Quest for the Avatar due this year with online multiplayer, action RPG combat; playable free "start to finish."
Many modern games ask players whether and how to do the right thing, but none quite like Ultima IV, according to BioWare Mythic's Paul Barnett. But the 1985 role-playing game, which is renowned for its system of interacting virtues, has a few rusty hinges and rough edges.
"It's like reading Chaucer," Barnett said in an interview with GameSpot. "The controls are deeply inadequate, the graphics are horrible, the input system is byzantine at best." That's why his team is remaking it with modern trappings--updated graphics, multiplayer, and action RPG combat--and they're making it free-to-play.
Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar is set to launch on iPad and PC later this year. The game, which Barnett said will be playable "start to finish" for free, is the second major free-to-play project from BioWare, the first being Facebook tie-in Dragon Age Legends. He said the team took several lessons from the EA2D project, which was recently discontinued online.
"It had a lot of good ideas in it, it struggled to find a long-term audience, and perhaps was too aggressive with its monetization policy," Barnett said. So instead of "glass walls" preventing advancement through the game, Ultima Forever players will be able to buy additional means of transport or the ability to fast travel through the world.
Ultima Forever will feature the same set of virtues from its 1985 counterpart, but players will find new choices and consequences reflected in the game's fully integrated multiplayer. "Virtue is how you treat other people, in lots of games that's how you treat NPCs," said lead designer Kate Flack. "We want to take that same idea of how you treat other people and then apply it to the players."
She explained the game's mentorship system, through which high-level characters temporarily reduce their level to help with less-experienced friends' campaigns. Mentors grow in the virtue of sacrifice, for helping out on tasks beneath their heroic stature, and mentees grow in humility, for admitting they need help.
Barnett said the game will use Origin's matchmaking services across iPad and PC to facilitate multiplay between small groups of friends. These updates create a delicate balance between adhering to the vision of Ultima creator Richard Garriott, who is not involved in the project, and alterations for BioWare's approach to narrative and usability by a touch-centric generation. Ultimately, he said, the idea is to get back to what has kept Ultima IV a topic of conversation more than 25 years after its release.
"The idea that it's finding out who you are, that there's a difference between who you claim you are and who you actually are in the game," Barnett said. "Hopefully, if we've done it right, what it's actually hearkening back to is that good storytelling that we used to do in the past, when the technology was a lot simpler."
I don't know about this. The reason why I like the original game was because of how personal the quest was. If you put a multiplayer element into it, how will it work? If a party member robs a store, does the whole party lose an eighth?
quote; "Look, it's Paul Barnett. That? crazy British dude that appears in random videos at EA to promote his latest bullshittery. We know him as the crazy British dude who we have no idea of how he still has a job."
I've just thought of a way to save this
The avatar has ascended and the world is once again in chaos. The world of Sosaria once again needs a beacon of hope. It's your job to find him.
You get to be the Avatar, you get to be the Avatar, everybody gets to be the Avatar!
A wave of disappointment washes over the land, and engulfs everything within it's murky depths of suckiness.
This it is written, thus it shall be.
@Maxor127 How do you figure that? It said it's going to be a complete remake start to finish of the original...
@Maxor127 Because EA is not done murdering Origin yet. Just wait til they start defiling Wing Commander.
@Henrique2324 They already did defile Wing Commander about two years ago. It was called something like "Wing Commander: Armada" on XBLA. It was an arena based combat game that handled like the SNES Mario Kart VS mode... so painful, and had nothing to do with Wing Commander...
@whodagoose I didnt know this :/ Just read your post and googled(a new word ...) the game.
Im dissapointed over 9000!
Nothing is sacred anymore. Nothing!
@cyberarmy That's awesome, you still remember those two. Screw this world where everybody ditched our old gems to go play COD.
To all those "hooray it's free". Ever thought about, why? Well definitely not, because they love you. It's because of money in the long term. In fact they try to lure you to their "me-too-Steam-product" or "all-seeing-eye" called Origin. I guess somebody had the idea: Heck, how do we attract the older players.. well let's heat up an undead brand and hope they'll buy from our Origin or later on some ingame stuff.
Bwahahahahahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...and Garriott said the series was pointless. Screw you Garriott!!!! Bwahahahahahahahhhhhhhhhh...we, the fans, were right all along! You threw away the money! Now, all these developers have to do is see that virtuous gameplay still sells. Any rules system can be made into a game, even a virtuous one. That's what made Ultima popular in the first place.Sadly, it looks like an online game (MMO), so I won't be playing it. I still have the original, though. I don't need the new one. When you decide to make a single-player Ultima game in the original Ultima (Lord British) universe, with software on the disc and not an internet download, and not requiring a constant internet connection to play, though, let me know. Then I'll have a look. IN SANCT MANI Ultima !!!
EA screws everything, thats a given. The question is will people screw themselves and play it?
EA and Ultima? Strike one
Origin? Strike two
You don't even deserve the chance of a third strike EA. Done.
"The controls are deeply inadequate, the graphics are horrible, the input system is byzantine at best." This game is from the 80's and it's MUCH better than anything this Barnett ever made.Turning this into a social MMO blasphemy pot does not undo that.
Seriously, just download this from GOG for free. It'll be a much better game even with the 80's graphics.
Never played Ultima IV, I'd ne sure to play this if they made movement real-time but kept the turn-based combat.....I've played enough action RPG's to last a lifetime thanks.
As if the franchise wasn't dead enough. I used to love this game. I swear to god, if EA gets their hands on GOG, I'll spaghetti everything.
"Barnett said the game will use Origin's matchmaking services across iPad and PC to facilitate multiplay between small groups of friends."
And they shoot their own foot again. Origin = no.
From the Ultima forever website: "Accept the challenge from Lady British and save the land of Britannia."
LADY British?? How very progressive of you Bioware. Hard to be that optimistic for this when you decide to change the most central and recognizable character in the entire Ultima series.
@cegab Lord or Lady doesn't matter, its life is forfeit.
@cegab Just realize that Lord British is tradmarked by Richard Garriott, so they cannot use it legally.
Know your fact, dude.
@gSp0t0210 EA owns the Ultima IP, the entire franchise is theirs. If it's in an Ultima game, they can use it regardless of Garriott.
Know your facts, dude.
They most likely changed it to "Lady British" as an insult to Garriott since he and EA parted very badly.
@mrboone01 they can never make a complete ultima game ever again load british owns the right to some of the characters in the series......get ur fats straight idiot.
@mrboone01 Ok then
Bro hugs around.
@gSp0t0210 Aye, as I said, I think the "Lady" moniker is a slap to Garriott from EA. Pretty funny, actually.
And I understand your point about garriott and his british trademark. My point was that, regardless of trademark, if I or you or even Grriott tried to use the "Lord British" moniker/character in any product, EA would have all our asses in slings because of their ownership of the UO franchise.
@mrboone01 I've seen enough of Garriot in the press to know he's an arrogant fool.
Good for Bioware for slapping a pair of panties on him.
@mrboone01 I understand that, seeing as I still play UO, but The name was trademarked separately by Mr. Garriott, See: http://www.trademarkia.com/lord-british-73422201.html
@gSp0t0210 *sigh* EA owns the copyright to the Lord British name. Ultima Online is still running and fully trademarked by EA.
@mrboone01 If you want to get "real techincal" no one owns the name "lord british" anymore as the copyright expired in 2007, but as everyone knows Lord British as Richard Garriott, they wouldn't want to associate themselves with him.
And actually, Lady British fits Garriott very well, as he is nothing more than a primadonna with delusions of grandeur.
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