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Default Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ PC Gamer

June 13th, 2014, 19:38
PC Gamer interviewed Lord British at this years E3 to about Shroud of the Avatar.

PCG: Whatís day-to-day like for you guys working on the game?

Garriott: Two things have made this development cycle really special. One is the crowdfunding, which is what weíve been talking about. The other is Unity. I feel a huge debt to Unity. I think weíre finally to the era as a game industry where we donít have to rebuild the camera from scratch every game. And there were render pipelines that have been very good, like Unreal or Crytek, but the thing to my mind about Unity is, all of the developer tools, which are incredibly well integrated and the UI is completely standardized, and the asset stores and the community thatís built around it. Unity is phenomenal. It literally is a game changer, not just for us, but itís a harbinger for whatís to come in the industry.

What those two things have allowed us to do is, while most MMOs would take four years and $40 million minimum, weíre going to be able to do this in two years, head to tail. Because weíre not building the engine from scratch. Not only that, but because of all of the asset stores and community pieces that we've been able to glom in, we've been able to reduce our team size down to 30. So for a quarter of the cost, we are able to produce at a level that would have taken us much more trouble or time or money in any previous iteration. And the value of being at a small 30 person team is that everyone knows whatís happening. No oneís just hanging out. And it means the people like us that have been in the management business for the past 20 years, meaning we do no game design and no work in the trenches, both of us are now back in the trenches completely.

Ultima 7 was the last Ultima that I designed the story and every character and pretty much every word they said. But I did that in concert with Warren Spector, who was kind of my partner in the writing of that game. Now with Tracy Hickman in this case, equally well qualified writer, Iíve re-drafted the story three full times, written out every NPC and every line of dialogue, up until it goes to the real writer, who will wordsmith it. But I know the story intimately, and Iím very happy with the story personally, because I wrote the damn story. Which in those bigger teams was just not possible.

So for people who liked Ultima 4 - 7, in particular, or Ultima Online, weíre doing that work again ourselves. It will very much be like what people hopefully remember fondly. Because itís being done the way it was done in those days.
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June 13th, 2014, 19:38
Except its an MMO and a housing sim, so it wont be anything like Ultima 4-7.
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June 13th, 2014, 22:28
Commenting as a $25 backer, Richard is easily right there with Molyneaux for setting high expectations with predictable under delivery.
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June 14th, 2014, 02:22
Richard needs to return to his roots…

I'm a long time Ultima fan and a backer at the $150 level (boxed CE)… but I doubt I'll even play SotA. Most likely, I'll just keep it shrink-wrapped and add it to my collection as a sad footnote to Ultima history.

I was an original UO beta tester, and it was fun for a while, but MMOs really aren't for me.
Originally, I had high hopes for SotA, which promised both a persistent online world and a 40 hour single player campaign. But with the MMO thrust of this game, I'm afraid the SP component will be nothing more than an afterthought. And the whole housing for sale debacle has really soured me on the MMO portion of this game.

Richard Garriott has lost touch with the fans. All we really want is another single player experience on par with Ultima 7 or Ultima 4. If Richard had a clue how much that is worth to those like me, he would forget charging at his MMO windmills. If SotA had been single player only, and I thought Richard had the right team together to recapture some of that old Ultima magic, I honestly would've pledged $1000 or more. In fact, I'll take that a step further… If I could actually invest in that game, I'd have gone into debt to invest $10K! Just imagine how successful that crowdfunding campaign would've been.
Last edited by Vindicator; June 14th, 2014 at 02:34.
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June 14th, 2014, 04:49
I too think Lord British should go back to make single player RPGs again. He is a true story-teller, and only SP-RPGs allow that for real. Still, SotA looks good, so I hope it opens a door for him making more games.
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June 14th, 2014, 09:51
I'm sorry guys but it's obvious that RG has no interest what so ever in returning to his roots. This particular train has departed from the station quite a while ago.
Last edited by zahratustra; June 14th, 2014 at 11:58.
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June 14th, 2014, 10:05
Originally Posted by Vindicator View Post
Garriott has lost touch with the fans. All we really want is another single player experience on par with Ultima 7 or Ultima 4. If Richard had a clue
He doesnt have a clue. He recently said something in line with he would have made Ultima 7 multiplayer too if he could have. That the A.I was just trying to replicate real human behaviours and that he basically was not satisfied with that at all.
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June 14th, 2014, 10:21
Their planned development schedule seems focused on combat and creatures.
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