Ultima Remake Rumors Continue to Swirl

Ultima Remake Rumors Continue to Swirl

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Electronic Arts is throwing DMCA takedown notices at sites hosting free versions of Ultima 4, fueling rumors that a real, Mythic-made remake is in the works.

It's been 14 years since the good folks at Origin and EA gave permission to a few websites to give away the Computer Gaming World CD version of the 1985 classic Ultima 4, so it seems a little odd that the company would suddenly starting passing around takedown notices to several of the sites hosting the game. Yet the Flash-based versions at Master System 8 and Phi Psi Software are both gone, as are direct download links to the DOS-based edition at xu4 and Ultima Aiera.

Nobody knows exactly why, but as Ultima Aiera explained, EA is well within its rights to insist that the freebies be pulled. The Ultima 4 giveaway was completely legit but the game was never actually released to the public domain; it was instead more of a "gesture of goodwill." EA still holds the copyright and can drop the hammer on sites giving away the game whenever it wants. And drop the hammer it has.

Ultima 4 has been freely available for as long as Duke Nukem Forever has been in development, so it's pretty clear that something has lit a fire under EA. One possible explanation making the rounds is that an Ultima 4 remake is in the works. Paul Barnett, the creative director at EA-owned Mythic Entertainment, has tweeted a couple of times about "secret projects" at the studio and a job posting for a "web architect" for an unnamed EA MMO went up on Gamasutra yesterday.

It's thin, it's very thin, but it makes a lot more sense than the alternative, which is that EA is just in a mood.

via: Slashdot

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EA IS in a mood, The mood for a re-release!
*fingers crossed*

Love the "Apple II 64K Required" sticker on the front. I wonder what the requirements were for Ultima I..

With Richard Garriot talking about going back to single player game design and such, I am wondering if perhaps EA is simply planning on selling him the franchise back, at least as
far as the single player rights go.

I'm not sure, but I think Alakabeth [SP] which is like "Ultima 0" ran on a Vic 20. Not sure about Ultima I, because I played the games up to V on a Commodore 64. Ultima VI was the first one I played on a PC. I remember having to do quite a bit to get a 386 for Ultima VII by release day and then hating their "Voodoo Memory Management". This game was a massive double header with "Wizardry: Crusaders Of The Dark Savant". :)

At any rate I'm rambling, I'm guessing the earliest requirements are 20k, but I could be wrong.

HankMan:
EA IS in a mood, The mood for a re-release!
*fingers crossed*

*pokes the Wing Commander series for EA*

Ultima remake? Sounds interesting enough, but what are they going to do with it? Isn't the original game ancient in design when compared to modern day RPGs? Is it even possible to do an even remotely faithful remake? It sounds like they're just planning to use the brand name to sell whatever it is they're cooking up.

Speaking of, is Ultima playable for someone who didn't grow up back in the days when it was hot sh*t? I'm kind of interested in playing it just for the sake of seeing what it's like, but I doubt I'll even be able to enjoy it for that...

Should I be worried?
I should be worried shouldn't I?

Littaly:
Ultima remake? Sounds interesting enough, but what are they going to do with it? Isn't the original game ancient in design when compared to modern day RPGs? Is it even possible to do an even remotely faithful remake? It sounds like they're just planning to use the brand name to sell whatever it is they're cooking up.

Speaking of, is Ultima playable for someone who didn't grow up back in the days when it was hot sh*t? I'm kind of interested in playing it just for the sake of seeing what it's like, but I doubt I'll even be able to enjoy it for that...

Well, in case you didn't know this little tidbit, the Ultima series was the first that I know of to use daily schedules for everyone's day/night and week cycles. It didn't really come back into style until either Morrowind or Oblivion.

Sweet I would buy a SP Ultima game!

Littaly:
Ultima remake? Sounds interesting enough, but what are they going to do with it? Isn't the original game ancient in design when compared to modern day RPGs? Is it even possible to do an even remotely faithful remake? It sounds like they're just planning to use the brand name to sell whatever it is they're cooking up.

You'd be surprised how absolutely little RPGs or games in general have changed.
When it all comes down to it, it's just numbers. Melee Attack. Range Attack. Magic Ranged. Magic Area of Effect, etcetera. Go to towns, talk to people, recruit new people, mix potions together, kill guys for XP and gold, etcetera.

Ultima IV was one of the rare RPGs where the real goal of the game was not killing the main bad guy, but rather self-enlightenment.

Oddly enough I prefer it to the later games. A lot of people seem to like Ultima VII, but that game always struck me as odd. Like the PC can go and bake bread, that sort of thing. But man, I'm the Avatar! Avatar doesn't bake bread.

genuinely hope it doesn't end up a Dragon Age 2 set in Britannia

Therumancer:
With Richard Garriot talking about going back to single player game design and such, I am wondering if perhaps EA is simply planning on selling him the franchise back, at least as
far as the single player rights go.

Actually, he is into social gaming now.

http://www.portalarium.com/

I never played Ultima games, im kinda sad about that. I mean, i hear these great things about them, but im spoiled by modern games and if i tried one of them today i know i just wouldn't see the beauty. A remake or a new game in the series sounds great to me.

If they're making another ultima MMO, why does it hurt that ultima 4 is up?

Littaly:
Ultima remake? Sounds interesting enough, but what are they going to do with it? Isn't the original game ancient in design when compared to modern day RPGs? Is it even possible to do an even remotely faithful remake? It sounds like they're just planning to use the brand name to sell whatever it is they're cooking up.

Speaking of, is Ultima playable for someone who didn't grow up back in the days when it was hot sh*t? I'm kind of interested in playing it just for the sake of seeing what it's like, but I doubt I'll even be able to enjoy it for that...

Things were certainly different back then. If you want to start with The first Ultima "Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness" i'm sure you can find the DOS version around somewhere. That's likely the easiest to emulate given the stability of Dos Box (a dos emulator, if you didn't know).

Besides that, you're going to need to put yourself in the old school mindset. Computers didn't have enough memory back then to actually track quests, so if you're playing make sure you keep a notebook by your computer. You'll also want to find a copy of the manual online somewhere and give it a read.

Besides that, there are some decidedly oldschool design decisions. For instance, it features "food". Every time you take a step you consume one food. If you run out of food, you die, game over.

If you can deal with this you're in for a real blast from the past!

That sounds great. As i have not played any Ultima game yet.

I'd love to see ultima 6and ultima underworld remade.Awesome.

damn, I only discovered the Ultima IV flash version a few weeks back.

I played II, III, and V but missed IV back when it was first released (I was 13 and had no money). I think most of the series came out in a compilation pack many years ago (just looked it up on amazon for $40), but never really liked the top-down versions that came later in the series.

The Spoony One would probably interested in this since he's doing an Ultima Retrospective right now

I don't think that an Ultima remake could survive in this day and age of gaming. I've played most of the Ultima games and found them to be right good fun, but I don't think that gamers of this generation would find a game like Ultima particularly entertaining. I would love to see a remake but in all truth and reality, I don' think that it would turn much of a profit if any.

I heard a lot of good things about the Ultima series. That said, I have little confidence that a game such as this can be faithfully remade. The RPGs of old were absolutely massive, whereas the modern obsession over "uber graphics" tends to make the creation of vast worlds prohibitively expensive.

Plus, as fans of the series can attest to, a part of the Ultima experience were the various additions that came with the game, particularly the cloth map, that sparked the imagination and excited the player even before he actually started playing:

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Considering how bare boned retail releases tend to be nowadays, it is almost certain that this aspect would go completely ignored.

But anyway, if there is any truth in the rumours of a new Ultima project, it is most likely a brand new entry or even some sort of reboot (beacuse almost everything gets a reboot nowadays). Of course, whether or not that would be better or worse than a Ultima IV remake is left for each individual himself/herself to decide.

Or wait. Considering this rumour is related to a "unannounced EA MMO", it is more likely to be some sort of Ultima Online title. And considering the MMO craze, that wouldn't suprise me in the slightest.

Double post in order to bypass the post bug.

Ahhh .. the games of old (basically anything from Origin) used to have all sorts of goodies and real manuals in them as a matter of course instead of a black and white pdf file that you have to print out yourself.

Jaeger_CDN:
Ahhh .. the games of old (basically anything from Origin) used to have all sorts of goodies and real manuals in them as a matter of course instead of a black and white pdf file that you have to print out yourself.

From Wing Commander 3.
http://download.wcnews.com/files/manuals/Wing%20Commander%20III%20-%20Warbirds.pdf
I miss having those in the box now... It's a bit disappointing to buy a game and receive the game only. (It sounds wrong/spoiled, but I guess it did make a bit of difference)

Therumancer:
I am wondering if perhaps EA is simply planning on selling him the franchise back, at least as far as the single player rights go.

You may want to block your ears, ladies and gentlemen.
...
...eeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Ultima coming back! Ultima without EA! Ultima as done by LB himseeeeeelf!
It's possible that, as Ultima Online has been losing subscriptions over the years (as of 2008 it held less than a peeny 0.6% of all subscriptions - in comparison, EVE has 1.5 % subscription and WoW has a little over 62%), EA could be looking to offload the trademark they have on the Ultima series. As the only person who could use it was Richard Garriott (he owns the rights to Lord British and has access to the rights to several other dev-based characters like Shamino and Tseramed), he would be the first one they'd approach.

Of course, this is just speculation. I know nothing but the sheer awesome that would be Origin being able to come back together and recreate worlds.

... so that's why Phi Psi was giving me a 404 last night. Pity ...
Wish I had downloaded it when I had the chance. Oh well. I love this game, I wish I could actually play it 9_9

Also, lolcaptcha
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Tom Phoenix:
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*starts having a seizure from the nostalgia rush*

I was going to take a photo of my old Ultima 3 box complete with the map, manuals and spellbooks but the resident goblins seem to have eaten it along with my Mechwarrior II CD. Time to go hunting for those damn goblins that keep hoarding things I want to find.

I would love a remake of Ultima 6. I love that game.

Littaly:
Ultima remake? Sounds interesting enough, but what are they going to do with it? Isn't the original game ancient in design when compared to modern day RPGs? Is it even possible to do an even remotely faithful remake? It sounds like they're just planning to use the brand name to sell whatever it is they're cooking up.

Speaking of, is Ultima playable for someone who didn't grow up back in the days when it was hot sh*t? I'm kind of interested in playing it just for the sake of seeing what it's like, but I doubt I'll even be able to enjoy it for that...

You can run the Ultima series on Dosbox, a Dos emulator.

 

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