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Default Ultima IX - Plot Summary Documents

June 17th, 2011, 09:54
Ultima Aiera has more Ultima design docs with 26 pages of documentation on "Ed del Castillo’s revisions to the plot of Ultima 9".
More information.

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June 17th, 2011, 09:54
Somehow, I don't like the original plot much more than the one in the finished game. Still too linear. (And I just don't buy it that the Avatar and the Guardian are the same person. This is BS.)
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June 17th, 2011, 14:32
Yeah, that was awful. In the Bob White plot, it wasn't that way. Reading it, it was still fairly linear, but seems like it would have been a ton better.

At least according to the Wikipedia entry on Ultima 9, it was del Castillo that wanted to fully exploit the possibilities of the new 3D engine that Origin were working with; the third-person perspective of the game can evidently be traced back to him.
And this is why I don't like him the most.

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June 17th, 2011, 14:38
It reads like it was written by a ten year old. It's also pretty thin on plot for a plot document.
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June 17th, 2011, 18:21
Originally Posted by ManWhoJaped View Post
It reads like it was written by a ten year old. It's also pretty thin on plot for a plot document.
That is because he came from the Command & Conquer series. His rapport with the Ultima fans at the time was awful. At one point when fans expressed dismay that a lot of the little interactive features with the world like baking bread were being removed he said 'Ultima is not about baking bread, it's about rescuing the princess and slaying a dragon'.

These are the kinds of people EA installs on their RPG projects to try to make them accessible for the masses, people who say things like the above or 'When you push a button something awesome has to happen!'
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June 17th, 2011, 20:07
At one point when fans expressed dismay that a lot of the little interactive features with the world like baking bread were being removed he said 'Ultima is not about baking bread, it's about rescuing the princess and slaying a dragon'.
I remember that. Or I think it was him - I read an interview that was talking about how things like baking bread was a distraction. I mean, on the one hand, I kinda agree - I didn't spend much time baking bread in Ultima VII. I think I forged one sword. But the endearing part of Ultima IV - Ultima VII for me was the amount of attention to detail that made the world come alive.

He went on and said some other things about Rise of the Argonauts and his approach to RPGs which really pissed me off, too. Basically convinced me that the guy doesn't really want to make RPGs, he wants to make action games and call them RPGs. It's like he can't even wrap his brain around what makes an RPG tick in the minds of the real fans.

Unfortunately these days, too many designers employed by the big publishers and the studios that make games for them are cut from the same cloth. So I guess they've found new fans to replace us.
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June 17th, 2011, 20:14
Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
At one point when fans expressed dismay that a lot of the little interactive features with the world like baking bread were being removed he said 'Ultima is not about baking bread, it's about rescuing the princess and slaying a dragon'.
He might have been hailing Blizzard's action-RPGs quite a lot.

Someone who says this just doesn't understand what literature - good stories ! - are REALLY about.

But given the fact that he came from the C&C area, what he says actually makes some sort of sense. Because C&C wasn't about baking bread, too.

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June 17th, 2011, 23:40
"You slay the dragon and rescue the princess and stuff. No, wait, princess saves YOU. And she's a thief. "

Is a perfect summary for that whole document, and keeps true to the guy's writing style.

I can see why companies don't want to pay big bucks to make a game and cut corners and simplify game mechanics to save money, but it's surprising how many people making relatively big budget games seem to be totally incompetent.
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June 18th, 2011, 01:18
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Yeah, that was awful. In the Bob White plot, it wasn't that way.
This document is rather poorly written (please note however that in the end it is just a summary, and not a full blown "plot development doc").

But… this is still mostly the Bob White plot.

The only major differences between this and the Bob White plot are the parts you get to play as Shamino/Raven/Lord British (which was a not too subtle way to compensate for the lack of a party) and the ending (which dropped the Armageddon bit for the Avatar sacrificing himself to save Britannia).

There were far more differences in the final game's plot that there are between the Bob White/Del Castillo one.

I also feel both of these iterations might have been less linear than the summaries make it out to be, but it's hard to tell without a full design doc to look at.

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June 18th, 2011, 18:39
It may seem like only minor differences but endings can make or break a story for me. This was the end of the trilogy of trilogies. People waited years for this and they had to know it was very likely the last single player Ultima since they had so much difficulty even getting it made.

In my opinion, the Bob White plot had a really epic feel and was a good payoff to having invested years in the world of Ultima. The Del Castillo end and the one that ultimately made it to the final game felt like a trite, amateurish twist in comparison and didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. The cut scenes that they ending up keeping also seem to make more sense within the ending of the Bob White plot.
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June 18th, 2011, 18:52
Oh the ending IS a major difference - but I just don't see anything particularily bad about the whole "Avatar sacrifices his life to destroy the Guardian" bit. It's all a matter of execution in the end - and it's hardly something we can judge from short summaries.

The Bob White version had a dark gritty and epic feel, this is true (and it is quite obviously not present in the final game) - but I feel it is still there in the Del Castillo revamp even if it ends on a more positive note.

And truly there is no way in hell the original ending would have sited well with many fans - it basically ended by destroying Britannia and killing both Lord British and the Avatar. This would have lead to fan outrage just as much as the final game did.

That being said I do find somewhat ironic that the original apolyptic ending was made at a time where there was little doubt there would have been a game after that. THe Ultima X that would have been made about this version would really have been a new beginning in every sense of the world.

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June 20th, 2011, 17:45
Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
It may seem like only minor differences but endings can make or break a story for me.
Agree 100%. The endings of BG1 and IWD1 really were let downs for me. Still love the games, but I've never gone back to play IWD1 and probably the only reason I went back to BG1 was that since BG2 continued the story and had such an excellent ending.

Originally Posted by Sergorn View Post
Oh the ending IS a major difference - but I just don't see anything particularily bad about the whole "Avatar sacrifices his life to destroy the Guardian" bit. It's all a matter of execution in the end - and it's hardly something we can judge from short summaries.
Agree 100%. In fact, I think that to properly end the series, the Avatar HAD to sacrifice himself.

And truly there is no way in hell the original ending would have sited well with many fans - it basically ended by destroying Britannia and killing both Lord British and the Avatar. This would have lead to fan outrage just as much as the final game did.
I don't know. Certainly some fans would have been up in arms, but since it was billed as the last installment anyway, I think a lot would have embraced the finality of it all.

That being said I do find somewhat ironic that the original apolyptic ending was made at a time where there was little doubt there would have been a game after that. THe Ultima X that would have been made about this version would really have been a new beginning in every sense of the world.

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As I said above I thought Ultima IX had always been billed as the final installment. What Ultima X are you talking about?

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June 20th, 2011, 18:48
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
As I said above I thought Ultima IX had always been billed as the final installment. What Ultima X are you talking about?
Ultima IX never was meant as the final instalment, at least not when it begun development. It was meant to close the chapter on the Avatar and Britannia but in no way to bring a definitive end to the series.

Back in 1996 when they were still working on the Bob White version (it was due for spring 1997), Richard Garriott talked repetedly of Ultima X and how it would mark a new beginning for the series (since U9 would have ended with Skara Brae flotting in search of a new world, presumably on this new world). I remember him as well mentionning that after Ultima X they would drop numerals and have "proper" titles.

Trully I don't think anyone back in the mid-90 would ever imagined that Ultima IX would be the last episode of Ultima and everyone probably expected it have many more episode.

Then of course Ultima Online came and all went to hell - and by the time Ultima IX came out OSI had been turned into an online game company and it was clear U9 would be the last game in the series proper (as a matter of fact it's almost a miracle we did get - the sole reason it didn't go down the drain like all the other SP Origin IP is because EA thought Ascension would help bringing new players to UO), even if they tried an online sequel later.

But basically - as crazy as it sounds, when they did imagined this apocalyptic ending for Ultima IX… they had every intent on continuing the Ultima series beyond that.

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June 20th, 2011, 19:11
Are you talking about this Ultima X?

I remember reading about it and thinking why? They already had Ultima Online, why turn the singleplayer version into another MMO. I guess they couldn't answer that question either since it was never made.

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June 20th, 2011, 19:14
No, he's talking about something else. I actually was annoyed that Ultima X didn't get made. I had played UO when it came out, loved it, then learned to hate it as my just graduated from college butt was getting destroyed by all the 15 year olds on summer vacation. The idea of being able to play online with friends if you wanted, but solo without worrying about PvP, plus having a real goal in mind instead of just endless grinding, sounded pretty good! And I actually had time back then.

IIRC, it got axed because they were paranoid about cannibalizing their UO player base. Of course, WoW just decimated it anyway.

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June 20th, 2011, 22:24
Different Ultima X aye. There was of course nothing ever started on any other Ultima X version, but Garriott and OSI already had ideas for continuing the series. You gotta consider that back when they started development of Ultima IX… they didn't expected it to last for half a decade.

Odyssey was started after UO2's cancellation. It had really nothing to do with UO - and was designed from the get go to be a something different. It actually sounded very interesting. The background felt a tad rough around the edge but the concept was sound. It was basically a huge online version of Ultima IV, where players had to follow the path of the Avatar to join the Avatar in his internal struggle against the Guardian. It was somewhat similar to the original X/Tabula Rasa concept (that is before it turned into WoW with Guns) in that it was to mostly focus on deeply ploted quest with a focus on virtue choices that you could play either solo or with a small group of friend. Combat was to be more active as well rather the usual MMO "combat sandwich".

The game looked really good and frankly more interesting that most MMO.

IIRC, it got axed because they were paranoid about cannibalizing their UO player base.
Nope. You're confusing it with Ultima Online 2 (aka "Ultima Worlds Online: Origin") which was canned overnight because the executives at EA suddenly feared that it would drive away all the UO customers.

UXO was conceived as something very different from UO for the purpose of bringing new players and hopefully have UO players play both (they had already planned a special discount for those who'd have subscrited to both).

The reason it was cancelled is more economical.

EA had planned the closure of OSI at the end of March 2004 (end of fiscal year and all) to focus all their team in Redwood and Ultima X was to be released before that. But it got behind (though not much, it was supposedly in a near beta state) and the game was not ready by then. Had it been ready, things would most likely have gone smoothly with Origin closing and the live team taking over at Redwood.

But it was not. So they offered the dev team to move to Redwood and continue work there. Basically: none of them went as they refused for the most part to live from Austin, so they left EA/Origin for new endeavours. Still EA believed in the game - so they appointed a new producer and they also closed Earth&Beyond, moving its dev team to take over UXO. But the E&B was pissed and didn't want to do UXO do most of them left EA as well.

So basically EA was left with an incomplete game and no available team to work on it - and rather than spending more money to bring a whole new team of people not even remotely familiar with the game (and which most likely would have lead to a revamp of the game if not in a restart in any case), they decided to pull the plug on it.

Shame, but different situation than the UO2 one.

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