Origin Systems Wanted to Make a Star Wars RPG (Based on the Ultima 6 Engine)
Ben Lesnick, formerly of the Wing Commander CIC and currently the community manager for Star Citizen, shared an interesting image on his Twitter timeline recently:
— Jingle Bens (@banditloaf) December 5, 2015
The image, which you can see in full in this Gallery entry, is of a product development plan circulated by Origin Systems in 1990. To call the plan ambitious would be a bit of an understatement; although the release windows for Ultima 6, Bad Blood, Savage Empire (Dinosaur Valley), and Martian Dreams (Time Travel) were met, Squadron became Wing Commander (although the follow-up car racing game using its engine was not, that I’m aware, ever developed), and Ultima 7 slipped into 1992. And Ultima 8 wouldn’t see the light of day until 1994!
Perhaps more interestingly, however, is the fact that the plan includes a line item about a Star Wars RPG, using the Ultima 6 engine, that Origin Systems was considering developing. How awesome would that have been? One wonders what the plot and setting would have been…would they have tried to push the Ultima 6 engine to depict several different worlds, or would it have been set on just one planet?
As always, the Ultima Codex is grateful to Ben Lesnick for unearthing and sharing this piece of Origin Systems history. It’s fun to look back on its legacy, note its ambition, and think what might have been had it realized a few more of its plans.