Is Shroud of the Avatar the spiritual successor to Ultima?
Ultima Online may still have a decent following -- considering its age -- but it's hard to deny that it's not the same game it once was. As a fan of UO, even I can admit that it's now nothing but a shadow of the game Richard Garriott envisioned when he created it over 15 years ago. Like many other long time Ultima Online fans, I've been waiting for a sequel, or at least some sort of update that could make the game that started MMOs relevant again. Sure, over the years EA has attempted to update the game's graphics and gameplay, introducing ninjas and elves and things of that sort. Unfortunately, it all fell flat for me.
But now, the legendary RPG creator is back with a new game, Shroud of the Avatar. Having recently attained its Kickstarter goal, Garriott and his Portalarium team are attempting to revitalize the RPG genre. And for Ultima Online fans, it can be thought of a spiritual sequel to Ultima Online.
"I've often said that I do hope people see it as a spiritual successor," Garriott told me after I flat out asked him if it can be considered a sequel to UO.
"Clearly I can't use the word "Ultima," but I can use Lord British. And I can use things that are public domain like virtues and avatar, things that have become standard lexicon for all games," he said.
"If you remember the storylines of the solo player Ultimas, 1 through 9," Garriott began, explaining how he intentionally left the world of Ultima open for future games, "at the end of Ultima 9 I ripped the world into pieces with these giant pillars."
"I sort of set it up to start a fresh interpretation of what the world would even look like," he continued. "And that was not without intent. I knew that was going to be the last of the original Ultima series, and I wanted to make sure Lord British could pick up and carry on and create what would be specifically the spiritual successor."
Lord British will continue to live on through Shroud of the Avatar which is due out in 2014 on PC, Mac, and Linux.