Garriott opens Portalarium

Ultima creator and space traveler reemerges as VP, creative director at open-source social-networking platform company.

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In 2008, Ultima creator Richard Garriott's storied career in the game industry took an unexpected turn, when he abruptly left NCsoft. The departure, which is the subject of an ongoing $24 million lawsuit, came about shortly after Garriott returned from his 12-day, $30 million stay aboard the International Space Station and shortly before NCsoft took the designer's failed massively multiplayer online role-playing game Tabula Rasa offline.

Today, Garriott reemerged to announce his return to the gaming sector as vice president and creative director of Portalarium, a start-up aimed at creating open-source social-networking platforms. Garriott is joined in the venture by a trio of NCsoft defectors: Dallas Snell (chairman and development director), Fred Schmidt (CEO and publishing director), and Stephen Nichols (VP and technical director).

Sweet at dollar!

Portalarium's first project, called the Portalarium Player, is a Web browser plug-in that lets developers port games built on a number of different game engines and technologies to social networks, such as Facebook. The first product to make use of this technology is Sweet @$! Poker, which is currently available as a Windows PC app and Facebook game.

More information on Portalarium is available through the company's Web site.

Discussion

16 comments
Qiynah
Qiynah

Made great games LAST CENTURY. Legacy is just not good enough for blind faith... I'm turned off by his comments poo-pooing the role of dialogue and narrative at DICE, and Tabula Rasa speaks for itself; try investing 30mil towards a better game plz.

Wakey652
Wakey652

@XanderKage Lol, I misread it as Polarium, as in the Nds puzzle game! I also wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments, Portal 2 would be amazing!

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

@ kal1018: Thanks for that clarification. I totally couldn't read that myself.

XanderKage
XanderKage

Damn... I saw the headline and thought it might have something to do with Portal... Needless to say, I am disappointed... I want Portal 2 ...:(

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

I like Garriott, personally, but you have to wonder why he's still headlining events like these. Ultima's heyday was a long time ago and everything since (excepting the underrated Bioforge, which deserved better sales) has been a muddled mess. The Lineage games more or less define MMORPG mediocrity and Tabula Rasa is already history. The MMORPG genre clearly fascinates him, but it's become an anchor on his career. I'd like to see him get back to his roots; another arfin' poker simulator is not a promising start.

kal1018
kal1018

Totally excited about this. Btw, the name of the poker name "Sweet @$! Poker", is spoken as "Sweet Ass Poker". Great name!

Targzissian
Targzissian

He's a visionary... Perhaps he sees potential here that a lot of us don't. I'm just glad to have some word on the guy. I've been a fan ever since I used to tribute him gold pieces in exchange for him raising my hit points. Go go Richard Garriott! Of course, like a lot of us, I'd like to see him do a re-make of the old Ultimas or something in the fantasy RPG sector. But then he'd have to compete with games like Oblivion and Dragon Age. Well, give him time... He's not a has been yet. He'll always be my Lord British.

swatpup102
swatpup102

UO classic running on facebook. How cool would that be haha.

sircyrus
sircyrus

Once he gets some money behind him again he should get back into RPG's.

DEATH775
DEATH775

Definitely getting this one. yeah

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

I think ultimas a pretty cool guy. eh goes into space and doesnt afraid of anything, but doesn't seem like a good move...

Maxor127
Maxor127

Garriot... wtf are you doing? Have you lost all inspiration and motivation or what?

StSk8ter29
StSk8ter29

I'm betting that Richard Garriott is planning to bring some sort of real fantasy MMO to Facebook. He's just testing the grounds with this poker game because I think he knows how popular social networking sites have become and it's the perfect platform practically asking for a socially connected fantasy MMO.

Jaga_Telesin
Jaga_Telesin

Props to Garriott for returning to the scene - the Ultima series was the grand daddy to a long line of RPG games, and classic in it's own right. I do have to wonder however, at their first product name of "Sweet @$! Poker". Hardly indicative of a serious new venture - we'll have to keep an eye on Portalarium to see which direction they go.

maverick_76
maverick_76

I forgot this guy went to space, pretty cool but I'm not really a fan of his games though.

DarthTall
DarthTall

I met Mr. Garriott a few years ago and he was a cool guy. I wish him nothing but success.