Richard Garriott Explains Why He Needs a $1 Million Kickstarter

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Richard Garriott Explains Why He Needs a $1 Million Kickstarter

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Richard "Lord British" Garriott is fed up with videogame publishers, and wants the players to take their place for his upcoming online RPG, Shroud of the Avatar.

Ultima creator Richard "Lord British" Garriott once paid $30 million from his personal finances to become the sixth ever "space tourist." $1 million seems like it would be a drop in the bucket for the game design legend, so why is he asking Kickstarter backers to foot the bill? Garriott explains to PC Games N that it's more about the developer-backer relationship than the money.

First, Garriott assures us that he has poured millions of dollars from his personal fortune into getting his company, Portalarium, off the ground. He says that Portalarium is "only trying to raise about one million dollars through this crowdfunding campaign," and the reason is not because it necessarily needs the money, but because Garriott doesn't want to be held accountable to a publisher.

"As I reflect on my own career, each of the times that we have forged a deep relationship with another publisher, those very next games are the games that have shipped the least well, shall we say?" Instead, Garriott wants the players themselves to take the place of publishers in the development process. Garriott says that signing with a publisher means you become slaves to them, rather than the audience. He'd instead rather that his players themselves become his "task-masters" for his next project.

"You become slaves to your publisher as opposed to slaves to the audience and we're trying to make sure that the task master we are listening to - starting them early and getting them into these alphas and betas - is the player, and not the publisher."

While Garriott says that the $1 million will be put to good use for the game's development, the Kickstarter is more of a "self-selection process." "By embracing [the core audience] and bringing them into the development process, it lets us suss out a lot of problems," he said.

Shroud of the Avatar has raised $730,000 USD at time of writing. It is set to be an "MMO-lite," with a persistent world and a focus on questing in small groups. It is the spiritual successor to the Ultima series.

Source & Image: PC Games N

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After the Tabula Rasa thing I just wouldn've give him money for shit.

If he's put millions of his own money into the project, probably the bigger motivation of the campaign is to raise awareness.

whatever Garriott; considering you've done absolute jack of note for the last fifteen years and have also had projects flop spectacularly you can't say it's the publishers' fault that you haven't lit the world on fire

Did anyone crack curiosity yet?

Y'know... I've supported a very select few kickstarters I deemed worthy in the pursuit of human interests - like Allison's operation from EC, for example. A ridiculously wealthy man with a business and... all this guy has, and he's going to get a million dollars from people...

I have some student loans that will cripple me for life y'all could pay off if you get to hankering after throwing your money at people. Just saying.

How stupid doers he think we are? Oh right very stupid and looking at the Kickstarter he's probably right. If he doesn't want the money he doesn't need a publisher at all, if all he wants is exposure then surely a lower amount and no upper tiers would do that. He wants to be treated like a charity case and has worked out people are stupid enough to do so.

Evil Smurf:
Did anyone crack curiosity yet?

That was Peter Molyneux's idea.

My guess is that he picked one million as a nice round number for 'awareness campaign' Kickstarter.

Captcha: hand over fist

Grabehn:
After the Tabula Rasa thing I just wouldn've give him money for shit.

I would think that Tabula Rasa is exactly why he is so leery of being beholden to a publisher now.

The game wasn't perfect by any means, but NCSoft are, I feel, more responsible for it failure than Garriott is.

[quote="Steven Bogos" post="7.403247.16659314It is the spiritual successor to the [i]Ultima[/i] series.
[/quote]

Didn't theUltima series end really badly? Was Lord British responsible for that or was it somene else?

Ultima IX keeps coming up as a worse betrayal than Mass Effect 3 after all.

Sounds fishy to me.

Ultima IX. Yes, that wasn't great to be fair.

What is an avatar?

kailus13:
Didn't theUltima series end really badly? Was Lord British responsible for that or was it somene else?

Ultima IX keeps coming up as a worse betrayal than Mass Effect 3 after all.

He didn't work on the final version of Ultima IX at all, as I understand it. EA owned Origin for that one, and they didn't really give a crap about Ultima IX since Ultima Online was going to make them more money.

And it was most definitely worse than Mass Effect 3. ME3 is 30 hours of gold and 5 minutes of crap (or in the extended cut, 5 minutes of "eh, it's alright I guess"). Ultima IX has pretty much no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Dull gameplay, offensive story down to pretty much every line of dialogue, and the thing barely works at all.

Yes, yes that's very nic- Spiritual successor to the Ultima series? Well then, why didn't you just say that to begin with. Take my money then. /sarcasm

That aside, I'm looking forward to playing an online Ultima game again.

Oh look another multimillionaire wants free money and other news water is wet. These guys are taking the mickey, if you can afford to spend $30 million on a holidayer you can afford to spend the money to self publish.

Im sick with old fucks using kickstarter as a fucking cheap comercial.

Three words mister garriot "Ultima Fucking Nine". I still remember his smug little post after patch 3 about how the game was complete and no more patches would be released. Pagan was bad enough but Nine was an insult to every Ultima fan around. I'm not even going to go near the fiasco that was Tabula Rasa. garriot might have had it once but that was nearly twenty years ago, he's a fossil, a relic whose doesnt realise the gaming world in general doesnt give two cents for him and his crappy new game.

If only you hadn't tried to free yourself from the slavery of gravity, this wouldn't be an issue.
Still... the mere fact that EA won't be involved in an way IS quite the selling point.

When Richard Garriott actually has full control of the design process of the game hes involved in. Its usually pretty damn good. The last actual game he had that level of control with was Ultima 7 Part 2 Serpent Isle. Ultima 8 and 9 were made under EA's "leadership". Tabula Rasa was again a situation where his control and input were by no means more powerful than the publisher he was working for. I look forward to seeing this develop.

Isn't it nice to be rich enough that you feel like you can ask for $1 million for the sake of the 'relationship'

While Garriott says that the $1 million will be put to good use for the game's development, the Kickstarter is more of a "self-selection process." "By embracing [the core audience] and bringing them into the development process, it lets us suss out a lot of problems," he said.

Yup, that sums up his unique brand of insanity nicely. Out of context it also makes it sound a bit like a cult...

Captcha: hover hand Look out! Take shelter! It's...HOVER HAND!!!!

Eh, I understand why people would complain but it makes perfect sense to me for him to do this. I mean, he's not asking $1,000,000 from each individual customer. He's attempting to acquire $1,000,000 worth of investment so he knows he has a player base. As people here have demonstrated, he's not exactly universally loved. Before he dumps a sizable chunk of personal money into a guaranteed flop, he's making sure there's actually interest in the game he's building. I mean, Ultima IX was over a decade ago and the people who remember it are still bitter.

If you're not interested, don't invest. If nobody's interested, nobody will invest and the game won't get made. Not because this $1,000,000 is critical to the game getting made, but because if he can't get $1,000,000 in interest based on his name and this basic idea, it's unlikely he'll get the significantly larger numbers needed to make a profit on the finished product.

Oy, he recently promised an offline, DRM free 1 player version of the game. The online component is entirely optional. May be worth an article update.

well he makes a nice point with the whole developer-backer relationship...but doesn't change the fact that he's sitting on millions already loll

Nicolaus99:
Oy, he recently promised an offline, DRM free 1 player version of the game. The online component is entirely optional. May be worth an article update.

I was thinking "yeah no" as well until they rolled out the singleplayer mode as well.

What I would really really love though, is server emulation. It would be great to play with my friends and family on our own private server.

Desert Punk:

Nicolaus99:
Oy, he recently promised an offline, DRM free 1 player version of the game. The online component is entirely optional. May be worth an article update.

I was thinking "yeah no" as well until they rolled out the singleplayer mode as well.

What I would really really love though, is server emulation. It would be great to play with my friends and family on our own private server.

Ask him about it on his Kickstarter, especially in the general comments. That way anyone else who sees it might also join the chorus. There's a good chance you will actually get an official direct answer and not the traditional corporate double speak that always translates to NO.

Nicolaus99:

Desert Punk:

Nicolaus99:
Oy, he recently promised an offline, DRM free 1 player version of the game. The online component is entirely optional. May be worth an article update.

I was thinking "yeah no" as well until they rolled out the singleplayer mode as well.

What I would really really love though, is server emulation. It would be great to play with my friends and family on our own private server.

Ask him about it on his Kickstarter, especially in the general comments. That way anyone else who sees it might also join the chorus. There's a good chance you will actually get an official direct answer and not the traditional corporate double speak that always translates to NO.

Good idea!

I sent them a message, I will report back here if I hear anything from them on it!

If he could afford to spend 30 million to go into space, then I'm pretty damn sure he doesn't need 1 million from us.

Evil Smurf:
Did anyone crack curiosity yet?

That avatar. It's just....so...CUTE!

And considering how his LAST Ultima game went,(We dare not speak of it) he wants some assurance that this one doesn't SUCK.

Is it sad that I have played Ultima since I was a child, but the only reason why I even know of Garriott by name is due to The Spoony Experiment.

Nicolaus99:

Desert Punk:

Nicolaus99:
Oy, he recently promised an offline, DRM free 1 player version of the game. The online component is entirely optional. May be worth an article update.

I was thinking "yeah no" as well until they rolled out the singleplayer mode as well.

What I would really really love though, is server emulation. It would be great to play with my friends and family on our own private server.

Ask him about it on his Kickstarter, especially in the general comments. That way anyone else who sees it might also join the chorus. There's a good chance you will actually get an official direct answer and not the traditional corporate double speak that always translates to NO.

Thought I would let ya know (Sorry for message box spam) I got an answer

my question:

Hello, I am a recent backer, and was drawn in by the FAQ answer that there will be an offline mode to the game, which made me happy to see.

My question though, is if there will be sort of an inbetween mode, where I will be able to play on a LAN or set up a private server for myself and my friends to enjoy the game together without dealing with everyone online?

I appreciate the time you take reading this, and I look forward to the game!

Their answer:

That is one of the details we're still working through. I'm sorry I can't give you a more complete answer at this time, but we are still early in the development process. Thanks for understanding and stay tuned, we will be releasing more information as we have it available!

Desert Punk:

Nicolaus99:

Desert Punk:

I was thinking "yeah no" as well until they rolled out the singleplayer mode as well.

What I would really really love though, is server emulation. It would be great to play with my friends and family on our own private server.

Ask him about it on his Kickstarter, especially in the general comments. That way anyone else who sees it might also join the chorus. There's a good chance you will actually get an official direct answer and not the traditional corporate double speak that always translates to NO.

Thought I would let ya know (Sorry for message box spam) I got an answer

my question:

Hello, I am a recent backer, and was drawn in by the FAQ answer that there will be an offline mode to the game, which made me happy to see.

My question though, is if there will be sort of an inbetween mode, where I will be able to play on a LAN or set up a private server for myself and my friends to enjoy the game together without dealing with everyone online?

I appreciate the time you take reading this, and I look forward to the game!

Their answer:

That is one of the details we're still working through. I'm sorry I can't give you a more complete answer at this time, but we are still early in the development process. Thanks for understanding and stay tuned, we will be releasing more information as we have it available!

Wow, that was fast. I'm inclined to lean positive in my hopes as only a little prodding got a good result on the offline-no-DRM-1 player mode.

If Minecraft can cheerfully offer private servers, don't see why anyone else can't. If no one else knocks on their door about it as time goes on, probably worth nagging them about it again later. Social pressure from multiple voices at this early stage of their KS campaign is probably the community's greatest leverage in getting a positive result from this project design decision. ^_^ I'll log in over at KS and add myself to your background chorus.

"The spiritual successor of the Ultima games?" I thought that was The Elder Scrolls.

Seems like he's trying to say "I will make this game, and I am willing to put a sizeable portion of my resources towards it, but first, I want proof you actually want it."

Sounds like a combination of funding and surveying, if he can gather $1,000,000 from a kickstarter, then the base is probably large enough to make a successful game. Seems reasonable.

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