In a time when role playing games were solely the territory of teenagers dressed in fantasy costumes rolling dice on their custom made game board, the 80’s, one video game changed the world, Ultima. The first video game to bring together all of the best aspects of the role playing game tradition, rolling them into electronic form.
Electronic Arts and BioWare have teamed up to bring back that legend, giving rise to Ultima Forever. The modern day free2play interpretation of Origin Software’s ‘Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar’.
Initially to be released on PC and iPad the game will be fully cross platform and multi-player, allowing PC and iPad players to mingle. The public beta is currently available on Ultima Forever’s homepage, you will need to have an EA Origins account handy to complete the sign up.
BioWare’s Mythic studio are producing the game, formerly Mythic Entertainment they have a rich history of producing quality RPG’s. Titles in their back-catelogue include Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning and Dark Age of Camelot.
Starting with Ultima IV, one of the older Ultima games, as the foundation for Ultima Forever may a strange starting point, it does set the bar low. It is does however convert very well to browser based gaming.
The graphics engine for Ultima Forever will steer clear of 3D rendering, instead opting for a top-down isometric view, with hand-painted backgrounds and 3D characters. According to BioWare’s Paul Barnett, “It plays fast, it’s clicky, but the combat’s fluid and fun rather than tactical and mind-numbing. The character progression is soft with a smooth up ramp… You’re going to get in conversation trees which are much more like you would get in Dragon Age.”
From the Ultima Forever website “The first great Western RPG has been lovingly restored in Ultima Forever – return to the Ultima series in BioWare’s new cross-platform action RPG. Accept the challenge from Lady British and save the land of Britannia. Play as the Fighter or the Mage and travel alone or with friends, restore virtue and become the Avatar!”
For those of us that dedicated many hours of our young lives to exploring the land of Britannia, or the new generation curious about where it all began, now there is Ultima Forever.
Reference: Ultima Forever