It's all WAR, WAR, WAR around here, but lest we forget, Mythic Entertainment are working on a second MMO. As with Warhammer Online, it's a project that began in someone else's hands - Ultima Online. While I'd heard last year's attempted reboot of the decade-old MMO didn't go as well as expected - though I had a giggle in it - clearly the old man has enough blood in him to warrant a new expansion. It was originally due last Summer, but now carries a 2009 release date.
It's to be called the Stygian Abyss, which is a name to send euphoric shivers down the spines of long-standing RPG players. It was, of course, the subtitle to the first Ultima Underworld, so its redeployment here suggests it's a concerted effort to appeal to older gamers. Or to restore UO's critical standing. Or to save someone from thinking up a new name. I dunno.
The big news is the introduction of Gargoyles as a playable race, only the game's third after all this time. I haven't played most of the Ultima games, to my shame, but RPS comrade, and former journo now turned dirty sellout soulless PR, Dan Griliopoulos, provided me with the following insight:
"I know Gargoyles were the enemies in Ultima VI. But then it turned out they were all actually nice and it was big trick. And they were kind of impoverished second-class citizens in Ultima 7. Blahblahblah."
Mythic themselves are a little more flowery:
"Masters of Imbuing and Mysticism, these clawed and winged creatures find themselves facing certain destruction at the hands of the Abyss, forced to delve into the secrets of the lost city and the rift to their sister world..."
More importantly, they can only bloody fly. Which, given all the endless wandering UO seemed to involve during my own misadventures, sounds rather sensible.
I'm presuming this is a different Mythic team than the guys responsible for WAR, but it'll be interesting to see if their current heightened status wins extra interest in The Stygian Abyss.