

      Come on now, I gave IV a go not too long ago, it aged pretty well. You just gotta keep an open mind.

      Plus, you’ll definitely benefit from playing the titles from IV-onwards, since the world map stays the same, along with locations and characters. You’ll feel more attached to the whole experience.

    • Infinitron says:

      arioch:

      I’d argue that the claim that Ultima VI is a game about ‘racism’ or ‘social tolerance’ is a post-hoc misinterpretation of that game’s plot, one perpetuated by Richard Garriott himself.

      Ultima VI was more of a Cold War parable about making peace between two opposing civilizations, or two warring religions. It had very little to say about racism or tolerance – that had to wait until Ultima VII. The gargoyles weren’t a part of Britannian society that was being discriminated against. They were an external enemy – a misunderstood enemy, but an enemy nonetheless – that was attacking Britannia.

    • nimnio says:

      I recommend starting with Ultima I, as it’s the first game in the series.

    • Wizardry says:

      I started with Akalabeth: World of Doom, but I’ll advise younger gamers to start with Ultima IV. There’s comparatively little to be gained from playing the earlier games.

    • sabrage says:

      @JackDandy, Wizardry: Well, Ultima IV is free on GoG, so it can’t hurt to give it a go. I’ll probably make a thread somewhere down the road when I do.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      Suggestion: if playing ultima 4 or 5, take notes outside the game. These games largely revolve around ‘figuring it out’, and without the notes they’re totally overwhelming, and with spoilers they feel a bit stupid.

    • JackDandy says:

      DEFINITELY take notes. The game’s almost impossible without them. You should read the manual, it’ll do you wonders.

  3. arioch says:

    Nice one – cheers for the heads up!

    Have re-bought it as my copy on 1.44″ double density floppys is ever so slightly out dated.

  4. Echo Black says:

    The camera in this game has always baffled me. It looks so unnatural!

    • vexis58 says:

      It makes me dizzy for the first 10 minutes or so, but then I get used to it. Every time I see a screenshot of it, though… Just looking at the top of this article makes me feel like I’m going to fall. Why can’t they use nice, NORMAL isometric view like everyone else, rather than feeling like I’m hanging upside down by my ankles above the action?

    • MonolithicTentacledAbomination says:

      Yeah, wtf is going on with that camera angle? I can’t look at screens of this game without feeling like it’s about Bizarro world.

  5. Metonymy says:

    Harsh invective, Ultima 4, unkind words.

    You know I think the comment system suppressed posts containing the word H E double L, so instead of writing better material, I’m going to complain about it here. I need to be able to compare games to….the Abyss, and the proper terminology is essential.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Like hell it does…

    • Dr. Evanzan says:

      @Metonymy,

      to… the Stygian Abyss?
      Besides, given your nomme de guerre I would have thought you wouldn’t have any problem substituting your terminology!

      More on topic, I was always an Ultima Underworld man.
      Is this considered outside of the main Ultima series?

      I’ve never played any of these non-Underworld Ultimas but I may pick up VII for curiosities sake.

    • adonf says:

      @Dr. Evanzan The UW games are part of the Ultima storyline. I think that UW2 takes place between U7 and U7 part 2 (In U7:SI the Avatar goes to Serpent’s Isle because of something he found in UW2)

  6. Premium User Badge

    Horza says:

    Sold!

  7. JackDandy says:

    So they finally added 7, huh?

    Glad I got it off Abandonia before GoG got it’s rights.
    I like GoG’s business ethic, I even buy some games from them- But currently EA’s holding the Ultima license, and I’ll be damned if they see any dosh from me.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Why are you glad you pirated it before you could buy it?

      Oh, wait you think abandonware is a real thing not just a side step?

    • JackDandy says:

      Pirating or abandonware, the name doesn’t matter. As long as EA doesn’t get to see my money from it, I’m glad.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      The way I see it: EA has learned to change most of the ways it used to suck. Putting this game up for sale instead of burying it forever is one way of showing that they have changed.

      Why?

      Well obviously: the entire message of Ultima VII is “Have fun being a hero! (EA is the devil!)”.

      Ultima VII is undoubtedly the Citizen Kane of games. It did exactly the same thing to Richard Garriot’s career that Citizen Kane did to Orson Well’s career. Both were the respective creators’ opuses, and both were aimed at taking down a particular company/person. Both are magnificent works regardless of the real life issues behind them.

      Despite EA’s past sins, I have mostly forgiven them, not least because they have a completely different set of executives now. Also because Activision and Ubisoft have done more harm recently and I was willing to buy Starcraft II and From Dust in spite of that harm. So I might as well forgive EA as far as buying their games on Steam and GoG.com is concerned.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It’s not like the devs are making any money off it now.

    • JackDandy says:

      Last time I checked it out, EA still doesn’t have any respect for past games (See the new Syndicate and the botched-up Dragon Age 2). Thus, the company still hasn’t earned my respect.

    • drplote says:

      Hooray for feeling entitled to things for free, and justifying it morally by saying you’re keeping money out of the hands of the “evil” corporation.

    • vecordae says:

      Last time I checked it out, EA still doesn’t have any respect for past games

      Given your cavalier attitude about simply stealing them, it would seem they have slightly more respect than you do.

      If you genuinely have an issue with EA, then don’t play their games. Buy and play someone else’s games.

    • mike2R says:

      That principled protest thing you want to do is called a boycott. It involves not only not paying for something, but also not taking possession of it; you do without it on moral grounds. The names used for doing it the other way tend to be less polite.

    • JackDandy says:

      @vecordae: I regularly do that, for companies that deserve my money.

      @mike2R: Not trying to claim a moral high-ground, or anything of the sort- I’m only stating my position towards EA and my wallet.

    • vecordae says:

      @JackDandy

      Just to make sure I understand: You want something, but don’t like the person who currently owns it. This means that it’s acceptable for you to simply take it for yourself without paying. Did I get that right?

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      I think it’s only implied that it’s acceptable to JackDandy, not to everyone.

      Opinions on the moral issues of copyright infringement in regards to software vary fairly widely, and attempts to regularize them tend to make for dull debate.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rhygadon says:

      Also, I’d say that licensing a game for DRM-free reissue is a pretty good way of showing respect for it.

    • JackDandy says:

      That’s exactly right, Vecordae.
      Jrodman’s got it figured out the best, though;
      I was only stating my personal view on these sort of things- naturally, some people won’t agree, but I’ve got no ill will towards them.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Infringing copyright is actually taking what’s rightfully yours, but after you promised (as a society, not as an individual) not to take it without monetary compensation, to encourage authors to make more/better works for the public. The promise is for a limited time and after copyright expires you’re welcome to exercise your societal property right.

      Curious how people mix up morality and artificial laws society set up with the intent of boosting the amount/quality of works produced or their internal/export economy.

  8. Uglycat says:

    What the H E double hockeysticks is wrong with you all, Ultima 3 was patently the best Ultima.

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      As dated as U7 looks now, even back when it was first out I was put off its predecessors by how clunky and dated they looked.

  9. DukeOFprunes says:

    “KILL WRATHY!”

    I very nearly failed a year in school because of Ultima 7. Between the freeware efforts of Exult, and how effortlessly U7 works via DOSbox, and having owned multiple original copies of the game back in the day, I feel a bit less than thrilled to pay for this now, especially considering the raw deal that GOG gave to Dungeon Keeper 2.

    Colour me cautious for now.

    • adonf says:

      Exult fixes some bug though, so it’s probably the best way to play it nowadays unless you like to restart the game because your keys disappeared. Also I think it adds the keyring to basic U7 when in regular U7 you need the expansion. Dealing with tens of keys moving randomly in your bags was a big pain in U7.

      Edit: Oh and Exult has character paper dolls for the main game when they originally only appeared in U7:SI

    • pakoito says:

      Also, rightclick to close windows.

  10. NathanH says:

    For someone who really struggles these days with bad old interfaces, how playable is this likely to be for me? I have a few GOG purchases like Realms of Arkania that look like they should be fun but the UI barrier is too much for me. The earlier Ultimas look too bad for me but this one seems at first glance like it is borderline.

    • pakoito says:

      I’m in your same boat, and even though it improves through Exult you have to make some mind effort to get used to it. If you get hooked I guess it stops mattering.

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      I think the interface is perfectly good. Inventory management can be a pain since the game likes to stack objects in your bags on top of one another, but otherwise I have no complaints.

    • adonf says:

      Great interface: mouse + keyboard shortcuts. There’s no quest log but the game automatically adds dialogue options for you when your character has the right information, so you don’t need to keep track of all characters and events in a notepad as with older Ultimas.

    • olemars says:

      The UI is intuitive, mostly point & click. It’s an old game though and doesn’t hold your hand.

    • NathanH says:

      Presumably it doesn’t have tooltips that appear when you mouse over something. That’s something that I always miss in older games.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      This game is from the madcap era when people didn’t think just moving the mouse pointer meant anything in particular. So just hovering isn’t enough.

      If you left-click on anything, it displays a tooltip to tell you what it is. You have to double-click to interact with anything (or click + drag to pick something up or move it around).

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      The interface isn’t too big a deal. It’s the fonts that’ll kill you. Or at least kill your eyes.

  11. adonf says:

    This is great news. I hope they add the Worlds of Ultima games now.

  12. Paul B says:

    Just checked out the GoG page. Four open-world games with hundreds of hours of gameplay but the download only comes in at 28Mb (with some of that reserved for DOSBox I assume). 28Mb! What would get you today I wonder?

  13. Bureaucrat says:

    Unrelated: GOG also recently added a Starflight & Starflight 2 combo pack.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    Am I the only one for who this game has always made their eyes go funny? That perspective …

  15. Premium User Badge

    thekeats1999 says:

    So now i have Lands of Lore, Populous 2, Starflight, Darklands, and this to grab. Oh and time to play them all.

    Stupid real life (and Skyrim) getting in the way.

  16. MadTinkerer says:

    All right, EA. I’m still not participating in your stupid “Origin” thing, but you do get a little good will from me for this. Don’t blow it too soon.

    By the way, is this a pure DOSBox emulated version, or did they use Exult? Well, either way I can always use Exult with my original (legitimate) U7 files if I feel picky about this version.

    • Premium User Badge

      JiminyJickers says:

      Dosbox. But since Exult only uses game assets and not the code from U7 it works fine with the gog version.

  17. Berzee says:

    I have played the first 3 minutes of this game about 4 times, and I always discover that I am too weak and stupid to figure out basic actions.

  18. gritz says:

    I already own three physical copies of this masterpiece but I guess I’ll go ahead and buy a fourth digital copy… just in case.

  19. hocevar says:

    FINALLY, now…System Shock 2

  20. RyuRanX says:

    The best game ever made. Simply as that.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Eric says:

    Purchased! Thanks for the heads up.

  22. skoeldpadda says:

    I’m wondering….

    I have this game since ages on my computer. I found it on abondonware and at the point, which was almost ten years ago, it didn’t seem to be bothering anyone that we could get this old gem for free. It even seemed normal.
    Now that it’s on GoG, with I guess official licensing from EA, there’s a huge problem about it, like “is the “old abandonware you spend hours configuring by yourself” still legal ?” … and by legal I mean “as legal as abandonware was in the first place”, that is : editors don’t really care because the game doesn’t sell anymore.
    GoG is a nice way to give old games a new kick, but as I see it, it’s just guys selling a preconfigured dosbox with a game that’s not on sale anymore. They’re only selling the “configuration” part (which I don’t mind, by the way, there’s games I bought from GoG because I couldn’t figure how to configure them on dosbox myself), but since they’re selling it, they need autorisation from the original editor of the game. That doesn’t really change the abandonware status of the game, does it ?

    What I mean by all that is simple : do we have to delete our versions of U7 and get it from GoG not to be considered pirates all of a sudden ?

    • N'Al says:

      I’m pretty sure abandonware was always a bit of a legal grey area (or has it?), with one way of looking at it being illegal nonetheless. In that case, it’s not really an issue of “pirates all of a sudden”, but more like “pirates still, just like you’ve always been”.

    • NathanH says:

      I think at this point it stops being abandonware, and morally you should probably buy a copy if you want to continue playing. But morally you can continue using your version instead of theirs as long as you’ve bought it. Legally I guess you were always in the wrong, but now you’re a bit wronger, but since GOG or EA or the authorities are probably not going to care what you do, it’s still not illegal enough to actually matter to anyone.

    • Agnol117 says:

      Technically, I’m pretty sure Ultima VII was never abandonware, because someone (EA) always owned the license. Out of print =/= abandonware.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rikard Peterson says:

      Technically, I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as abandonware. (But I do kind of like your definition.)

    • Premium User Badge

      JiminyJickers says:

      Yeah abandonware pretty much just mean no one is bothered to enforce their rights or they don’t know about it being offered for free. It doesn’t unfortunately mean that it is legally free.

  23. Zarunil says:

    You had me at “You can buy”.

  24. Mopo says:

    Got to love the internet community; I had no idea that so many others love U7! I am a closet gamer, so as far as I know I am the only one that secretly loves cRPGs within my circle of friends. One of my regrets was to throw away my copy of U7 and the add-ons…

  25. pertusaria says:

    Downloaded Ultima IV (because it’s free on GOG, so I already had it, and it seems like a good place to start). Man, this reminds me of a game I had when I was about ten that I was never able to figure out. Is there another game that came with an ankh? The one I’m thinking of probably had an element of party formation, which I think is where I got stuck. (I don’t think I had the manual, and I had no exposure to pencil-and-paper roleplaying at the time.)