BioWare Making Free-to-Play Ultima RPG

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BioWare Making Free-to-Play Ultima RPG

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"The first great Western RPG has been lovingly restored in Ultima Forever."

EA just announced that BioWare is working on a cross-platform, modern take on Richard Garriott's ground-breaking Ultima series. It's not quite what you'd expect, at least from an Ultima title. Ultima Forever has a bright, cartoonish aesthetic, only two classes and it's being published under EA's Play 4 Free label.

"Accept the challenge from Lady British and save the land of Britannia. Play as the Fighter or the Mage and travel alone or with friends, restore virtue and become the Avatar!" shouts the game's announcement page.

Lord British appears to have either been replaced or undergone sex reassignment surgery, presumably because he (Richard Garriott) is unlikely to be involved with the project. EA obtained the rights to the Ultima series back in '92 when it bought Origin Systems. Garriot eventually left the company at the turn of the century, shortly after EA canceled all of the studio's projects in response to the poor performance of Ultima IX. EA finally shuttered the studio in 2004.

EA also released Lord of Ultima, a free-to-play, MMO strategy game earlier this year to a generally mixed reception.

You can take a look at Ultima Forever's artwork and sign up for the beta here.

Source: Ultima Forever

Permalink

Hasn't this website been up for over a year?

Well after the fiasco that was Ultima 8 and 9 I don't think there's any way EA could possibly fuck it up more.

If this is a true RPG, can I be the Avatar of the Guardian?

Poor Spoony, first being Fired from TGWTG and now THIS^
Seriously someone should check-up on him.

Looks at Developer/Publisher combo ...
Walks away ... starts running ... sprints until breath holds.

Sorry, but seriously. EA/BioWare at this point are sure to miss any good ideas they could implement but instead provide only crap. They failed to succeed in modern MMOs so they decided to fall back to ancient MMOs?

Making remake of nostalgia-laced sandbox MMO -> Implement 2 classes. ???

Wow, it's impressive that all I know of Ultima is from Spoony's reviews, and yet I can instantly spot a ton of things wrong with this.

Like the fact that they're trying to revive a franchise they killed themselves through showing no respect for the source material....by making a game which blatantly disrespects the source material. I assume they're using "Lady British" because Garriott would sue their intestines out if they tried to use his gaming persona, which is understandable....but it's still stupid.

Then we have....two classes? You fricking serious bro? In an age where virtually any respectable MMORPG has *at least* three unique classes, usually closer to 6-8, you're really gonna try a two-class MMO? Has there ever been an Ultima game with that little selection in terms of your character class/build?

Oh, and then there's the death sentence placed on it already because it's being made by the same wonderful folks who decided to put out a modern age clone of WoW in the form of The Old Republic (better known as TORtanic) and claim that they made this revolutionary new RPG. At least they've learned from that mistake by making this Free To Play, but good god, man. You're clearly not cut out for the MMO genre at all, so why are you trying? Money? Most people loyal to the franchise gave up on you around Ultima 9, you aren't likely to bring that many back with a cartoonish two-class F2P MMO. I'm not sure I'm going to touch it with a ten foot pole, myself....an EA-created Ultima doesn't entice me in the slightest.

DVS BSTrD:
Poor Spoony, first being Fired from TGWTG and now THIS^
Seriously someone should check-up on him.

From Spoony's twitter this morning after he found out about this: "Well, that about does it. I'm off to go start slamming my head in a car door, and I may never stop."

SachielOne:

DVS BSTrD:
Poor Spoony, first being Fired from TGWTG and now THIS^
Seriously someone should check-up on him.

From Spoony's twitter this morning after he found out about this: "Well, that about does it. I'm off to go start slamming my head in a car door, and I may never stop."

That sounds like a proper response from a fan. How many Ultima fans are actually excited about this?

Dammit EA, nobody asked for this. If you make an Ultima game, people want an Ultima game, not that strategy game or this. Also, I thought UO still went pretty well, considering it's age.

Hooray! We're finally getting more Ultiwhat the fuck is this shit?!?

SachielOne:

DVS BSTrD:
Poor Spoony, first being Fired from TGWTG and now THIS^
Seriously someone should check-up on him.

From Spoony's twitter this morning after he found out about this: "Well, that about does it. I'm off to go start slamming my head in a car door, and I may never stop."

I don't know if he and J.O. were close enough for him to go sending that tweet (Hell, I say sexist things to girls all the time, but they know I'm being silly) but he didn't deserve to lose his job because someone else dug it up to attack him with. Not saying I approve of how HE handled his response, but the whole thing should never have come up in the first place.

CD-R:
Well after the fiasco that was Ultima 8 and 9 I don't think there's any way EA could possibly fuck it up more.

They will find a way. They always find a way.

Unless this is a complete Reboot (as in everything that happened between I and IX never existed), then there will be tons of story errors, stupid decisions and horrific gameplay.

Fappy:

SachielOne:

DVS BSTrD:
Poor Spoony, first being Fired from TGWTG and now THIS^
Seriously someone should check-up on him.

From Spoony's twitter this morning after he found out about this: "Well, that about does it. I'm off to go start slamming my head in a car door, and I may never stop."

That sounds like a proper response from a fan. How many Ultima fans are actually excited about this?

Not.

A.

One.

Ultima IV-VII will always be awesome (VII being perhaps the greatest cRPG ever); I-III were great at the time; VIII was okay.

All other Ultima games are impostors - although this hardly even qualifies as an impostor.

I never asked for this.

Wow, not the move I would have made. Going from shitting in everyone's face with ME3 to a series with a history of shitting in everyone's faces.

It's looking pretty grim for Bioware.

So Bioware has gone from being the premier AAA western crpg maker to making a free to play throwback that will probably not make it to the same quality as most facebook games? Really?

Is this BioWare BioWare making this or just another random studio that EA slapped the BioWare name onto (like for the C&C game)?

Not that it really matters, I'm just curious.

Interesting how I (and I imagine, many others like me born to late to experience Ultima's prime) hadn't heard of the series until Spoony's retrospective, and then it started popping up all over again with Lords of Ultima, all the rereleases on GOG, and now this. Wonder if Spoony's influence contributed to an Ultima resurrection? Incidentally, if an official Ultima X was ever made, Ultima: Resurrection sounds strangely appropriate...

burningdragoon:
Is this BioWare BioWare making this or just another random studio that EA slapped the BioWare name onto (like for the C&C game)?

Not that it really matters, I'm just curious.

I'm pretty sure it's the latter. In particular it's Bioware Mythic who made the Warhammer MMO. Also some more info on it. Apparently it's a MMO remake of Ultima IV.
http://kotaku.com/5925250/ultima-is-going-free+to+play-heres-how-it-just-might-work
Judging from all the comments on every article I see on this I do not see this being a success.

If they do a good job with this, then surely I'l...

Oh, who am I kidding? This is gonna suck.

P.S. Thanks

Just going to leave this right here...

Grey Carter:
EA just announced that BioWare. . .

There's two reasons why I don't care in the first five words of the first sentence.

An open letter to EA;

Please stop murdering game franchises. Everyone knows the last good Ultima Game (barring Ultima Online, that was it's own thing) was Ultima VII: The Serpents Gate and it would have been even better if you hadn't rushed Origin when they were making it. You need to just stop, stop making games, sell all your IPs and call it a day. You are the next THQ.

Without love;
robert01

PS: Fuck you.

Yeah, I won't touch it with a ten foot pole. Everyone knows how the last Ultima turned out to be after EA had their fingers in it...

burningdragoon:
Is this BioWare BioWare making this or just another random studio that EA slapped the BioWare name onto (like for the C&C game)?

Not that it really matters, I'm just curious.

Which one would be worst? Some random studio may bring in new talent.

It used to be that "made by Bioware" was a point in a game's favour.

DA2, TOR, ME3 and a heaping helping of Hepler put a stop to that.

CriticKitten:
Wow, it's impressive that all I know of Ultima is from Spoony's reviews, and yet I can instantly spot a ton of things wrong with this.

Agreed, Spoony's reviews have gotten me really interested the the Ultima series to the point where I've been looking to pick up the Ultima collection (if I could find a new copy for under $499.50)

When they say Cross platform do they mean its getting a console release? or just a PC and Mac one?

Also when the fuck is Bioware gonna stop dicking around and make Jade Empire 2?

Or maybe its a good thing they aren't making a JE2, being that the first Jade Empire was the LAST good game Bioware ever made. Yeah I said it FUCK Dragon Age and Mass Effect

Edit: Also

Not only did EA kill Ultima, they dig up its grave a decade later and let Bioware masturbate it's dialog wheels and romance options all over its decaying corpse. I've never even played Ultima and even I feel like I just got kicked in the sack.

ANImaniac89:

CriticKitten:
Wow, it's impressive that all I know of Ultima is from Spoony's reviews, and yet I can instantly spot a ton of things wrong with this.

Agreed, Spoony's reviews have gotten me really interested the the Ultima series to the point where I've been looking to pick up the Ultima collection (if I could find a new copy for under $499.50)

When they say Cross platform do they mean its getting a console release? or just a PC and Mac one?

The whole series is on GoG if you really want it. I just checked and I'm pretty sure IV is even free.

OT: two classes? That already gives you an idea of how lazy this is going to be. I'm also guessing this game will lack rogue-y stuff. Locked chests, disarmable traps, etc. I have never played Ultima and i feel insulted.

It would be awesome if someone bought the IP from EA and just started remaking the games with modern 2d graphics. A guy can dream.

Ziggy:

burningdragoon:
Is this BioWare BioWare making this or just another random studio that EA slapped the BioWare name onto (like for the C&C game)?

Not that it really matters, I'm just curious.

Which one would be worst? Some random studio may bring in new talent.

As far as quality goes? I dunno. I would assume EA slapping the BioWare sticker on some other studio they own is at least in part because they don't think that studio could draw enough dollars in without it. But I think actual BioWare has already damaged it's name (wrong or not), so that probably doesn't matter much.

The real reason I'm curious though is for all the people that see EA/BioWare and immediately scoff just because of ME3 and DA2, when it's possible that this "BioWare" probably isn't even the same BioWare.

Nnot that I think scoffing at EA making more Ultima is bad, just people being stupid about it.

Burst6:

ANImaniac89:

CriticKitten:
Wow, it's impressive that all I know of Ultima is from Spoony's reviews, and yet I can instantly spot a ton of things wrong with this.

Agreed, Spoony's reviews have gotten me really interested the the Ultima series to the point where I've been looking to pick up the Ultima collection (if I could find a new copy for under $499.50)

When they say Cross platform do they mean its getting a console release? or just a PC and Mac one?

The whole series is on GoG if you really want it. I just checked and I'm pretty sure IV is even free.

OT: two classes? That already gives you an idea of how lazy this is going to be. I'm also guessing this game will lack rogue-y stuff. Locked chests, disarmable traps, etc. I have never played Ultima and i feel insulted.

It would be awesome if someone bought the IP from EA and just started remaking the games with modern 2d graphics. A guy can dream.

Cool thank you I hadn't even thought to check there.

The limited nature of this release, being free to play and only two classes, just screams Real Money Store.

Unlock the thief class! Only 1200 bioware points! Prepurchase the Virtues Pack now and get the Avatar Arsenal half off!

Yeah, this is definitely answering the questions nobody asked. Ultima is one of those things that's tied to the personality that created it. Just like how no one wants a Firefly reboot/sequel without Joss Whedon, no on wants Ultima without Richard Garriot.

By god that had better be a miss-communication as to Lord British. Ultima is anchored(with love) to Garriot, remove Richard from the equation & it loses a great part of what made it great. You can't make the setting work without him, don't even try. Removing lord British himself is just another insult. At any rate we know this is likely to be another company that EA is labeling as Bioware, & its likely to have a real money system. Unlock thief & so forth, buy the bobbit pack, unlock the Stygian Abyss, etc. This whole thing smacks of nostalgia-rape. EA killed Ultima, & decided to dig up its corpse to milk a few more bucks from its bones.

Edit; OH! I JUST REALIZED IT! They sex-changed Lord British into a woman so that the player can romance him/her!

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