news\ Mar 8, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Ultima creator Richard Garriott announces new RPG, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

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Richard Garriott, or Lord British as he's popularly known as, is back -- with a brand new game that looks to reinvent the role-playing game. The legendary game designer -- responsible for the hit Ultima RPG franchise -- has announced his latest project, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, which can now be funded by you via Kickstarter.

Under Garriott's direction, Shroud of the Avatar will look to breathe some fresh air into the stale role-playing genre, revitalizing it with the very core mechanics that had been abandoned and replaced with linear grinding. 

Shroud of the Avatar will include what I think are the keys to an ultimate role-playing experience,” Garriott said. “These important tenets include things like a fully interactive virtual world, deep original fiction with ethical parables such that players’ choices are relevant, cultural histories and fully developed alternative languages and text."

The difference between the RPGs of today and of old is that you actually cared about the worlds Garriott created in his games. As his Kickstarter points out, "You cared about the world and its people, and you cared about the actions and deeds you accomplished within that world."

"Since then, most every other RPG has focused more on level grinding then “role playing”, which has been reduced to a few initial character choices. While advancements in graphics and sound have been phenomenal, in many ways the virtual worlds we play in have become less real. Less open. Less immersive."

In Shroud of the Avatar, you will be free to discover your own story. There's no set class system that you are forced to choose from the start, and although there's an overarching story woven into the game, it's up to you to choose to "follow the life of an adventurer" or "focus on exploration and discovery." There's even the option for player housing; you may choose to live safely within the settled lands or brave the dangerous, but lucrative frontier.

Shroud of the Avatar also looks to redefine the crafting system in today's RPGs, though Garriott didn't get too into specifics. For those who enjoy PvP, Garriott insists the game will provide an "incentive-driven system" that will "draw players into the challenge and intrigue of the PVP experience."

Check out the video below to see exactly what Garriott has in mind with Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. For more details, check out the official Kickstarter PageShroud of the Avatar is currently planned for as a downloadable title for PC, Mac, and Linux, though there are plans to create some sort of tangible items like cloth maps.

On a personal note, I'm glad to see Garriott return to the role-playing roots. For years I've wanted an Ultima Online sequel, and after years of waiting it appears I may finally have the spiritual successor. Though in no way is it related to Garriott's famed series, it does contain several intriguing elements from it. With open-ended freedom and choice, player housing, PvP, and an online world, it looks like Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues could finally be the RPG I've been waiting for.

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