Garriott's 'Ultimate RPG' successful on Kickstarter

Ultima creator Richard Garriott's crowd-funding campaign for Shroud of the Avatar reaches $1 million milestone in 10 days.

Richard Garriott's Kickstarter campaign for an "Ultimate RPG" called Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues has surpassed its $1 million funding target. The milestone was reached last night, meaning the campaign was successful in 10 days.

At press time, funding stands at $1.03 million from nearly 15,000 backers with 18 days remaining.

Now that Shroud of the Avatar has reached its funding target, developer Portalarium has put its sights on stretch goals. If funding should reach $1.1 million, the studio will add social and combat pets. At $1.2 million, weather systems will be featured in the game. Should the campaign receive even more funding, additional stretch goals will be revealed.

Shroud of the Avatar is due out for the PC sometime in 2014, though an alpha version will be available to backers by the end of this year. Portalarium recently welcomed Dragonlance and Deathgate writer Tracy Hickman to the development team. He joins the company as lead story designer.

For more on Shroud of the Avatar, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

74 comments
Tommy7600
Tommy7600

So he spent 30 mil on his little trip into space, but can't afford one million for his own game?

EXODYS
EXODYS

Tracy Hickman? Nice :D

ryadings
ryadings

I'd guess that most people weren't even born when Ultima 4 was still fresh. THAT was the pinnacle of roleplaying. Not because of a save-the-world story with lots of "OMG plot twist!" but because the avatar but the player had to master all the virtues themselves (at least if you knew what you should be doing). And it was fcking hard. I hope Garriott doesn't care about commercial success with this one and gives us one incredibly hard, deep and involving rpg that most people will struggle to understand or even complete. I'd still buy it and complete it - out of spite for today's gaming industry.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

*laughs*  After that interview where he claims he's the best game designer EVAR, he just guaranteed I'll never buy anything from him ever again.  Goodbye, Ultima, I'll always have the originals, and the memories...RIP Ultima, Long Live the Avatar.

silvergol
silvergol

Ultimate RPG?!  Don´t will be made by him never!

snova9308
snova9308

just because of all his "I am the greatest game dev the world has ever seen" speech, if this game turns out to be anything less than the best game in existance, he just shot him self in the foot with all his ego.

gtandiono
gtandiono

Maybe he's using kickstarter to launder money..... Just saying

jurk182
jurk182

Didn't he sue NC Soft for like  quadrillion dollars and win? What does this rich asshole need my $20 for? How about you start a kickstarter to refund everyone who paid for Tabula Rasa?

What kind of ostentatious jerk begs for money online with a massive fucking gold chain around their neck? Kickstarter has now officially fallen into  parody. 

keyb0red
keyb0red

I think I'll wait for the gamepot review



Munstable
Munstable

I used to like the idea of Kickstarters, but more and more it's beginning to feel like a scam.

commit $5 you get XX, commit $10 you get XXX extra, not to mention all the bonus unlocks that you can get if more funding is being fed to it.

For him getting a new yacht, we get weathers systems in the game, HOORAY!!

(though what I said may be an exaggeration, it's really hard for me to believe that there are many honest people living on this planet.)

KingofCabal
KingofCabal

It seems kickstarter has been really successful for alot of RPG's lately. I only have a question. Has any of them released yet? I would actually like to play an Rpg developed through kickstarter before I invest anything.

KingofCabal
KingofCabal

Weather systems? Isn't that supposed to be a normal feature of any Rpg?

aryeec
aryeec

Umm...... weather systems should be in place anyway...

lostn
lostn

Is he developing this game from outer space or is he back on earth now?

wyan_
wyan_

I'm pretty sure Garriot built himself a space station years ago. He didn't need a million dollars. He's up there right now... trolling us all in zero gravity.

thorn3000
thorn3000

what the hack, I have heard about so many awesome kickstarters the last 12 months that I am beginning to think in 1-3 years I might have a totally awesome year/years of gaming time, bring it on!...hopefully they won't cancel 90 percent of them half-way through

Diamondsoulz
Diamondsoulz

You gusy are idiots this game will be in the same flavor of Ultima. The team they have is really really experienced with alot of different games. I'm sure alot of them are Ultima fans you can diss EA all you want but not this game it's not even out lol. Ultima Ascension was the last good game to come out and that was in 1999!!!! Graphics don't make a game anyway

MoronGotMyName
MoronGotMyName

This game will be total shit. Not only is Garriott a complete travesty as a storyteller, he partnered up with Tracy Hickman, who could be the worst fantasy writer in existence. This is the religious fundamentalist that whined when Monte Cook released a book about evil for D&D, claiming it destroyed everything D&D had stood for in three decades and "proving the critics right about D&D after all". The chances of getting a good story from these two morons, who are obsessed with generic hero archetypes are zero - and if they include any evil options at all I half-expect some in-game Jesus to smite me, and some moral message to pop up explaining me that I must behave. 

decoy1978
decoy1978

If any of you guys were FOOLISH enough to back up his project, you'll be extremely disappointed at the end product.

His last turd was Tabula Rasa and that was enough for me to never purchase a game from this guy. 

BTW isn't he also a billionaire or something? Why the hell does he need Kickstarter in the first place? Answer: NO ONE WANTS TO FUND HIS SHITTY GAME! Buyer... Beware!

Hurvl
Hurvl

When it gets released I might check it out, but I'm not expecting anything as good as Project Eternity.

Tak666
Tak666

There's nothing like throwing Your hard earned cash into the bin...

Jasbro
Jasbro

Not sure if anyones mentioned this yet but isnt this guy like a billionaire or something, i mean why does he need to raise money using something thats supposed to help people make games they cant afford on their own when hes loaded.

And people are throwing their cash at him to without questioning why he needs it when he has more money than most companys do.

philoslocos
philoslocos

I am surprised no one has mentioned the god awful graphics this game was showing in the kickstarter video. I understand that this game is not about the jaw dropping visuals and more about story and immersion, however there has to be at least some artistic design that allows the player to be immersed.  I truly hope that it starts to look better in the latter stages of development.  It is not something that would turn me off to a game but I know first impressions are everything to most and if all they see is crappy graphic design they will not even give it a chance.  Kinda of like looking at a baked dish that looks like crap on a plate but tastes awesome.  Presentation is very important.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

Old-school Ultima themes and Tracy Hickman onboard: Good signs.

Saketume
Saketume

Awfully convoluted title. Doesn't exactly inspire hope in me that this will be any good.

MaskRisen
MaskRisen

@Tommy7600 First rule of being a businessman; never spend your own money. Always get someone else to invest. That's how you progress. It's something they teach in economics and such, and as it suck that Kickstarter is becoming a way for already successful people/companies to take advantage of early monetary gain on a project that might not be successful. Kickstarter was suppose to be about small time projects with big time dreams. But people are willing to pay for anything, so why the hell not.

jkdwest
jkdwest

@Diamondsoulz 

  Ascension was a good game??  Sorry man, but the last good Ultima was The Black Gate (Serpent's Isle was good, but same game really).  Pagan was awful (and as bug-ridden as a Tribeca pay-by-the-hour motel), and Ascension was nigh unplayable at release.  Don't even get me started on Ultima Online....

   No, the glory days are long past, and Garriot has had multiple opportunities to make things right.  Now don't get me wrong - I still remember my first experience with Ulitma I back in '86 (released in '81 or '82 though).  Since then I have played every single game in the series (including Worlds of Ultima 1&2, and both Underworlds).  Certainly many of my greatest gaming memories lie with this line.  After Ascension, however, I lost my faith in their ability (or desire) to create the sort of worlds they had in the past.

         Long live Ultima I-VII.

Saketume
Saketume

@MoronGotMyName Haha! I like your post. I'm not familiar with these people but my instincts wanted to tell me something similar.

thorn3000
thorn3000

@MoronGotMyName oh come on, Tracy Hickman, Dragonlance? I though that was pretty good, don't know his other works, and well they had Raistlin in Dragonlance who did cross the boundary between good and evil at some points...

emperiox
emperiox

@MoronGotMyName Lmao, was just thinking the same thing. I feel sorry for all the idiots that wasted their money on this kickstarter...I mean of all the things on kickstarter to donate too, they picked the worst one hands down.

MAD_AI
MAD_AI

@decoy1978 

He did make Ultima and Ultima Online, maybe he learned from Tabula Rasa, that was in my opinion killed off too early by NCsoft.  

I didn't back, and I won't until I see the final game, but the man certainly has his fans. 

grove12345
grove12345

@Hurvl Ya project eternity has amazing talent behind it. Garriott is a bit outdated and last game failed big time. Im not expecting much from him.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Jasbro I have actually never seen anyone fund an ambitious game from their own money, no matter how rich they are/seem. Perhaps he did this because he could or to build an awareness in advance, knowing that backers as well as media would spread word about it. Perhaps a bit of both or something else together. The thing I care about the most is if it's any good, that's all the justification/explanation I demand.

Stebsis
Stebsis

@philoslocos And did you even notice when the game is set to launch? October 2014, year and half from now so I think the graphics will get better in this time, there's no need to even mention god awful graphics of a game that's this early in development.

MAD_AI
MAD_AI

@philoslocos 

They did mention in one of the video streams that they are using placeholder textures and models for the time being. 

megam
megam

@Pyrosa To be honest, I wasn't interested in this project until I read Tracy Hickman was onboard. I absolutely loved the Dragonlance books he co-wrote with Margaret Weis.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Saketume I'm really looking forward to Torment: Tides of Numenera, which is also a convoluted title, but at least it's a spiritual successor to a praised (almost worshipped) game. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is also a convoluted title and that game didn't do too well. I hope Garriott has more success.

thorn3000
thorn3000

@MoronGotMyName oh wait, I am a moron, I forgot the Death Gate cycle which are actually my favorite fantasy books....

Master_I
Master_I

@Stebsis @philoslocos  I kind of agree with you, BUT did you see the graphics in Star Citizen? that same sorta thing, very early and yet impressive.

Saketume
Saketume

@Hurvl

Maybe I should dig a bit in gaming history and see what correlation there is between games quality and their titles.

..or maybe not

Hurvl
Hurvl

@MAD_AI Hmm, 28 million dollars, that's like a small-budgeted movie, but way beyond every kickstarter project I've heard of.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@MAD_AI Those 8 million are just part of what the game will cost. Chris said that he has other investors that will give him money to complete his vision and I think I read something that said that the more money he gets from crowdsourcing, the more money he can  get from his other investors. Personally, I like pretty graphics and effects, but as long as it doesn't look like a ten-year-old game, I'm fine.

MAD_AI
MAD_AI

@Master_I @Stebsis @philoslocos 

Yeah, but one of Star Citize's main features was to appeal PC graphic elitism, if he had shown up with shitty graphics he wouldn't have stood a chance to get the 8 million he has now. I think Chris spent a year in developing the demo.