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Ultima Words Online: Origin at the Graveyard

(PC: MMORPG) | Posted by @ Sunday - July 08, 2001 - 00:05 -
| Game Info
The cancellation of what was a promising MMORPG did a lot of noise in the community. Gamespot couldn't ignore this disaster and tries to explain the reasons why the publisher, Electronic Arts, decided to stop the development of Ultima Words Online: Origin. This 10 pages long article also contains an in-deep interview with producer Starr Long who has now founded his own studios, Destination Games, with Richard "Lord British" Garriott.

    What went wrong? Why did Origin seemingly capitulate in the war for the increasingly lucrative online gaming when the company had been restructured to capitalize on that market? After the game's cancellation, rumors that Electronic Arts had pulled the plug on the game's development when it was relatively close to being completed quickly circulated on the Internet. The game was actually likely at least a year from retail release and, ironically, the original game's ongoing success played a role in its would-be successor's cancellation. Ultima Online's monthly subscriber base had continued to grow, and Electronic Arts reasoned that the game's continued longevity might just be jeopardized by a sequel. Instead of continuing to fund the sequel's substantial development costs and gamble that the sequel would eventually earn more than the original game, Electronic Arts opted to stop subsidizing the sequel's development and just focus on maintaining and improving Ultima Online.
Starr Long seems to have always been a bit in the shadow of the "king" Garriott, propably intentionally. Nevertheless, he is not completely unknown by fans of the Ultima series since the character of Lord Blackthorn is neither more nor less than his incarnation in the vitual worlds of Origin. Starr Long was the producer of Ultima Online and the co-producer of Ultima 9 as well as UO2.
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