Ultima 9: Original Armageddon Video

Courtesy of Joe Garrity of the Origin Museum, and to the hard work of both him and the team at the Wing Commander CIC — especially Dan Chisarick, who archived the CD on which this material was stored — the Ultima Codex is pleased to present what I suspect is one of the original endgame cutscenes for the “Bob White Plot” version of Ultima 9. This, of course, in celebration of the game’s release on GOG.com.

Check thou it out:

Your Britannia asplode!

I say “one of” the original cutscenes because, as you can see, this is the Armageddon cutscene spoken of here. The latter half of this scene was used in the release version of the game in three places: the vision triggered by the mirror in Lord British’s bedroom, the vision at the gypsy camp, and the ““bad ending” achieved by handing over the Codex Lenses to Blackthorn.

Dragons and Dragonettes may recall that the planned good ending to the Bob White Plot involved the citizens of Britannia taking shelter from the Guardian and the Armageddon spell on the island of Skara Brae which, protected as it was by the Barrier of Life and the Runes of Virtue, floated off into space away from the shattered world once home to Britannia, in a manner not unlike what could be found in a Roger Dean illustration. This video doesn’t show that happy fate befalling the people of Britannia; their end is rather more dire. Also, the Avatar and Lord British do not get infused into the spell and pass on with its casting; the video ends with them standing there looking rather…remorseful.

All of which leads me to suspect that the Bob White version of Ultima 9 might just have had a rather more branching story than has been known thus far, one in which it was possible to “win” the game (by means of casting Armageddon) without sacrificing the Avatar and without saving the people of Britannia.

Now, a few disclaimers.

The video on display here is a Flash (FLV) transcode of the original MOV-format file, and of relatively low resolution. Image quality is also rather lackluster, and the video (sadly!) has no sound (although the title card suggests that it was meant to have stand-in voices, at least).

Regardless, enjoy. This little video affords an interesting — perhaps tantalizing — glimpse into the development history of the final entry in the Ultima series. This is Ultima history at its finest, and the Ultima Codex is indebted to Dan Chisarick, Joe Garrity, Electronic Arts, BioWare Mythic, Dan Chisarick, BanditLOAF and the team at the Wing Commander CIC, and everyone who worked at Origin for it.

7 Responses

  1. Infinitron says:

    Think it’s possible to lipread Lord British in this video?

  2. Micro Magic says:

    Oh, I see, this may have been the ‘bad ending’ like they had in Ultima 7. “Well, I guess the Guardian won’t want Britannia now that everything is dead.” Or some such that Lord British tells the Avatar. Neat!

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      That’s the speculation, at any rate. It’s possible that the video here depicts the ONLY ending to the Bob White Plot, and that the Britannians getting wiped out were those that didn’t heed the warnings to retreat to Skara Brae. Both explanations are plausible, and we lack the necessary information to say for sure which is right and which is not.