Revealed: Richard Garriott’s Massive Ultima Successor

By Nathan Grayson on March 8th, 2013 at 10:41 pm.

Rounding out the Kickstarteriest week in gaming history, Richard “Lord British” Garriott has emerged from his castle of silence to reveal his oft-hinted-at Ultima spiritual successor, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. It’s chugging along quite nicely, too, already having charmed more than $300,000 (of a hopeful $1,000,000) out of wary wallets in a mere few hours. But how will it actually work? Sure, Garriott’s promising he’ll essentially combine single-player storylines and sandbox-y MMOs, but what does that entail? I recently met up with the ex-ruler of Britannia himself to see an early prototype of the game in action and find out all about his plans for world-building, questing, combat, real-estate, farming, and duck-economy-despising skeletons. All (and I do mean all) will be revealed after the break.

It’s early on a Monday morning, but Richard Garriott greets me with a self-assured smile and a stack of dusty, faded role-playing materials. Cloth maps, old copies of Ultima in ziplock packaging, manuals, and even the sloppily scrawled grade-school paper (Garriott proudly points out that it earned him a “rare A”) that birthed Ultima’s now-legendary universe. On one hand, it’s quite overwhelming – like I’m in the midst of some mobile museum. I’m staring down PC gaming history made manifest, primordial ooze writ large on unassuming scraps. And it’s being fondly rifled through by a man who was at the heart of it all.

I think the industry has evolved in a direction that has left a large opening for me.

On the other hand, however, the whole scene feels so rehearsed. Because honestly, it is. Garriott’s got another appointment shortly after me, and I have no doubt he’ll give them the same exact spiel, eyes still twinkling like he’s cradling a newborn child for the first time in his life.

It’s a slightly off-putting juxtaposition of sincerity and what essentially amounts to a sales pitch, but it actually fits what I ended up seeing of Garriott’s long-awaited Ultima successor, Shroud of the Avatar, bizarrely well. After all, we’re talking about a profoundly old-school-influenced RPG that’s – cue up the drum roll and prepare paramedics for injuries caused by terrifying plummets from the edge of your seatgoing to Kickstarter. Garriott has to sell me on it, just as he does you and any other diehard fan who might aid his cause.

So he’s brought his stack of PC RPG relics and plastered every piece of Shroud promotional material with Lord Britsh’s hallowed name, because that’s just how the Kickstarter game is played. But I think – or at least, I hope – there’s something real underneath it all. Even at Waaaaaaay Too Early For Nathan Grayson ‘O’ Clock, Garriott’s excitement is palpable. And sure, maybe he’s just a really good actor, but together, he and his game tell the full tale. Garriott’s not thrilled because he stands to make a little extra bank by repackaging his best ideas from yesteryear. Rather, he’s getting to pick up precisely where he left off. He can finally move forward.

“It’s been about 15 years since I’ve gone back to my fantasy role-playing game roots in particular,” he tells me. “I think that the industry has evolved and the genre of role-playing games in particular has evolved in a direction that has left a large opening for me. I kind of put role-playing games into two general categories: One I’ll put my work into, which is sort of sandbox realities, where you get invited into this world.

“Not only is there a deep, rich story that unfolds, but also you can do all kinds of things at your own pace, whether that’s to be a shopkeeper or to be an adventurer or to be a blacksmith. They’re all richly detailed ways in which to play in that world. Whereas if you compare that to, say, EverQuest or World of Warcraft, in those games, every player is first and foremost a combatant.”

So Shroud of the Avatar is, in large part, about looking back. But it’s not just a slightly-prettier-than-we-remember stroll down memory lane. Garriott wants to push the needle forward as well, but he plans to do it his way – current genre giants be damned. This, in other words, is basically the Next Great Fantasy RPG as imagined by the late-’90s. It won’t be a servant to the whims of countless cinema-quality cut-scenes, and it certainly won’t hold your hand.

“Anybody who has played the older Ultimas, they’ll get it,” he explains. “But anybody whose time in role-playing games has started with Everquest, or especially if their whole spectrum starts with WoW, then yes, I think they’ll be shocked. ‘Where are all my aids to tell me what to do next?’ Because we’re not going to tell you what to do next. It’s a real, living, breathing world. You can figure out what to do next.”

Shroud of the Avatar is a game that first and foremost can be played both offline and online.

Which all sounds very nice, but what’s actually new here? Well, the answer to that question lies in Garriott’s repeated callbacks to the likes of EverQuest and WoW. Eventually, I wonder aloud about how exactly you’d classify Shroud: as an offline single-player RPG or an MMO? Garriott’s answer? Both.

“Ultima 1-9 games were all single-player,” he points out. “Ultima Online and its various iterations have all been massively multiplayer. But I actually think there’s a great opportunity for a game that’s neither one of those. Shroud of the Avatar is a game that first and foremost can be played both offline and online, so it’s a very high-quality story-driven single-player game. That being said, if you are online, it will also search for people you know, by whatever means it can, whether you give us access to your contacts list or your social media connections. We’ll search for people you know and automatically bring them into the purview of your game.”

“You will literally be able to see them walking around in the world with you. You don’t have to party. You don’t have to group. It just happens automatically. So it’s not exactly massively multiplayer. We’re not going to bother putting 10,000 people you don’t know on screen in front of you. But if we can’t find anybody you do know, we will put some people you don’t know on screen in front of you, so the world feels rich and full. But it’s in this interesting line. It’s not, strictly speaking, single-player, but definitely not massively multiplayer.”

But other players won’t just be nameless, faceless extras in the background of your epic, multiple-continent-and-episode-spanning quest to defeat someone who Garriott will at this point only reveal is really, really mean. From Shroud’s top-down Civilization-esque exploration map, other players will be able to hop into scenarios you’ve encountered, which will be represented by little flags over locations where battles or, er, gypsy wagon dealings are going down.

Further, since players can devote themselves primarily to non-combat roles like blacksmithing, creature taming, and farming, playing online will yield a partially player-driven economy, with other techno-magic-linked fleshcreatures able to purchase and occupy pieces of real-estate (shops, etc) that’d normally be NPC-owned. Some plots of land, by virtue of location and scarcity, will be more expensive, while others might be more within the price range of those who’ve yet to become grizzled wads of scar tissue and XP.

The end goal, however, is for all of it to be completely variable. Do you want a fully single-player adventure, like the Ultimas of yore? Go for it. Do you want to hop into a populated world, but largely keep to yourself? It’s a viable option. Are you unable to function unless you’re protected by the warm, dragon-repelling chain mail that is friendship? Well then, invite real-life compatriots into the game and explore together.

Or at least, Garriott claims all of that will be possible. Watching a single-player demo unfold, however, I’m skeptical. This is, after all, apparently going to be a single truly persistent world, but you’ll only have a few hundred players populating your adventure at any given time. “How?” I wonder of the seemingly complicated system. Naturally, I get a very complicated response.

“If you’re thinking of an MMO, there’s 10,000 people on the same map in theory,” Garriott says. “You have a very complex server structure where all 10,000 people have to be shown on the same map. We have a map server that says, ‘Here’s the status of this map. If you need it, here it is.’ But there’s only, at most, a couple of hundred homesteads on a map. So all we really need to know is who those couple of hundred people are. We tell you and you can run your own client. The client and server are both on your machine, if you follow my meaning.”

BUT.

“Otherwise it is a single persistent universe. I won’t see a version of a town where you own that corner and he sees a version of the town where someone else owns that corner lot. If you own that corner lot, that is universal.”

Hm. Well, good luck buying a house, I guess.

But let’s say you want to fight. Especially if you decide to go full single-player, you’ll pretty much have to. Garriott proceeds to pull up an example scenario involving an impoverished farmstead under siege by some truly jerky wolves and outlines Shroud’s classless, context-based combat system using the most relevant example possible: modern day military combat.

“One of the things we’re trying to do is avoid more simple, hack-and-slash, Diablo combat. Although I do like that. Nor are we trying to do classic MMO, where there’s a shortcut bar and all you’re really trying to do is figure out your best damage over time.”

“The US military, prior to invading Iraq, would go off and do desert warfare simulations. So how to do desert warfare is fresh in the individual soldier’s mind. In theory they’ve been trained for swamps. In theory they’ve been trained for the desert. But you go simulate the one you’re going to use to bring it back fresh in your mind. We’re doing the same thing with our combat skills. We’ll let you basically create a deck. Out of the pantheon of skills that I’ve learned, here are the things that I’m going to keep close in my mind. Those will show up as available to me at times where it might come to my mind, or where it might be appropriate. For example, if you want to do a first strike, you might need a) to have not done any other combat and b) it might be only useful if the other person is not aware if you’re about to first-strike them.”

Once again, it’s a rather confusing-sounding system on paper, and sadly, all Garriott has on hand is a simplified version without any real skills implemented. He notes, however, that it’s like a deck in more ways than one, with challenge stemming from the fact that your skill bar won’t be fixed. Instead, you’ll essentially be drawing hands in the midst of battle, though it’ll be semi-contextual as opposed to entirely random.

Ultimas tended to watch your behavior, but not tell you how.

My brain mostly reformed after churning itself into a sludgy stew over potential logistics of Garriott’s claims, we then move into the scenario itself. Unlike the exceedingly complex, potentially fun-obfuscating systems he’s described so far, quests aren’t attempting to reinvent the wheel. Rather, they’re taking Ultima IV’s classic set to the chop shop and then giving it the cinder block treatment. Garriott explains while clicking through a sordid tale of hard times, desperate measures, and hilariously antagonistic wildlife:

“Ultimas, especially Ultima IV, tended to watch your behavior, but not tell you how they were watching your behavior. In this little example, I can come over here, and you’ll see that this woman Susan is saying, ‘Man, those wolves over there that I just go baying are really scary.’ That’s a subtle hint that says, ‘Hey, maybe you should go over to help them clear out these wolves.’ Once I clear out the wolves and come back over to her, she says, ‘Wow, it looks like our luck is turning around. We’ve been having a hard time. Thank you very much for saving us from the wolves. Look, I’d be happy to give you my wedding ring as a reward for helping us out.’ Now, I can either take it or not. If you’re purely interested in min-maxing, take it. However, once you realize that I’m watching your behavior, you might not want to. That’s a pretty dang big reward. A bit lopsided and very personal thing for just having gone and axed a couple of wolves for these people.”

“The game is building a profile of what kind of person I am. If you think about most MMOs, or frankly most role-playing games, you’re the hero because it tells you so. You’re going to kill the bad guy who’s waiting for you at the end and generally doesn’t do anything but wait for you to come kill him. We try to do something much different.”

Garriott decides to turn down the reward based on his unflinching moral compass and winning smile. After that, he proceeds to buy a duck from another member of the family, as that’s how they butter their stale, moldy scraps of bread. BUT THEN skeletons strike from the forest, because a strong duck economy is in some way detrimental to their existence, I guess? (It is here, once again, that Garriott reminds me this is only a quick mock-up example quest.) So Garriott grinds the bony assailants into a storm of snowy flakes, at which point he’s offered the scenario’s most optimal reward: a big ol’ chest of loot. I briefly question him about a skin-and-bones (perhaps even more so than their skeletal nemeses) family’s ability to obtain such a thing, but again: mock-up example.

Regardless, it all seems fairly simplistic at the moment (be a goodie-two-shoes and unlock better boots!), but Garriott insists that he’s definitely aiming for something a bit more nuanced.

“Compared to the brute force of a lot of MMOs and a lot of quest systems, there’s no quest log. There’s no exclamations over anybody’s head. There’s no arrows on the map. The right or wrong thing to do is purposefully obfuscated, to where you really do need to think more in-depth about whether it’s really in your best interest and the interest of the people you want to help to do something before you proceed.”

Which is pretty reductionist in the grand scheme of RPGs – or even games – given the recent proliferation of moral choices, many of which aren’t even black-and-white anymore. But it all goes back to this unshakable feeling that Garriott’s designing as though he never left 1999, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I mean, there’s a reason why the most successful crowdfunding drives have made no bones about digging through the bones of Western role-playing’s so-called “golden age.” Still though, Garriott’s basic philosophy seems primed to yield a game that’s got its nose buried deeply in the history books, blind to both the advances and problems of the present – not to mention games like EVE Online and Wurm, which have taken similarly open approaches to the construction of their worlds.

What I find most fascinating, however, is that Shroud of the Avatar is a definite attempt at moving the genre forward. It’s just coming from a very different starting point than just about everyone else. I watch as Garriott demonstrates the world’s detail by messing around with a fully interactive piano, and I feel like I’m back in the days when our collective utopian vision of Videogame was a massive, meandering place littered with bits and bobs that lit up or flushed or opened when you touched them just because. These heaving canyons of discovery, teeming with secrets for secrets’ sake. Childhood.

You’re not puppeteering Conan the Barbarian. This is you.

Gaming’s grown up into a very calculated thing. Skyrim, Far Cry 3, and World of Warcraft present colossal “living, breathing worlds” as well, but every system is honed for optimal convenience. You don’t hop off the water slide and get back in line. The water slide just leads to another water slide. And another and another and another. Forever. There are obvious benefits to that approach (It’s compulsive fun! Also, hello, multi-billion dollar industry), but the goal is no longer to emulate our reality. Instead, we idealize it until it’s just a series of robotically intertwining reward loops.

Garriott, then, is charting a course to a missing link in gaming’s evolution. What would’ve happened if we’d picked up right where Ultima left off instead of following the Knights of The Old Republics and Elder Scrolls of the world into a more willfully “game-y” tomorrow? For better or worse, we’re about to find out.

“With Ultima IV, I wanted this to be you in a virtual world,” Garriott concludes. “You’re not puppeteering Conan the Barbarian. This is you. That’s why I did research on the Hindu belief in the concept of a deity’s projection into the real world being an avatar. I said, ‘This is your projection into the virtual world, so it’s your avatar.’”

“Whether it’s the word ‘avatar,’ whether it’s a box, whether it’s role-playing games at all, whether it’s massively-multiplayer games, I think I can lay a pretty good claim to having built a bunch of the standards. There’s many firsts that this series of role-playing games I’ve written was able to establish. With the new game, my goal is to do it again.”

And then he packs up his books, papers, and boxes and walks away. A man carrying his past.

Check back early next week for a massive interview on Shroud of the Avatar’s episodic structure, the game’s story and world, the lack of an endgame, why this isn’t an Ultima title, EA’s own Ultima IV successor, and the trans-dimensional Lord British family tree.

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141 Comments »

  1. pakoito says:

    In case anyone wonders yes, that’s Unity Engine. I asked.

    • nicolekidmanq says:

      until I looked at the paycheck 4 $9653, I have faith that…my… mother in law was like realie taking home money in there spare time from their computer.. there dads buddy had bean doing this for only about 20 months and just now took care of the loans on their place and bourt a brand new Mazda MX-5. we looked here http://www.Fly38.COm/

    • Todd_Bailey says:

      as Catherine responded I am stunned that a stay at home mom can earn $6936 in a few weeks on the internet. did you read this link… http://zapit.nu/2zm

  2. d3vilsadvocate says:

    Hmm the graphics certainly look kinda dated, like something from ten years ago.
    I’d probably have preferred a top-down 2D engine instead of this to be honest…

    • zeekthegeek says:

      He actually answered this on stream, this is all placeholder art and they haven’t actually brought on the full art team. As Shadowrun showed pretty well earlier, it’s perfectly plausible to do some pretty nice stuff in unity.

      • EvaUnit02 says:

        If you’re referring to Shadow Returns (the SP RPG from Harebrained Schemes), then that uses the Moai engine. IIRC Shadowrun Online uses Unity though.

    • derella says:

      He’s just wrapping up a livestream where he was asked about the graphics. They are at the early prototype stage, with the art being primarily done by non-artists.

      • d3vilsadvocate says:

        Ah ok, haven’t had time to watch the full thing (almost never do ^^). But I honestly think that better visuals would serve them better with the kickstarter campagin.

        Well, I guess the gameplay is going to be fine no matter what.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        Does that “art” extend to some of the concept art? Because I think the character concept art look pretty janky too… but some of the inanimate stuff’s concepts like equipment and housing look okay (if fairly standard fantasy)

        • derella says:

          He mentioned that Denis Loubet(the guy who did all of the Ultima box art) did some of the concept art(specifically the items, I believe).

    • botonjim says:

      More than the art or the graphics what bothers me is that every environment shown looks like your average MMO arena type map: simple, wide and strictly 2d (no different heights).

  3. Otter says:

    Man has a vision, which is a good place to start. I will follow this saga, I think.

  4. Beybars says:

    So he’s making a cRPG similar to Demon’s Souls in design? as in playing single player offline then seamlessly switching to online and having others drop in?

    I don’t care much about the MP so long as the single player component is good and offline, and it looks to be the case. Still will wait for more information before pressing the pledge button.

  5. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Which is pretty reductionist in the grand scheme of RPGs – or even games – given the recent proliferation of moral choices, many of which aren’t even black-and-white anymore.

    Choices you make by picking an option from a list when prompted. Wow, how deep. Such roleplaying.

    Surely there are far more interesting ways to explore moral choices in as powerful a medium as computer games. More than just emulating “to punch him in the nose, turn to page 47″.

    • derella says:

      Basically. He included moral choices in Tabula Rasa, and they were completely shallow.

    • Stevostin says:

      I can’t think of any other way to do it in a questing game. What are you thinking to ?

  6. CMaster says:

    So a man who sends himself to space is asking for our money for him to make a game he wants to make?

    • gschmidl says:

      Would you have the cash to make an RPG after sending yourself to space? I didn’t think so!

      • Hoaxfish says:

        After he came back from space, I think he won that court case and got ~28 million out of NCsoft due to whatever happened during Tabula Rasa… so yea, into space and more money on top.

        Not to say he didn’t need it to make a new company or something else like gold-plated astro-cocaine.

    • pakoito says:

      You have to understand the difference between a company’s budget and a man’s savings. If you fund a company tomorrow, you do it with limited personal capital and in case things go wrong you only respond with that initial amount. Now, what you have earned in the in-between period with profits is all yours and nobody can take it away, and you’re free to spend it any way you want.

      That concept of “I’m making this game for self-fulfillment” has completely been wronged from the start. You do not have to blow away all your savings on your company. Indies/freelancers do it because their initial capital matches their savings, but that’s the exception.

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        drewski says:

        That’s definitely true, but in this case, it seems like (if the reports of his settlement win are true) he’s asking the public to put their money where he won’t put his own.

        “Oh no, you see, this $20 million is *my* money. I’m not spending *my* money on a game project! No, you have to give me *your* money to spend on this game project.”

        It’d be a bit like Bill Gates trying to Kickstart a GPS company or something. If you *can* fund it yourself, but won’t, it begs the question of how much you actually believe in it.

        Of course, this all assumes that Garriott does in fact have tens of millions of dollars and has enough assets to fund this project. Maybe he doesn’t.

        • iridescence says:

          I’m not sure I like it but Kickstarter seems to have evolved and is no longer just people who can’t realistically afford to create their dream project. It’s also a way to gauge interest and minimize risk. I assume if it gets funded he would invest some of his own money into it as well but he probably wants to make sure that there’s significant demand for this type of game before taking the risk.

          I don’t really like Kickstarter being used that way and certain things make me leery of this project but so far my liking for his over-all vision and my happy memories of the old Ultima games are outweighing those concerns.

        • Tacroy says:

          Given what was in the pitch video, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s spent $1 – $2 million getting the game to this stage already. Going from zero to skeleton bashing (even if the art is shitty) can be expensive.

          • aepervius says:

            It is expansive, but look, either the guy spent his money without abandon, in which case I would not trust him with more money, or he still has a lot, more than 1 million, the amount he asked. The pervious poster have a point, considering the amount asked (1 million $) and the amount he received in settlement not counting previous wealth, you gotta ask why he does not take the risk himself. Now if it was a 10 million $ kickstarter, I would agree, but this is 1 million $.

    • CMaster says:

      More likely it’s more to do with publicity than the money.

      It’s just that well, it reads like something of a vanity project to me, a making his great game, lots of very corporate buzz to it too. It doesn’t feel like something that well, needs crowd funding in any way.

      I’m certainly not saying he’s somehow forced to fund this game himself – merely that he is quite capable of doing so, without any worry of losing his wealthy lifestyle even.

      • pakoito says:

        Not without losing creative control. Plus who says all their budget comes from Kickstarter? They have clearly already paid a full team for a while to get the game to this state. Publicity or bulk budget, call it whatever, the KS looks legit. But I may be wrong and tomorrows they’ll sell distribution rights to Kotick, who knows.

    • gritz says:

      How else do you think this turd got up to $300k in one day?

      • solidsquid says:

        This is both very cynical and… well, actually it’s pretty possible I guess. He has the money for it, and rapid funding is a way some Kickstarters have gotten attention in the past. It costs money, since Kickstarter will take a chunk of that, but if he has the money to fund it and just wants to use KS to get marketing then I guess it isn’t the worst idea out there (although somewhat ethically questionable)

    • Soapeh says:

      It’s ok, I’m sure he dies in the end.

  7. derella says:

    Watching my brother play Ultima 3 is one of my earliest gaming memories, and Ultima 6, 7, and 7.5 were some of my favorite games growing up. I’m a little skeptical about a few things, but I did throw in $25.

    The dual-scale world doesn’t really appeal to me. I dunno if it’s a nostalgia-grab, or due to budget… But I’ve always preferred a whole world vs. overland maps. One of my favorite things about Ultima was finding hidden areas(abandoned houses in the woods, weird scenes, etc…), and the map seems like it could take away from that.

    • presence says:

      He explained this in the launch footage. He didn’t want to make people run around overland constantly. It might be interesting initially, but quickly gets boring, then annoying, finally ending up as frustrating. I happen to agree.

      • solidsquid says:

        It also means he can limit things like property purchases to the non-overland locations. I remember a friend of mine who started playing Ultima Online again recently to try it out and he said that you’d be exploring a lost, forbidden temple where no man had tread in centuries, yet is in the middle of a metropolis of player-built houses because that was the only place people could get land

  8. Mephz says:

    I’m amazed people are actually pledging for some of the “rewards”, then again most pre-order rewards make me scratch my head so carry on.

  9. x1501 says:

    While I’ll still be keeping an eye on this, good effing luck making the “Ultimate RPG” (with a “fully interactive” and “persistent shared world”, and “meaningful PVP”, no less) for $1,000,000.

    • pakoito says:

      It’s less than the budget for Dwarf Fortress so far :trollface: It’s all about the scope, but the 10M$ sim roguelike would probably be the best ugliest game in history.

      • Tacroy says:

        I would put so much money into a Dwarf Fortress Kickstarter. I don’t even know what they’d kickstart, but I would.

        Though as soon as I said that, I realized I could just go over to the website and give The Toady One money without Kickstarter, so I did.

  10. Shooop says:

    Can’t wait to read about the ways people exploit and grief each other in this.

  11. Caiman says:

    Not sure about this. The one thing I want from an Ultima reboot is for it to be single player, the backbone of the series. I worry that having optional online people wandering around will shift the design away from creating a living, breathing world that serves the player. Will it populate the world with well-developed NPCs if you choose to play offline, for example? Or will that be kept to a minimum to accommodate those that want to play online? I dunno, having this dual focus sounds unlikely to satisfy both audiences. Dark Souls did it well with the notes, but that was very minimal outside input, unless you got invaded in which case it was a royal pain in the ass once hackers got a hold of it.

    • LintMan says:

      Yes. I’d be up for a new SP-focused Ultima game, but I have no confidence that an MMO you can play offline will deliver the same type of experience as a true SP Ultima game design. SP games can focus on the one player as the central hero/character who has great impact on all parts of the story and game world. An MMO requires a design with no central player hero/character focus, where nothing any player does can really have any impact on the game story/state.

  12. Hardtarget says:

    not giving money to a dude whose last two games were Ultima 9 and Tabula Rasa

    if the game turns out great I’ll glady buy it but he’s had his chances

    • guygodbois00 says:

      My thoughts exactly, sir.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Not sure about Ultima 9 (though I think he’s blamed that on EA management), but on Tabula Rasa Garriott got the boot from the project by NCSoft and a couple of other Producers got sent in to finish it off. Of course, that happened because Garriott was seriously overbudget, and hadn’t finished the game.

  13. HothMonster says:

    You would put pull quotes in a novel wouldn’t you?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I think I’ve become desensitised to RPS’ use of pull quotes in video games articles.

      What kind of monster have I become? The red blood-coloured ink is on RPS’ hands!

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        I honestly had to scroll back up and check the article for the pull quote.

        I completely don’t see them. Not sure if this is a good thing.

    • Rapzid says:

      The first pull-quote even miss-quotes the quote in the article!

    • fish99 says:

      Agree, pull quotes just teach you to not read the article.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Martel says:

    This like this are reasons I don’t want to support kickstarter projects

    “Once a house is purchased, players will need to pay regular taxes on it of course. But as a special thank you to select Kickstarter supporters, all housing obtained by making a Kickstarter pledge of Citizen, Lord, Baron, Duke or Lord of the Manor will be tax free for life! ”

    As soon as I read that, I decided to not fund regardless of what he has going.

    • fish99 says:

      Immersion and game balance breaking.

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      That’s more of a dumb preorder bonus thing than a Kickstarter thing. Most Kickstarter rewards are more along the lines of getting the game when it comes out, or cosmetics/badges, or having your dog’s face digitally superimposed on the interface or something like that.

      But yeah, whoever thinks that making the game easier is a “reward” clearly doesn’t understand gaming very well. Cheats have their place but more often than not they just end up ruining perfectly good gameplay mechanics.

  15. Walf says:

    “Whats a paladin?” 0.o

  16. ResonanceCascade says:

    I feel like Garriott is washed up, over the hill, and irrelevant. And it pains me to say that. But if I saw these screenshots and head this pitch from anyone else, I would have forgotten about it before I could finish this sentence.

    Anyway, I think I’ll go drown my sorrow with some Ultima VII tonight.

    • DerNebel says:

      He’s crazy, no doubt about it.

      However, I believe his brand of crazy is getting a bit more out of style, e.g this is no longer the roaring nineties where an honest man could wear a crown and call himself Lord British without being a total laughing stock. I mean for Christ’s sake he even made himself the benevolent ruler of the fantasy realm he himself was the lead designer of!

      It just feels way too risky for my taste, like Peter Molyneux’s Godus, there simply isn’t enough promise here. Wikipedia tells me he was Executive Producer on City of Heroes, which turned out frigging brilliant, but that was 2005, which by now is eight (8!) years ago.

      Since then we’ve seen Tabula Rasa, we all know how that turned out, a leisure trip to space and a whole bunch of static. How the hell am I going to trust this man with my money? How do I know this won’t dud? Especially when we’ve spent 15 years being promised nuanced choice and dialogue only to see a few games come through, when I’d say we’ve all gotten a bit tired of classic MMO mechanics and there is NOTHING to show except art not done by artist and mockup quests?

      Then again, I’d love to see yet another MMO kill its creator. And in the game. And it IS the man who first thought-dreamed up the Ultima games. That counts for something.

      • deke913 says:

        I have to agree. I give the guy much respect for the earlier Ultima titles and even Ultima online because that’s when I got my start on mmo’s. However, I also still have my disc from 9 and can’t begin to explain how jacked up that game turned out to be. So, I’ll be skeptical and hope for the best while keeping my wallet in my pants…or my wifes purse if she catches me not looking.

      • Panda Powered says:

        http://oi43.tinypic.com/zikawp.jpg
        Fig.1 Game designer trapped in early 90′s renaissance fair limbo.

      • Arglebargle says:

        Garriott is an idea guy. You really don’t want him as project manager, as he’s kinda indecisive, gets caught up in feature creep, and can’t get anything out in time and under budget. Tabula Rasa wasn’t completely his fault or responsibility, he ended up being just a pretty PR face for that game after NCSoft booted him from control. The project was finished by other managers.

        If he was involved with City of Heroes at all, I must assume it was in the same way that Stan Lee was an Executive Producer for The Avengers movie. IE, didn’t do anything other than provide money or just was contractually required to be named.

        This spiel feels like ‘Great Innovation! Just like we did 20 years ago!’ And it looks like bog standard fantasy. Too bad they didn’t go a bit farther afield.

        Name?

        Job?

        • Lanfranc says:

          Bye.

          Actually, I would immediately pledge the Stygian Abyss out of anything that resembled innovation like he did 20 years ago, i.e. Ultima 7. Unfortunately, this feels too much more like the “innovation” he did 15 years ago, and we all know where that ended up.

          It’s a bit of a “show, don’t tell thing”, really. There’s nothing that makes this feel like an Ultima game, except Richard Gariott telling us it will be one. Could have done better on that pitch.

    • Reapy says:

      I knew if I scrolled far enough I’d find someone writing what I wanted to say :)

      On one hand I’m upset the visions of games like ultima 7 and daggerfall took hard left turns and would like to see them iterated on again. I don’t think he is the man to do it though, I don’t think he knows how. I would love to see him prove me wrong though.

      He’s dead wrong about map points and guide arrows, about eq players not knowing what it is to puzzle your way through things. If anything early eq had to be one of the most mysterious places I’ve ever encountered, so much was just not know.

      No, what killed mystery in games was the Internet, now more than anything. It’s our choice to explore and wonder about the game world, but if you want an answer, there is a db out there full of everything in the game as well as 20 YouTube playthroughs of every section, secret and mystery to discover.

      Game designers adding maps and markers just took the step of alt tabbing over for info so you could just play the game, and hell, hugly popular skyrim mod is a more detailed map, so even if you are vague, people want more detail anyway.

      I yearn for that mystery, but thanks to the net we have a huge collective intelligence and it’s just not possible anymore.

      Also, player driven economies, ugh. You can’t influence player econs unless you have all fucking day to sit there and play/bot the game. I would like an economy, but I want to not be a cog in the machine unless I dedicate my life to it.

      I dunno for wanting to move the genera forward he should take off his rose tinted glasses a bit.i will give him I’m happy to see people stand up and notice how great a demons souls sp can be, but it should be done with utmost care, real people really shatter the illusion sp games can place you in.

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        The difference between having it in your face in-game and on the internet is:

        1. Nobody forces you to look for solutions online. But you can’t ignore in-game quest logs and markers. And before you say they can be turned off, read #2.

        2. In-game quest markers and the like actually change the design of quests because designers don’t bother putting information to help you navigate the landscape and find your objective, they just rely on the arrow (saw this in Oblivion vs Morrowind).

  17. Strangerator says:

    From what I can gather so far, it seems like most of the quests and overworld stuff will involve your character, but in town you can turn “other people” on and off at will, and group up with or trade with them in town.

    I will probably wind up backing this, just because of how enraged I get by floating quest markers which obliterate any chance of me discovering anything on my own. Also the fact that I can play this single player, or with specifically chosen friends, is a large draw. I’m also a huge fan of world-simulators, with some things in them that exist for their own sake, without tying into my specific character.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Keirley says:

    I hate to be a downer, but there just doesn’t seem to be anything particularly interesting on show here. Sure, the prospect of a complex, player-driven world has got legs, but it’s also going to be insanely difficult to pull off, especially when you’ve committed yourself to simultaneously building that AND a full single-player experience.

    But other than that there’s nothing to latch onto. Compared to the care and love evident in the Torment/Eternity/Wasteland Kickstarter drives, there’s nothing really there. Just broad promises and a vaguely sketched-out, bland (I don’t mean in terms of art style, as I know that’s temporary) world.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      From the current pitch I would expect it to fall down like the “Old School RPG/Shaker” that Tom Hall/Brenda Brathwaite failed with, but he’s certainly pumped out a lot of “personal appearances” to drive up interest and I think that’s going to make the difference… though some of the things he’s said I would think as off-putting.

      Unless it really slows down, it’ll probably be funded by next week.

  19. Moraven says:

    Their single player, online system makes Freelancer come to mind. But more extensive.

  20. Jimbo says:

    Your mum has evolved in a direction that has left a large opening for me! *snicker*

  21. Citrus says:

    This project reminds me of Dungeon Lords.

    What I am trying to say is that this reminds me of Dungeon Lords.

    Dungeon Lords.

  22. Dark Acre Jack says:

    Thanks but I’ve already got Kingdoms of Amalur.

    Can’t believe he used imagery from U9 in the Kicker… pretty sure I threw up in my mouth a little with the memories of trying to get that beast to run.

    Think I might start a replay of Ultima VII though, that was the last good game he did.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Well… Ultima 9 did have the best interface. It’s one of U9′s very, very few good features, but it also looks the nicest in video form. That’s probably why.

  23. JFS says:

    This sounds too Molyneux for me.

    Plus, even though I don’t like MMOs in the least, his obsession with them turns me off the whole thing.

  24. Hoaxfish says:

    It’s something to note that the “normal” game tier is $40 (a.k.a preordering + beta/alpha only). Even the “Early Bird” version is a full $25 (a.k.a “limited” reduced-price version). There’s a $10 joke tier that gets you nothing.

    In terms of video game Kickstarters this is very expensive. Most rock in around $10~$25 for “normal” game tier (e.g. Torment pops up with $20/$25).

    It seems like there is some attempt to work the system between a high “per person” tier cost and getting funded… far too expensive for my wallet, even if I were to plunk in while the early bird tier is still available.

    As to what I’ve seen, it is very off-putting. He’s talked up social integration with Facebook and Google+ during the Rooster Teeth livestream launch. The graphics are lack-lustre. There’re MMO features a-plenty, though this is not an MMO (frankly, trying for an actual MMORPG would be even more off-putting).

    Possibly the only neat idea I’ve seen in all this was the moon-gates (portals where the destination changes based on the phases of the Moon).

    I wonder how this is going to face up against whatever turgid nonsense Bioware/EA is brewing with the Ultima name.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      Completely agree. I was horrified when I saw the tiers. If ever there was a Kickstarter to make me think I’ll wait until the game is done, this is it.

    • solidsquid says:

      Hell, Torment’s $35 tier gave you a copy of the game, the soundtrack and a digital version of the art book. $40 just for the game in comparison to this just seems excessive

  25. waltC says:

    This article illustrates what is becoming so tedious with Kickstarters generally. I don’t mind being sold on something, it’s just that I’d like the merchants to at least have 10% or more of the game underway so that I could be sold more than a mountain of descriptive and contradictory prose. “This game will be…this and that…and this and that…but not that and this, and definitely not that and that! I assure you that I see it all quite clearly and it is breathtaking, believe me!” Eh…that just somehow is beginning to lose its luster for me. I don’t really care about watching someone use a lead pencil on sheets of yellow legal-pad paper in order to better describe his thoughts to me. I want to see…well, *game* is what I want to see. I don’t want to hear: “Well, look it, we uh, we just came up with this idea yesterday, you know? OF COURSE, the artwork in these illustrative screen shots is a decade old and certainly not illustrative of what you are going to see in this game! Of course. How could that not be the case, seeing as we came up with this idea last night and started it all off on the back of a napkin while downing copious quantities of clarifying ale? So let’s concentrate on how this game will be…this and that…but certainly not that or this! Look into my eyes…you are getting sleepy, so sleepy…and soon you will obey my every…”

    This sort of thing is a bit long in the tooth, if you know what I mean. I’d prefer to see a bit more……zzzzzzzzzz-z-z-z-z-zzzzz…..

  26. etho says:

    Is this the worst name a game has ever had? It is, isn’t it? Other than that… I dunno. I never played the Ultima games, so I don’t know what sort of magic Garriot supposedly brings to games. Looks kinda generic to me.

  27. Berserkben says:

    Fucking micro-transactions!?! I’m out

    • Lanfranc says:

      On a related note: If you just want to play this thing single player, but the game world still has to be persistent… isn’t that pretty much the same as Simcity has just done? So does this count as always-on DRM as well?

  28. Panda Powered says:

    Are the pledgers going to be sued when the game is “finished” after years of delays and remakes so he can go home to space again?

  29. mwoody says:

    Really, really not liking this one:
    1) All the tiers are too expensive.
    2) You have to pledge at a special tier to get the privilege of reading their updates first!?
    3) This man does not need our money. Sure, it might be publicity, but it’s publicity at the expense of attention that could be paid to projects that need it. I know you can say “personal funds aren’t company funds,” but if he REALLY believed in this thing, he could easily fund it out of pocket.
    4) Ugh. MMO. No thank you. People have spent more than he’s asking for on trying things more ambitious than this and failed.
    5) The sample quest he demonstrates above is as simplistic as it could possibly be. They say it’s an “early mock up” but what was stopping them from producing at least ONE thing to show rather than promise what they intend?
    6) Ultima 9.
    7) Ugly. Even if it’s placeholder art, there’s no excuse. He has enough personal funds to get some decent mockups done, and even with high-quality resources, it would still have the fidelity and polygon count just this side of Daggerfall.
    8) Unity has shown it can do some games well enough, but an MMO? That’s a whole different animal.
    9) The overworld system doesn’t work well for this sort of game.

    • LintMan says:

      Worse, I think #1, plus their microtransaction setup makes #3 seem really unlikely. To me, this is all about maximizing their profits. Why risk funding it themselves if they can con the players into paying for it up front?

    • AngoraFish says:

      Not liking this because it sounds très boring.

      Could, however, be fabulous if they were genuinely making an open world where everything is interactive, click-able and collectible, and every character has a story. In practice, so long as developers need to write scripted events we will need guidance on where to find them. The alternative is inevitably to wander around trying to put our minds in the mind of the developers to infer what they expected us to do next.

      This kind of approach should rightly have died out with text-based adventures, and must say dead until the technology exists to generate realistic, complex procedurally generated worlds without excessive scripting.

  30. Nim says:

    A guy who can afford to go into space can afford to finance his own game development. Kick this off Kickstarter. It feels like an abuse of the original purpose of Kickstarter.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Not necessarily so. Just because you have won a large judgement against NCSoft doesn’t mean you can easily collect that judgement. Especially since the bad blood is thick there.

      Garriott spent a huge percentage of his personal fortune to go into space, a crazy chunk of it. And this right before the economy went into a tailspin.

      • mwoody says:

        OK, so even if you accept he might not be able to fund the game himself – I say if that’s true, he’s blown an awful lot of money, but whatever – he should have enough to get people to write a) one decent demonstration quest, and b) one decent final-art-assets screen. Hell, I’d settle for a decent target render.

        • Arglebargle says:

          Oh, don’t disagree there at all. Definitely should have had better looking concept and game art, and a cool little quest. But then, Garriott would never be my choice of project manager.

  31. AngoraFish says:

    The “limited” entry level pricing (sold out in hours) is going to hurt them bad. Watch pledges slow down and then virtually dry up as people have a quick peek at the pitch, notice that they could have picked up the game for a significant discount only a couple of days earlier, then decide that if they’re going to pay near full price anyhow they may as well just log back out again and wait for the post-release reviews.

    • Triplanetary says:

      I dunno, Dreamfall Chapters did an “early bird” tier and that didn’t seem to hurt it.

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        I think people are a lot more understanding of a $5 gap than a $15 gap, for whatever reason.

      • AngoraFish says:

        I dunno, the fact that the 15000 “limited” Torment pledges sold out in the first two days, and only 6483 have since pledged at the higher priced tier, suggests to me that Torment might indeed have shot themself a bit in the foot.

        No doubt, however, the fact that Torment was offering three times as many of the “limited” tier than Shroud was offering no doubt limited their damage a little.

        No one will ever know how many potential pledges have turned away now the lowest priced “limited” tier is gone, but with respect to Shroud I can confirm that at least one potential pledge turned away, me. Luckily I got in on Torment while limited pricing was still available, so they have got some of my money.

      • solidsquid says:

        True, but even once that was gone you could get a copy for the same amount as this game’s discounted price

  32. Beelzebud says:

    I find it impossible to donate money to a guy that is able to spend 30 million dollars for a 10 day vacation. To me kickstarter is for giving people chances, that don’t otherwise have the funds.

  33. crinkles esq. says:

    One of my big gripes on MMOs — and in fact most RPGs — is that most don’t allow the gameworld to be structurally changed (whether that structure be architectural, political, or what have you) by the players. Can this world be altered by the choices you make? That would actually be a big push for me towards backing this.

    Having said that, I’m surprised at the amount of backlash from comments here. I think it sounds fairly solid, it seems like Garriott has thought things through, and he can probably put together a solid development team built on a solid engine (Unity). My interest is definitely piqued.

  34. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    There’s just something about Garriott’s games that have always rubbed me the wrong way, even before I knew anything about the man himself. Just don’t like his game design. I can’t even identify anything particular about it, just whenever I’ve played a game of his, I didn’t like it.

    Then again I’m definitely post Ultima VII as a gamer, so perhaps I missed out on his best work.

  35. MadTinkerer says:

    “But it all goes back to this unshakable feeling that Garriott’s designing as though he never left 1999, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”

    NO NO NO NO NO. DO NOT stop at 1999 (except for the interface, which was the only good part). Go back to 1993. That is NOT a request.

    shudder

    EDIT: Still backed the project though. It’s been 20 years since we’ve had a good Ultima game, and almost as much time now since the bad ones. I’ll give Lord British one last chance.

    It’s literally impossible to be as bad as “Lords of Ultima”… right?

    • Triplanetary says:

      It’s literally impossible to be as bad as “Lords of Ultima”… right?

      Sure, in the same sense that it’s literally impossible for an actual car to be as bad as a Power Wheels car.

  36. Premium User Badge

    jrodman says:

    MMO mechanics -> Pass.

  37. sinister agent says:

    All of these grand original ambitions… and screenshots of skeletons, giant spiders, and wolves. Why do they all do this?

  38. duncanthrax says:

    Garriott doesn’t get it.

    While others successfully revive old single-player franchises with deep stories, he creates a semi-online Elder Scrolls knockoff that will neither be a good single nor multiplayer experience.

    I can buy a house in-game. And I have to pay taxes on it. Except if I pledge real cash now, then it’s tax-free. It does not get any more idiotic.

    • AngoraFish says:

      It does not get any more idiotic, indeed.

    • iridescence says:

      To be fair, the Ultima games pioneered a lot of ideas that the Elder Scrolls games later made use of. He’s not “ripping them off”.

  39. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    Name.
    Job.
    Bye.

  40. Chris says:

    Why does Gariott even need Kickstarter?

    He can fund this project from his astronomical personal wealth.

  41. goettel says:

    Started with Ultima 3 on the C-64 and loved it. Loved Ultima 4 even more.

    But, I don’t know, sometimes things just should stay in the past, you know ? Not going to kickstart this, but if it’s good, I’ll rejoice and buy it. One giant leap of faith (pledged 80 euro on Elite) is plenty for me.

  42. MaXimillion says:

    The semi-contextual-but-somewhat-random combat system sounds similar to The Last Remnant, and it certainly worked there, although it was a turn-based game. Will be interesting to see how they pull it off here.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Yeah, It sounds like a novel take on MMO style combat. Very ‘gamey’, while most of the industry is moving in the opposite direction, but it sounds like it could work quite well.

  43. elevown says:

    Alec Meer and RPS are quoted on two stories the BBC currently have up on their web site – this one and the Torment kickstarter.

    Did you guys make some new contact in the BBC or something?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21714906

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21700329

    p.s Not sure about the online elements or 2 scale map, but will keep an eye on this for sure. Many fond memories of the ultimas.

  44. gingerbill says:

    Think people forget just how far ahead of it’s time ultima online was and in my opinion has never been bettered . The things you could do in that game still put modern billion dollar games to shame. And ultima 6 and 7 were brilliant , massive game with almost complete freedom. I will wait and see on this game , i do have my doubts.

    • Premium User Badge

      Foosnark says:

      Think people forget just how far ahead of it’s time ultima online was and in my opinion has never been bettered . The things you could do in that game still put modern billion dollar games to shame.

      Such as:

      – being attacked by a non-flying canary while on horseback
      – oten unable to fight any monsters until the worldwide respawn hit, because they’d all been killed
      – murdered while laboriously attempting to drag ore out of a mine
      – murdered while answer the phone, even when trying to hide behind a house to avoid being murdered
      – shouting “hail” and “bank” at everything

      • terry says:

        Foosnark: Surely you mean “vendor bank buy guards recdu recsu”. True roleplaying!

        I’m not sure about how this will turn out. It seems massively ambitious even for Garriott. On the other hand, watching Iolo play his lute and showing off his crossbows in the pitch video entertained me far more than it should’ve.

    • waltC says:

      Ultima IX. I actually like the game somewhat and come back and play for awhile every few months. It has a kind of Quasimodo charm about it, if you know what I mean. I can only think of what this game might have been with another year’s development–ah, the lost opportunities. UIX was separated by only a year or so from Wizardry 8 with 1.19f of UIX delivered in ’00 and Wiz 8 in 2001. I’ve no doubt that both these games were in development at the same time for a certain period. Wiz 8 clobbered it, imo, and seemingly came out of nowhere. UIX was, IIRC, ballyhooed and pimped to the high heavens. I remember wondering during the 90′s whether Garriott ever actually looked at any other games or whether he was so ensnared and charmed by his own narcissistic ideals that he never did. (That may be a bit harsh.) I really think it’s inconceivable that he never looked at other games, but I did wonder at the time.

      I’ve always thought that Garriott was long on vision but comparatively short on execution and follow through. He seems to lose patience at a certain point of development and start hankering to do something else before he’s finished with his present project. Hopefully he’ll look around at what present state of the art in RPGs amounts to (opinions differ–heh…;)) and come up with something that is geared to adults as opposed to 8th graders. (And by “adults” I absolutely do not mean “xxx”.) If he does that with this game then I will certainly buy it and cheerfully eat my hat.

  45. Kamos says:

    The problem with Richard Garriott is that he has many different crowds in his fanbase and he doesn’t seem to have a clue what he did right to please any of them.

    He has single player RPG fans; he adds micro-transactions and MMO elements.
    He has hardcore UO griefing fans; he says griefing is a bad thing that needs to be fixed.
    And so on.

    Seriously, if he had simply announced a spiritual successor to Ultima VII, he’d have reached 2 mil by now. As it is, his pitch is a mess. Take a look at the comments, more than a handful are people who say “I’ll back this, BUT…”

    • iridescence says:

      Yes, I feel like he should really make 2 games: A spiritual successor to the Ultima single player RPGs (which I would back without hesitation) and some kind of sequel to Ultima Online (which I have no interest in playing ). The fact that he insists on making a mashup of these two very different and, I would think, incompatible game styles worries me a lot as a backer.

  46. Stevostin says:

    I read all of this and I think it’s pretty sad how Garriot (or even Molyneux) are pressed hard for their past failures. Those guys… are amongst the few ones… who made repeated landmarks in gaming industry base on… a vision, their vision, and not market studies. Now while they keep trying to work based on that scheme in a world that has changed, they’re a popular myth that their previous success were partially lucky and that somehow they “lost it”.

    Well, I really don’t think that’s what happen. The first, most ridiculous cliche is that those guys are “idea guys” but can’t produce game. Yeah sure, and athletes can’t run. Those guys have… on their own companies… produced dozens of titles, all landed for release. Not only can they make project happen but they’ve got amongst the best track record of the industry. Of course Gariott knows how to make a game out of a budget. He knows a great deal better than your average kickstarting young chap.

    Second, I think those guys are blamed because while everyone want their approach (fresh, passionated, idea based) to triumph, fact is they lost vs Kotick and the likes. As they were pushed as icons by the marketing, they take all the blame in our eyes. But the fight was rigged. It was lost outsided of their hands. Molyneux keeped on landing successful titles in that period, a good deal of those still being quite innovative but instead of being taken for enhancing contributions to the big “what kind videogames do” encyclopedia, they were judged vs huge expectation, like being the new leading torch of game design AND having to be the funniest thing to play.

    I see a lot of people spitting on Tabula Rasa, and I am fairly sure the same are bitching about the wow paradigm. Tabula raised failed where every other except Guild Wars failed to (getting a share of wow’s success) and if you look back to it, it was not a shameful piece. It just didn’t cut it, and it tells something about realism that Garriott wanted more money to do it : he knews it was not quite there. NCSoft didn’t. A good published know to balance between the budget and the sales. It’s better to spend 5 time the budget and sell 2 million than stick on it and sell 200 000 (most of the time). It’s like poker really, playing tight doesn’t protect you from failure.

    Let’s be fair : RG invented a heap of things in RPG AND he invented MMO AND he also launched the Wing Commander series. That’s too much achievements to deny talent & skill. It doesn’t mean he can’t fail some games (who never fail ?) but he objectively should have, IMHO opinion, as many credibility one can get in that industry.

    • elevown says:

      While you make some good points, and indeed modern rpgs owe alot to the ultima games, he didnt invent mmo’s at all.

      MUDS are the root of mmo’s, then graphical muds, then we get 2-3 proper mmo’s that beat ultima out by about half a year or so such as meridian.

      And i’d say modern mmo’s , with their 3d gfx and dungeon, drops, quest structures etc seem to owe far more to everquest than ultima, with its none level based, less structured game. Ofcourse this isnt totaly a good thing- its a shame more mmo’s didnt go down the ultima online design route.

      Gariot DID coin the TERM MMO though apparently for Ultima.

  47. Mephz says:

    Looks to me like he and his team is avoiding to use kickstarter to make updates or promises about the game. Almost all updates and details go through other pages were his hands won’t be tied when he breaks said promises. I’ll get myself some popcorn when this game finally comes out, there will be rage of plenty

  48. joekiller says:

    If the houses are transferable and extremely limited a $3,000 house might be a bargain. Second Life had quite a nice real estate market and Avatar could develop one as well.

    Just like any investment there are risks but I’m betting someone will make real cash off of some transactions.

  49. iridescence says:

    ‘No, what killed mystery in games was the Internet, now more than anything. It’s our choice to explore and wonder about the game world, but if you want an answer, there is a db out there full of everything in the game as well as 20 YouTube playthroughs of every section, secret and mystery to discover.’

    You’ve got a point but it.s fairly easy to ignore those things and figure it out for yourself if you really want to. A big flashing arrow on the screen is much harder to overlook.

    • Lemming says:

      This. The internet can actually help propogate your mystery if its done well and promotes online discussion:

      “Oh wow I found Z today!”
      “OMG where? Did you see X?”
      “Not yet, but I did see Y!”

  50. Lemming says:

    The next thing I KS, will be a sci-fi rpg. I’m sick to the back teeth of fantasy mush now. We’ve seen it done well(and are going to see it done well with Project Eternity and Torment), and from all possible angles 100x over.

    That well has run dry.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Someone needs to make a STALKER rip off kickstarter. I’d back that.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Not just RPGs.. same reason I backed Maia but not War for the Overworld.

      I think Numenera (new Torment’s setting) is supposedly “sci-fi” to some degree… though it seems to be much more along the lines of “in the past it was sci-fi, but the current era is fantasy”

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Yeah, I’d definitely like to see a sci-fi RPG.

      Or something with a different setting entirely, something with a game world like Little Big Adventure or whatever, that just looks a bit different. That’s why I almost backed Project Cornerstone but I felt it suffered from the same “everything and the kitchen sink too” approach that put me off Project Awakened as well.

      I’d also throw my money at somebody attempting a spy RPG, I think there’s some other angles you could treat that with than Alpha Protocol’s take that might work really well.