|Moa dragon made the brave, but sad announcement of the dead of his Eriadan Project. There will be no Ultima 9 following the Bob White plot.
Here is the text of his announcement from rec.games.computer.ultima.dragons
It is with a lot of sadness that I'm bringing news
from the Eriadain "team". I think you all guessed,
the project is dead.
It has been that way now for several months. I am saying
"team" because I am now the only one left, since the others
left the boat before me.
For months now, I kept insisting to some people that Eriadain
was still going on, although I hadn't touched the game for
days...weeks... and now months.
The reasons ? I started Eriadain when I was 17, right after
Ultima IX's release. I am now 21. At this time of life and in
4 years a lot happens. You grow up, change, evolve and
so do your interests. Even if you don't, 4 years it's a pretty
long time for an amateur game development.
As much as I continue to love Ultima as a series, as much
as I love the idea behind Eriadain and what we were trying
to accomplish, I have to face the fact that working on Eriadain
doesn't feel like fun anymore. It felt more like a burden I was
carrying because I didn't want to face the bad reactions of calling
the project dead. Because I also didn't want to leave 4 years of
work uncompleted. Because of personal pride too.
But sometimes you just have to admit defeat and failure. And this
is what Eriadain is right now. I am sad to leave my version of Britannia
behind, and sad for not being able to bring my vision of Bob White's
plot to life. It is kind of funny when you come to think of it.
I thought the reason OSI wasn't able to implement that was because
of time,financial and engine constraints, and that I, as an amateur,
wouldn't be a victim of these constraints. It turned out that the
Eriadain team faced the same troubles in some ways : 2 engine changes,
and some internal team problems, sometimes because my vision of
the game couldn't be understood. Eriadain was never meant to be "U7
in 3D" and I actually liked U9 very much, believe it or not !
But OSI couldn't do it, and neither could I.
I am even more sad for disappointing people who trusted in that
project. I am thinking especially of John Watson , former lead
designer of U9 who sent me a very moving and encouraging mail,
and Richard Garriot, which according to some echoes was aware of
the project... and Bob White of course. I am also thinking about
the people who were looking forward that game.
But you have to face it, as of today, there aren't many of them left...
People who got NWN installed and are also Ultima fans. The Ultima
remake community, as lively as it seems only appeals to a niche
of fans. U5 Lazarus is now reaching alpha releases and the reactions
to it are rather limited compared to what the project was a couple
of years ago. Even rec.games.computer.ultima.dragons didn't react much
to it. This helped me realize that there wasn't too much point spending
so much effort in Eriadain, as great as I hoped it would be. I was
not looking for fame and glory of course with such a project, but, heh,
you know... you don't make a game with the intention that no one will
play it... well, I don't. I also came to see Ultima as a closed book.
If you are looking for an U9 remake, you may still be interested
in the U9 Redemption mod for Morrowind founded by U9 former team
members. It is not based on the Bob White plot, but they may
still have the skills and talent to bring a good game. I am also
wishing good luck to any of the Ultima projects right now and hope
them better fortune than Eriadain's.
As for Eriadain's fate, it will be uploaded some place thanks to
someone who offered the necessary 1 GB. I will post the link soon
and thank Ken from Lost Sosaria for that. Check out his projects,
they might be worth more than a shot :) Eriadain will be uploaded
"as if" with its current hak paks, this is why it takes so much
place. I could of course fire it up again in the editor and
delete what I find to be the unneeded data, but I am afraid
of breaking something... that and of course the fact that
it would be a painful thing to do. You will notice that although
it is far from start, it is also far from finish. Dialogs are 99%
placeholders, the story is only half scripted, towns
are empty... and there are way too much
dungeon maps :) A lot of maps are done though..
and oh well, curious minds with time to lose or
interest can check it out. I am not even sure myself of what's in
there besides "A lot of work but definitely not enough".
I do not mind if someone wants to pick up Eriadain again, as
a totally new project, or as an evolution of what has been
currently done. If no one volunteers (which I would understand
very much :) ) , I "might" (and only might) pick up the project
again, but that won't be before years and when
I am finished with my current project.. and it would be a very
very very different game. Do not count on it.
It's funny, I'm feeling all shaky right now.