ultima

Ember by N-Fusion Interactive – A game inspired by Ultima

Ultima isn’t just inspiring people on the desktop, there are big fans of the game on the tablet platform as well. I came across this yesterday and it looks like a whole lot of fun. It’s an RPG called Ember and the developer says one of the main inspirations was Ultima VII.

The game is scheduled to come out later this year, but the screenshots look really impressive and the gameplay sounds outstanding. There is supposed to be full interactivity, day and night cycles, a complete skill tree, 70 quests and even crafting. Is this pocket SotA?

I will have to keep an eye on this one. If it’s anything like the Ultima series, I will have to play it. I’m sure I can fall down a mine shaft, get mauled by a bear and get stabbed in the backside in a portable game just as easily as I can in a full size one!

The top inspiration is a very old and classic PC game that we hold near and dear to us – Ultima VII: The Black Gate. Ultima VII came out in 1992 and was built to run on computers with less RAM and processing power than most of today’s modern kitchen appliances! Despite that, the game is regarded as one of the finest RPGs with its deep story, interesting characters, and fully functional world. In fact, this interactivity pertains to one of Ember‘s main pillars: to maintain a fully-simulated RPG world with day and night cycles, lively NPCs with daily schedules, and tons of responsive objects that would behave as a player would expect of them. We figured if this level of interaction could be achieved on a computer with 4 MB of RAM, then we should be able to do it on a tablet!

N-Fusion and 505’s Ember is Totally Going to be the Next Ultima
The Story of Ember

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Kickstarter for Underworld Ascendant is on Now!

A new Kickstarter project has come up and I think it’s well worth supporting. I’m a huge fan of the Ultima series and am a current backer of Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues which is turning into an awesome game with great features and lots of exciting content. I supported that project over a year ago and we are now at the state where the Early Access edition is up and running nearly 24×7.

The fun continues as a new team is poised to resurrect Ultima Underworld. And while this is being done by a different team than Shroud of the Avatar, they worked together on Ultima and have plans to have some tie-ins with each other. This will be akin to the original Ultima series in that it will be a true adventure game and dedicate itself to being an MMO.

I’m really excited about this project and have already pledged my support. If you’re an adventure fan you should check it out and put in a few dollars. The game will be severely discount during Kickstarter. The game looks fun and the Otherside Entertainment team certainly knows what their doing.

In 1992, Ultima Underworld changed the rules of what a fantasy RPG could be. It introduced the concept of 3D immersion, a player-authored experience, and a richly dynamic world to explore. Its influence led to a whole generation of games such as Thief, Deus Ex, BioShock, Skyrim, and Dragon Age.

Underworld has been hidden away in the deepest vaults of its publisher for two decades. Only now have the original creators unchained the franchise, freeing it to innovate yet again.

Backing the game grants you unprecedented front row access to the creation of the next epoch of this storied masterpiece, Underworld Ascendant. With your help, here’s a glimpse at what we can together build:

  • Exquisitely Realized Underworld – Plunge into The Stygian Abyss: dark, ripe with dangers, full of ancient secrets to discover. A vast subterranean fantasy world made startlingly real and alive.
  • Dynamic Factions – Become embroiled in an epic plot, as rival factions vie for dominance in struggles that ebb and flow across The Stygian Abyss. Your choices will alter the outcome in subtle and dramatic ways. 
  • Improvisation Engine – Delight in player-authored gameplay taken to a whole new level, with a suite of technologies that empower you to solve challenges with astonishing ingenuity. Be the ‘MacGyver’ of a fantasy world. 
  • Hero to Call Your Own – Jump right in as a Fighter, Thief or Mage. Then as your Avatar grows, freely mix and match across any skills to develop a unique hero, tailored to your style of play.
  • Pushing Boundaries – Stretch Goals will innovate on co-op play with a friend; letting you build your own corner of The Stygian Abyss; and more.

Underworld Ascendant by OtherSide Entertainment

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Ultima Forever–Quest for the Avatar

There is a lot of renewed interest in Ultima these days. We’ve seen a couple of recreations of the classic games and now we have a brand new version coming to iOS devices, especially the iPad. I’ve been longing for Ultima to make an appearance ever since I bought my first iPad three years ago. It seemed the perfect platform, but alas, neither Electronic Arts nor Lord British was able to make it happen. Until now.

The long wait is nearly over as Ultima Forever – Quest for the Avatar has been spotted in the Canadian App Store and hopefully that means a worldwide release is imminent.

Normally I shy away from "free" games especially from studios like EA and Gameloft. Their Freemium games come riddled with bugs, are light on content and heavy on asking for handouts in the form of real money to progress through the game. I’d rather buy the game and put an end to all this micro transaction business.

But this is Ultima and I’m willing to take a risk. There is an in-app purchase of keys for $1.99, but I don’t know how frequently you will need to go back to the well to replenish those. Buying two sets of those still makes this a $4 game, which sounds great to me.

The screenshots look very good and with a download size of nearly 1GB, it appears they put some time and effort into the visuals.

I can’t wait to get my hands on this release, just to try it out. I really hope EA has balanced the game play without getting manically greedy. Again, I’m more than willing to pay for the game instead of getting it for free and buying these keys.

Canada has their copy, the rest of us will just have to wait and see when we can get ours.

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Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/ultima-forever-quest-for-avatar/id591541650?mt=8#

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The entire Ultima Collection is On Sale for 60% off at GOG.com (Good Old Games) – 3 Days Only!!

I just noticed this. If you go to Good Old Games – gog.com all the Ultima games are on sale for 60% off – $2.39. This includes all the bundles such as Ultima 1-2-3, Ultima 4-5-6, Ultima Underworlds 1+2, Ultima 7 The Complete Edition, Ultima 8 Gold Edition and Ultima 9: Ascension.

You could walk away with the entire Ultima Collection for less than $15! That is pretty spectacular. I’ve been meaning to get this just to relive some memories and now the entire collection is on sale! Huzzah!!

Ultima Collection on GOG.com

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Richard Garriott is back with Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

For someone who played the original Ultima games while Lord British was in control this is exceptionally exciting news. Richard Garriott is at the helm of a new game, Shroud of the Avatar, which he’s calling the true predecessor to Ultima. The gameplay sounds complex and layered. Not only is it an RPG, but a Sim as well. There may be some tinges of Minecraft in there. Maybe some Monopoly? You slay the monster and live in the world. You look for riches and build an economy. It sounds like a lot more than just a simple adventure game.

Garriott has pulled together a team to develop and publish the game himself. He’s not tying this to one of the established game publishers. And that’s where Kickstarter comes in. Garriott is looking for start up capital and interest. Pledge some money, get some swag, get the game and maybe even meet the man himself. The hard part is deciding what cool stuff you want to get for your donation level.

The game is scheduled for an alpha/beta release in December of 2013. Developer blogs should be starting in April 2013. Artist renderings/screenshots are here today. No doubt, this project is in motion and I want to be a part of it. It’s been decades since I played Ultima and I’ve been waiting for someone to come out with Ultima for the iPad, but it just hasn’t come around. Come on EA! It’s a damn shame it’s taken this long, but who better to bring it to the public than the original man himself?

There are obviously issues with EA so it can’t be a true part of the Ultima series, but all the game elements will be there. The game sounds massive and there are 5 parts scheduled each one adding more space and items to the world.

Check out the story below to read more from Forbes and then check out the Kickerstarter page. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make a donation.

Richard Garriott’s ‘Shroud Of The Avatar: Forsaken Virtues’ Launches On Kickstarter
Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues on Kickstarter
Website: shroudoftheavatar.com

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