If you grew up playing games on the Commodore 64 and, later down the line, 286/386/486 IBM compatible PCs, there's a good chance you spent many hours serving Lord British, the mostly unkillable ruler of Britannia (save for an incident during an Ultima Online beta test).
Well this stinks. Earlier this week it was being reported that Lord British himself (aka Richard Garriott) was having "discussions at very high levels with Electronics Arts" about access to the Ultima property. That tidbit popped up on Eurogamer, and if you're an Ultima fan, the thought of Garriott taking the reigns of Ultima Online would have been a sweet holiday surprise. The only problem is, no such discussions took place, at least not recently.
For some of us, being forced to sit in front of a computer at work is the ultimate drag. It’s not the hardware that bums us out. It’s the outright refusal of our boss and IT department to let us install the games we love on our office rig for a little bit of pew-pew at break time. Sure, you could bring along a netbook or laptop with you everyday to solve the problem, but that extra weight’s not the sort of thing that’s welcome on anyone’s daily commute. Instead, we recommend that you scratch your gaming itch by indulging in Lord of Ultima, our Chrome Web App of the Week.
Ultima creator and one-time Tabula Rasa big man Richard “Lord British” Garriott may have moonwalked right out of the gaming industry, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be phoning home after his geosynchronous jaunt. In an interview with GameDaily, Garriott spoke of his intention to give game development another shot – but only after raising the bar for mid-life crises a few notches higher.
“Do I have a plan that I can tell you now? No. I'm still finishing my space flight. I am literally still in the middle of NASA and ESA medical experiments. I am literally still in the middle of my earth observation analysis, as well as the particle crystal growth stuff we're wrapping up. And that's going to take me some weeks and months to wrap up,” Garriott said.
“But, some day in the future, it's hard not to assume I will get back into gaming. I still personally believe I have lots of great ideas and desire to build games. It's just today, it's space.”
Garriott also mentioned that he might be interested in developing a new Ultima title – something we’d be mighty okay with.
You won't find Lord British ruling over Britannia anymore, and after doing all that he could for the Ultima universe, Richard Garriott has started exploring ours. Literally. Garriott blasted off into space today in the Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft mounted on a three-stage rocket. The $30 million flight ticket buys Garriot a 10-day excursion to the International Space Station (ISS).
While he might be the first virtual Lord to blast into space, he isn't the first in this family. That distinction belongs to Richard's father, Owen Garriott, who spent three months on a U.S. space station back in 1973, almost a decade before the first Ultima game saw store shelves. Owen, now 77, will support his 47-year-old son from mission control in Moscow.
Richard won't be collecting runes in space, but he doesn't plan to sit idly by, either. To help pay back companies who he says have contributed a "meaningful percentage" towards the ticket price, Garriott plans to carry out an experiment on behalf of the contributors, which involves protein crystal growth.