Ultima Creator Richard Garriott Looks to Kickstart an Ambitious RPG

Paul Lilly

With a little help (and a lot of cash) from nostalgiac gamers, Lord British will hop back into the RPG saddle.

It's been a long time since I played an Ultima game. In fact, Ultima VI: The False Prophet was the last in the franchise that I logged any significant time with (anyone remember typing in "spam spam spam humbug" to access the cheat menu?), though there have been several follow-up titles since then. A series of events led Ultima creator Richard Garriott to sell the rights of the franchise to Electronic Arts and ultimately separate himself from the company, though not from the world of RPGs. Provided his Kickstarter campaign can raise $1 million -- and it likely will -- the man known as Lord British will again look to shake up the RPG universe.

Gariott in 2009 formed a new video game development and publishing company called Portalarium, and it's through that venture that he's looking to fund a game called Shroud of the Avatar: Forksaken Virtues.

"With Shroud of the Avatar, Richard and his team will again reinvent the classic fantasy role-playing experience," the Kickstarter campaign explains. "Using state-of-the-art tools and technology, the game will focus on what made his seminal Ultima Series great. Once players are introduced to the game, they will discover their own story woven into the immersive world and lore surrounding them. Players may choose to follow the life of the adventurer or, if they prefer, focus on exploration and discovery. Players may even choose the life of a homesteader; either nestled within the safety of the settled lands, or on the dangerous but potentially lucrative frontier. The world is full of opportunities and challenges!"

Like the Ultima titles, Shroud of the Avatar will utilize psychological profiling for character creation. Players are free to choose their own path, but must live with the consequences. It will feature a fully interactive virtual world, a deep storyline, physical game components, and multiple episodes.

Five episodes to be exact, each one twice as large as the previous, Garrett told Forbes . It will also have both online and offline components.

The Kickstarter campaign runs until April 7.

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