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-   -   Ultima VIII - The Lost Vale & Arthurian Interview (https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19702)

Myrthos March 4th, 2013 16:33

Ultima VIII - The Lost Vale & Arthurian Interview
Gamebanshee has an interview with Origin Systems' Sheri Graner Ray about the cancelled games The Lost Vale and Arthurian.

GB: What circumstances led to Ultima VIII: The Lost Vale being cancelled despite the fact that the expansion pack had actually gone gold? While Ultima VIII hadn't met sales expectations, couldn't it have been packaged in the eventual Gold Edition to make that bundle pack more enticing?

Sheri: Honestly, it was directly due to a lack of sales. Back then you couldn't do anything as DLC, it had to have a box and go on a shelf with all the commensurate marketing dollars added to it. It came down to straight numbers. If the same percentage of U8 players bought the add-on as U7 and U7.5 players bought THOSE add-ons, it simply didn't justify the cost of manufacturing and distributing the U8 add on.

Also at that time Ultima 9 was beginning, as was "behind closed doors" discussions for Ultima Online. Crusader was in full production and so was Wing Commander 3 - complete with live action. On top of all that EA was starting to make noise about a cut back in headcount for ORIGIN.

So it's just safe to say the company's attention had already moved on from Ultima 8, which was seen as a less than successful chapter in Ultima history. Thus, there was no enthusiasm for Lost Vale.

GB: Beyond a purely sales-driven decision, do you feel that there was anything inherently wrong with the add-on that could have played a role in the cancellation decision? How was the expansion pack received internally prior to going gold?

Sheri: I don't think so. It fit within the theme of U8, added to the story, answered some questions and was met with approval from the QA team.
More information.

blatantninja March 4th, 2013 16:33

Interesting she says she has the entire design document still. Would be fun to read that.

Bedwyr March 4th, 2013 17:56


Originally Posted by blatantninja (Post 1061186834)
Interesting she says she has the entire design document still. Would be fun to read that.

Would be a good catch for the Origin Museum.

Bedwyr March 4th, 2013 18:33

The conversation after the article focuses on retaining source or gold-master copies back in the day. I just don't think studios were really focused on that in the 90s. Software development then was kind of like how Architecture has been over most of human history where you just raze over the old and build the new 'cause that's how you roll.

GhanBuriGhan March 4th, 2013 18:44

Hah - if they still find a copy they could sell it on GOG and make a pretty penny, I'm sure.

blatantninja March 4th, 2013 19:12

I find it strange though that, as mentioned in the article, they already had a planned Gold edition of U8 coming out, but not finished, (which I believe included the speech packa s well as the patches), and no thought was given to tossing in the Lost Vail to make the package more appealing. Seems like a no brainer, with little to no cost.

Hindukönig March 5th, 2013 13:04

You already get the "Lost Vale design documents" if you buy Ultima VIII on gog.com. They are 15mb big.

blatantninja March 5th, 2013 14:29

I was referring to the Aurthian Legends design docs.

Hindukönig March 5th, 2013 14:32


EvilManagedCare March 5th, 2013 16:07

I enjoy interviews like these, when the great game companies from the golden ages give the behind the scenes. That said, it would have sucked working those 12 hour days with no respite-- not even time to feed your dogs.

Ultima 8 was one of the first PC CRPGs I played on my sweet Pentium 75. Despite the nostalgia, it remains one of the weaker Ultimas save for 9. I would have enjoyed a party based one using those graphics for Ultima 9. IIRC the preliminary screenshots of U9 looked similar before they made it all 3D.

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