BioWare Mythic Announces Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar

Yesterday, BioWare Mythic’s general manager, Eugene Evans, told Computer and Video Games (CVG) that his studio was set to announce a new free-to-play (F2P) title today. CVG went on to speculate that the to-be-announced title could be based on a “classic EA franchise”. This at time when Jeff Skalski, the studio’s Ultima franchise producer, is listing the Eight Virtues, one per day on Twitter. And a few hours later, BioWare Mythic overhauled, drastically, their Ultima Forever website.

Something, clearly, was up.

If you guessed — and someone did — that the game to be announced was an Ultima title of some sort, well…you’d be right. Today, as part of the BioWare presentation at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), BioWare Mythic announced Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar:

EA AND BIOWARE RETURN TO THE LEGENDARY WORLD OF BRITANNIA IN NEW FREE-TO-PLAY RPG ULTIMA FOREVER: QUEST FOR THE AVATAR

Rediscover One of Gaming’s Most Beloved Franchises with Friends, Anytime, Anywhere on iPad and PC Later this Year

FAIRFAX, Va. – July 12, 2012 – BioWare, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), today announced Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar. Expanding the legendary Ultima franchise, Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar combines accessible action RPG gameplay with trademark BioWare storytelling, immersing both longtime fans and new gamers into the deep and engaging world of Britannia. Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar will be available on both the iPad and PC later this year, with fully integrated, cross-platform play so gamers can experience all of the rich and deep RPG elements with friends, wherever and whenever they choose to play.

To sign up for a chance to participate in a future closed beta and to see the game’s first gameplay trailer, please visit the official web site at http://twitter.com/UltimaForever or “Like” the game on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UltimaForever.

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This is exciting news, both technologically and Ultimately (as it were). A new Ultima game that isn’t just cribbing the name to push a totally unrelated experience on gamers, and then one that can be played both on a PC and “on the go” on an iPad, with in-game progress fully synchronized between devices?

That should hopefully have everyone’s rapt attention.

Stay tuned, Dragons and Dragonettes; the Ultima Codex will be releasing some Ultima Forever media in short order on our brand new Ultima Forever portal!

18 Responses

  1. sirklaus says:

    Excellent news. What did you think of the news Britannia map ? I miss the Runic script but from what I’ve seen it’s a good compromise between the world “tiles” and the artistic aspect.

    One thing I’m curious about is all the towers ? are they “Dungeons” ?

  2. Anon Ultima Fan says:

    Diablo gameplay and WoW graphics. This is some other game with the Ultima name slapped on.

  3. Lore says:

    This is interesting news, to say the least.
    I just wonder whether or not it will bring with it the feel of an ultima game.
    Here’s hoping!

  4. Sanctimonia says:

    There’s only one thing that bothers me about this, and my hopes are still high about everything else. In the artwork the only female is wearing the infamous “bikini armor”. Maybe my memory fails me, but I don’t remember Ultima being exploitative of females in this regard. While this worked for 300 (with males), I don’t think it works for Ultima.

    Otherwise I like the art style. It reminds me of Record of Lodoss War (search Google Images).

    • WtF Dragon says:

      While you’re not incorrect in the general sense, might I direct your attention to the box art for Savage Empire?

      • Thepal says:

        I don’t think Savage Empire can be used as an example.

        Anyway, this is one of my major dislikes of the art style. There was always a competition in the past between Final Fantasy and Ultima. Ultima was the realistic one. Final Fantasy was the anime one with the ridiculous sized swords and such. I don’t like that this game has taken the Final Fantasy route.

      • Micro Magic says:

        http://codex.ultimaaiera.com/wiki/File:Katrinadoll.jpg

        Although when I look at the paper doll, I’m pretending, in my mind, she’s wearing a full suit of plate armour. I promise you this…

        I have absolutely no problem with Ultima showing off the beauty of a woman’s body.

        http://codex.ultimaaiera.com/wiki/File:Jaanadoll.jpg

        And if Jaana want’s to wear this, I’m cool with that too. But I expect Lady British to be smoking hot,

      • sirklaus says:

        I don’t see how Savage Empire was more anime than, say, Ultima 7’s Blackrock sword. Both WoU had a pulp vibe but beyond that they weren’t comparable to FF Ultima Weapons and such.

      • Sanctimonia says:

        Agreed, however I like the art style simply because it looks good and isn’t too hyperbolic. Stylized, yes, but this:

        http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/File:Cloud_Dissidia_Artwork.png

        No, no and hell fucking no. Then again, I haven’t seen the actual game yet. Lodoss had a nice balance, so hopefully they’re emulating that and nothing beyond.

      • Sanctimonia says:

        That’s a good point, although there are extreme cultural differences between Britannians and the Eodon tribes. That aside, the Savage Empire artwork -is- exploitative (ridiculously large breasts), although I agree with sirklaus in that it’s probably due to its “pulpish” nature.

        @Micro Magic, Another good example with Katrina having her skirt pulled up to the hip on one side, although I’d probably lower that to “suggestive” or “provocative” rather than full on bikini armor status.

        I’m no history buff, but I challenge anyone to find a real-world example of bikini armor, made of metal. If one exists then my apologies to Bioware.

      • Micro Magic says:

        That sounds fair!

        Challenge accepted!

  5. Gheralf H. Swiftwar says:

    This does not look good, not at this point. I was excited when I saw the news. I was disappointed when I saw the website.

    To me, Ultima has always represented a coherent universe: if magic and monsters really existed in a medieval world, this might be what it would be like. Armor and weapons are generally of size and weight that can be worn and do not try to look trendy, but good in the manner that things look good in normal world with a bit of magic mixed in. No other series, gaming or not, has managed to give out that feeling for me as strongly, not Elder Scrolls, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Tales of the Earthsea… and especially not any of the J-RPG games, even if I do enjoy all of the aforementioned for other reasons.

    What I’m seeing on the website is looking more like what most games are doing nowadays: giving us a couple of trendy stereotypic characters. The description of the characters gives me the feeling we’re going to see combat-based game with simple combat style and mages hurling gazillion spells in combat and regenerating mana at the rate of breeding rabbits. Airships, what the heck? Bikini armor is ridiculous, but a million times worse is druids wearing LEAF-ARMOR and ANTLERS. The fighter and the mage fit into the Ultima feeling very loosely as well.

    Where are the other classes? Where are the Virtues? This is a series with plenty of lore to grab from. Why can’t they focus on what Ultima has always been and built on that, instead of focusing on the things practically every other game these days focuses on?

    Yes, there isn’t sure evidence that the game is going to be like how I described, but there are a lot of factors pointing towards it.
    This does not look good, not at this point.

    • Micro Magic says:

      The female avatar, in the art, struck me as the avatar’s lover. Not as the avatar. But yeah, there is something off…

      It strengthens the previous arguments in the comments. Maybe it has to do with Jaana being the Druid? Traditional seen as wearing a full on brown robe and hood.

      The Tinker class can wear whatever they want. As long as it’s medieval realistic.

      No mention of elves yet though, so that’s good, right?

    • Infinitron says:

      To me, Ultima has always represented a coherent universe: if magic and monsters really existed in a medieval world, this might be what it would be like. Armor and weapons are generally of size and weight that can be worn and do not try to look trendy, but good in the manner that things look good in normal world with a bit of magic mixed in. No other series, gaming or not, has managed to give out that feeling for me as strongly

      You haven’t been playing the right games, then. “Realistic” “grimdark” fantasy has become so common nowadays that it’s almost cliche.

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