I must confess, I largely stopped playing Ultima VII after I posted the last RPG Journal so that I could concentrate on other games (I finished Gabriel Knight), but I picked it up again a couple of days ago. The problem with taking time off from an RPG is that when I go back to it, I’ve kinda forgotten what I was doing. All I remembered was that I planned to go to Buccaneer’s Den to cheat at gambling and make a bunch of money, which I did. That relieved the money problems, and I’ve been able to spend time building up my characters. Next, I plan to take on the Forge of Virtue side quest, since that’s supposed to make the rest of the game even easier.
In other news, it was revealed at Comic-Con that BioWare Mystic was developing a free-to-play online remake of Ultima IV, titled Ultima Forever: Quest of the Avatar. It’s currently in closed beta, and is scheduled to be released for PC and iOS later this year. I don’t know all the details, but apparently it’s not an MMO, and the graphics are a mix of 2D backgrounds with 3D characters. Also, most of the game is supposed to be available for free, with more being added to the game based on how much players are willing to pay (similar to a Kickstarter campaign).
The aim seems to be to make an Ultima game that’s more accessible to casual players. I can imagine such an idea putting off hardcore fans (“casual” is almost like an obscene word to gamers these days), but really, it sounds like they’re making it for someone like me. Despite my fascination with the series, I’ve never beaten an Ultima game without dependance on a walkthrough. Many of them are hopelessly archaic today, and even Ultima IV, as groundbreaking as it was, is very alienating compared with modern game design.
I don’t know if I’ll dive into Ultima Forever when it’s released (that will depend on certain circumstances), but needless to say, it has my attention, and I’m looking forward to learning more about it.
Official website: ultimaforever.com