We worked on Arthurian Legends for nine months. It was well into production when it was canned. It was pretty much an “orphan” project, in that it never really had a producer. Richard Garriott started it, then Warren Spector inherited it and so no one really “championed” it. As the project went on, people were leeched away from it and put on to other teams until there was only me and Brian left. Then they pulled me off to do the Serpent Isle cluebook and that was the end of Arthurian Legends.
Just briefly, Arthurian Legends was a game to be made using the Ultima VII engine. It was to be set in the world of King Arthur, the REAL King Arthur legends, not the Disney “Sword in the Stone” legends. Brian and I did TONS of research into the actual legends, which are actually quite brutal and bloody. We used Chretien DeTroyes’ “Knight of the Cart” and Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte d’Arthur” and other classic books as resources.
Set in ancient England, shortly after the “Fall from Grace”, you as the main character were trying to put Camelot back together. Along the way you would encounter the various Knights of the Round Table and could help them with their quests. These included such knights as Sir Pelenor and the Questing Beast, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, and Melora (the only female knight to show up in any of the legends) and her lover, Prince Orlando. You would eventually deal with Sir Mordred and Morgana as well as Lancelot, Guinevere and Arthur, himself.
The game was completely designed, maps done and a lot of character art done. Quest construction had begun. Sadly, this game never came to be. I still think it would have been great!
A really poignant story was what happened when they finally officially cancelled Arthurian Legends. Brian Martin and I were officing together. It was at the end of the day when Warren Spector came in and told me that the game was officially cancelled. Brian was out of the office at that moment, so I was the one who had to break it to him. That was hard as it really was his baby. That night we waited until everyone was out of the area and then we went out into the common/lounge area that was right outside our office. Brian laid down on the floor and I went around his body with masking tape, so that when he got up it looked like a chalk outline of a dead body... the kind the police leave when doing a criminal investigation. We then added an outline of a crown and a sword. We draped our office door in black cloth and hung up a sign that said: “The King is dead. Long Live the King.”
We did it as a joke.. but the next morning, someone had brought flowers to put by the body outline. That afternoon more flowers showed up, and a candle. By the end of the day, it was essentially a shrine to the game with flowers, candles, coins, and even a poem someone wrote. It continued to grow for about a week until we were told by management to take it down because a press tour was coming through.