Ultima Creator Wants To Revolutionise Video Game RPGs Again

The man known as Lord British has been from video games a long time. Yeah, he's had the whole space travel thing going on. And there was a messy bit of business where he got half a million dollars stolen from him to by fancy magician paraphernalia. But it seemed really weird that Richard Garriott — an iconic creator responsible for the super-successful Ultima series — was staying awaying from video games for so long.

He never stopped thinking about making games though. Garriott has been working on something, and now he's ready to show it to the world.

Garriott came to Kotaku's Manhattan offices to offer us a first look at Shroud of the Avatar, the new role-playing experience that he's been quietly building with a small team in Austin, Texas. He wants the game to free players from always having to be an intrepid hero character and promises that you'll be able to have a rich varied experience as a normal townsperson who isn't hungry for combat.

Like many an old-school developer nowadays, Garriott plans to get funding for Shroud of the Avatar via Kickstarter. The project page just went live here.

During his time at Kotaku NYC, Garriott also talked about his own personal history as a game designer, talks about why he prefers making games for PCs and why it's better that Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts is back at making games instead of movies. He also explains the difference between a role-playing game and an RPG and shares his theory on the kinds of cyclical changes that hit with every hardware cycle — and why he's sick of that merry-go-round.

The interview above is a sprawling but fascinating 25 minutes. If you just want a look at gameplay from an early build of Shroud of the Avatar, then click on the second video for a run-through of the work-in-progress game. Without Garriott's essntial early work, subsequent successes like Planescape: Torment and Wasteland probably wouldn't have been possible. The spiritual follow-ups to those titles have been big crowdfunding successes. It will be interesting to see if Lord British's next big gamble will find the same kind of success.


    Garriot was past it for a while before he stopped making games. Remember Tabula Rasa? It was absolute rubbish. Just from watching the clips above it looks like he's still making games for 1995.

    If it ever gets to release (which I find highly doubtful), I predict an ok opening month followed by a rapid fleeing of their servers. (Not that that's any huge surprise, basically follows the path of every MMO release since EQ2 / WoW).

      it's gotten around 350 thousand dollars in it's kickstarter in under 9 hours of being up.... i have a feeling this game will get released

      Edit: also, it's not an MMO, it can be played completely single player, or you can have elements of a persistent world with your friends

      Last edited 09/03/13 11:51 am

      I agree. Looks like complete crap!

      I'll be sticking with Elder Scrolls Online thanks :/

    I wish Ultima 7 would get remade in to a package like this so I could play it with less jittering!

      Wasn't there a full, fan done remake of 7? I know one of the Ultimas got one.

    This article needs proofing. It has missing words or errors in multiple places.

    Last edited 09/03/13 1:29 pm

    It really has no hope against World of Warcraft 2 and Elder Scrolls Online. Also Destiny from Bungie and Grand Theft Auto 5 Open-world multiplayer :/

    Let's face it - he stayed away because at the time, it was an innovation just to make that game type - and ever since people have expected much more.

    Even then, creating a good game isn't enough. You need to hit a critical mass with your new product fast, or it will fail within months. And even then - you need to keep new players consistently coming to the game to replace leaving players (churn).

    Whatever you do - go out on top.. Then when you're older and more desperate, come back as a revival. It will never work out well, but it's the required and true DEVELOPER lifecycle. Heh.

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