Avatar Resurrected. Lord British Not So Much.
We took Ultima IV, with all of its ethical moral choice, which was innovative for its time, and updated it for the next generation.
While no release date has been set, EA sent us a trailer today for their upcoming mobile and PC title, Ultima Forever and we are, to put it mildly, excited. Many of you may be too you to remember the seminal RPG series that some consider the first bona fide open-world RPG. Let me fill you in. Ultima was an absolutely magnificent series of single player RPGs that, in the heyday of computer games pushed the boundaries of what could be done in a video game. They were bold, nuanced and exciting games and in the late eighties and early nineties they were hands down the finest RPGs to be had.Ultima I’s open-word gameplay was a revelation to players back in 1981. The resultant popularity led to eight direct sequels, a handful of spin-offs and Ultima Online (sixteen years old and still kicking, it is one the oldest MMORPGs running). The lion’s share of these games (Ultimas 8 and 9 excepted) were wholly embraced by players and critics alike. Richard Garriot, the series’ creator (who is sadly not a part of EA’s upcoming iteration) and his company Origin Systems dug deeper than their competitors and the Ultimas were renowned world-wide for their epic storylines, rich gameplay and morally complex narratives.
Now, while Ultima Forever is being billed as an action role-playing game and has an online group play component, there seem to be a number of facets that remain true to the series’ roots. The game features a top-down isometric point of view, with hand-painted backgrounds and 3D characters. And it has a storyline. Hurray! The story is set some 11 years after the events at the close of Ultima 9. Lord British is out traveling the stars and the Avatar (for the uninitiated that’s you), has to take on some sort of challenge for Lord British’s daughter, Lady British. Oh, and there’s some kind of unspeakable evil as well. Bully for that, we say. What’s more, Lord British will now make a cameo appearance in the game. You see, originally they weren’t going to include the old mensch, but Garriot apparently gave the OK at the eleventh hour. So, fans of the original series might now get a chance to chat him up or take pot shots at him as he expound upon the virtues. He does tend to go on.
Lastly and most importantly: it’s rather clear that there will be an Android port. While they have not announced it officially, they are working on it. See this article here on Ultima Codex for the proof, and take this into consideration as well: Our contact at EA knows Hardcore Droid as an Android only magazine and they sent us the damn video. Do the math. We’re a shoe-in. Anyway, to the video….