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Default Ultima IV & Wasteland - The Era of Maturity

December 3rd, 2018, 22:44
USGamer looks back at the era of Ultima IV and Wasteland and how it ushered in a new era of maturity for the genre.

Fittingly, the first meaningful attempt to bring greater depth to PC RPGs came from Ultima's creator, Richard Garriott, by way of 1985's Ultima 4. Throughout the initial Ultima trilogy, Garriott experimented with a variety of narrative and mechanical concepts before settling down into a comfortable groove with Ultima 3: Exodus. Not only did Exodus lay down the foundation for the workings of future Ultima games, it also brought the series' story cycle to a self-contained stopping point. With his game design formula locked down, and freed of the need to continue some overarching narrative, Garriott took the opportunity to reconsider the very concept of the Ultima franchise. What could the series become? Was there room for more than combat and looting?

"My earliest games really were just about fighting monsters and collecting treasure," says Garriott. "There was a story, but it was pretty much go 'save the princess' or 'kill the big, evil wizard.' Ultima 3 was the first game I published myself through my own company, Origin, so it was the first time I started to get letters from people who had played the game. For the first time, I actually could see what was happening in the heads of people playing my games. I was shocked to see what those letters contained."

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December 4th, 2018, 03:16
This is really telling

Originally Posted by Lord British
Equally enlightening were the anecdotes players shared about their behavior. "Some people liked to replay the game to be quite sinister," he recalls. "They'd go kill off all the villagers. They'd steal from every shop. They liked to kill my character, Lord British. I realized these people were playing to min-max their way to the top, not to play any story they perceived." To Garriott, these patterns of behaviors spoke to failings not of Ultima fans but rather shortcomings in his own game design and the conventions of the genre at large—flaws, he realized, that were incumbent upon him to correct.
So, in light that this was a critical motivation for developing Ultima IV, why didn't RG see this problem (that gamers were often douchebags when they are not having to be accountable) coming with Ultima Online?

Remember, this guy didn't bother putting The Virtues into UO.


It should be noted USGamer has a whole series of articles from Jeremy Parish on the history of CRPG's


I think we've covered some of them before.
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