Titans of Ether: Ultima IX: Redemption Cancelled; Corven – Path of Redemption Being Built with Unreal Engine

The Titans of Ether, after months of inactivity on Ultima IX: Redemption, have formally cancelled that remake of Ultima 9 (confirming what a few have suspected over the last little while):

When we started UIX there was no option for us to use a real engine and only a few mod tools were powerful enough to at least create a “total conversion” of the game they came with. We chose the Morrowind Construction Set, but even though it was the most powerful at the time it still had extreme limitations. Even with openMW, which would have been an option now, it would not have been possible to create the game I really wanted to create.

It is not too crazy difficult (but still a lot of work) to create a “new” game with a mod tool if you only want to create a new narrative but don’t care to change much on the mechanics / features of the game. Others have done it and I sincerely congratulate them on their achievement BUT this was never my goal. I wanted to create the optimal new Ultima and it was not possible. Even if we finished UIX I would never have been happy with it because it was impossible to create the typical features that made Ultima what it is (in my opinion). Especially the ISO view or the level of world interaction was not possible with the CS.

However, in abandoning the remake project, they’ve instead been able to devote their efforts to creating a brand new game using the Unreal Engine:

Corven has been in development since May 2016. At first, in April, I worked with Unity, but ultimately I decided to use the Unreal Engine 4 for several reasons which are not important right now in this blog entry. Zini, joined me in this endeavor.

Because of the wonderful tool that UE4 is, we are in many ways further along with Corven after 8 months, than we were with UIX after 12 years. The goal is to release Corven around December 2018.

Corven – Path of Redemption is NOT the story of UIX – Redemption. In many ways it’s based on the story I had in mind for UX – The New King but adapted for a new IP, not tied to the Ultima franchise, for obvious reasons.

There’s a release/gameplay trailer for Corven embedded above, and Corv also kindly sent along some screenshots. These are of the game’s third-person mode:

 
 

And these screenshots are of Corven’s first-person mode:

 
 

Planned features for Corven include:

Story-driven
The emphasis of Corven is on it’s story. You will not just fight monsters to get more loot, but delve into a deep and rich story. It will be the gaming equivalent of a page-turner with many mysteries to solve and secrets to uncover.

Open World
Explore a beautiful, hand-crafted, open world. Different biomes, dungeons, magical places, … Can you find all the hidden secrets?

Characters with character
Our NPCs will have a story to tell. We will try to keep the “filler” NPC count as low as possible and create a world filled with characters that have their own problems and opinions. They will also follow a schedule (work, bar,…). In addition there will be a day/night cycle.

Real-time combat
Unlike in many other RPGs, especially the action kind, combat is not the main gamplay feature in Corven, but it will be an important one none the less. You can fight monsters in real time similar to the way you know it from several action RPGs, but you can also pause the action to give commands to your 3 party members. Be a powerful mage, archer or swordsman, … or all at the same time.

Interactive world / crafting
The world will be highly interactive. You can pick up most things and drag them around. This way you can discover secrets like a cave behind some rocks. Also crafting will be without menus! For example, if you want to forge a sword you have to put the iron on an anvil, use a hammer, cool it off in water… Remember the Black Sword?

Choose how you want see the world!
Corven delivers the isometric few so many of us love in Ultima, but what if you are a fan of first person or third person view and can’t stand ISO/top down? No problem, we created the world in such high detail that we can let you play in 3rd or 1st person view. However, you won’t just switch views but also get the appropriate control scheme with it! We will also support VR!

Minimal UI for maximal immersion
We keep the UI to a minimum. No minimap, no quest marker, no UI icons within the game world (question marks above heads…). We want you to be able to fully immerse yourself into this world. You will however have a map, an automatic log book and a compass.

More details — including some notes on the story of the game — can be found at the Titans of Ether website.

There’s no firm release date for Corven as yet — Corv figures that it can be out by the end of 2018 — but the current plan is to hold a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to support the completion of work on it. For now, if you want to back the project, there’s a PayPal donation button on the Titans’ website that you can avail yourself of.

12 Responses

  1. Infinitron says:

    Somebody needs to make a graph showing all the different iterations of these vaporware Ultima IX fan projects that have risen and fallen over the years.

  2. Maveli says:

    Honestly I would not continue to advertise this new project on the Codex after such a betrayal. UIX Redemption was chosen as the Ultima-fan project of the year several times here on the Codex simply for him to cancel the entire game while announcing BIG NEWS for his fans, a lot of which were patiently waiting for the project to release for many years.

    I don’t see anything wrong with another RPG (as if the industry is not already stuffed with thousands of them), but he could tell they are going to cancel it a while back, not announcing big reveal just to let everybody know the project is dead.

  3. Corv Corv says:

    Info Update: I will release Redemptions complete landscape incl. all the custom models AND the story doc!

    The unfinished featuers and quests will not be included because people would not understand what they have and complain. So I make it straight forward and simple: It’s all of Britannia and the models and the story, so everything anybody needs to create Redemption within a year if he/she wants to and does not try to, like we did, create custom features that Morrowind did not have.

  4. Maveli says:

    If you switched to the Unity, why would not you simply continue UIX instead? And which features, may I ask, could not be added via MW engine?

    • Corv Corv says:

      Hi!

      We wanted to switch to Unity and then I tested Unreal Engine 4 and saw that it is even better.

      Yes we could have made UIX in UE4, but consider this: It is a LOT of work. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that my work days in the last 8 months looked like this:

      8am – 5 pm regular work -> 5:30 pm – 8 or 9 pm family time -> 9 pm till 2 am work on the project. then 5 hours sleep

      Would YOU do this without any chance of ever getting paid for your hard work and sacrifices while having to support a family? I want to keep this work pace up and release a real new RPG that is way better than UIX in Morrowind CS ever was. Yes it won’t have the Ultima names, but it’s still me who makes the game, the same guy who made UIX. If you don’t like Corven I can promise you, you would not have liked UIX.

      About the MW CS:

      it isn’t an engine, it is a mod tool. The main difference is: it’s a tool to modify the game it came with, not a complete engine to create you own game. We pushed the modifications further than anyone with tricks, but that also has its limits. Problems we could not overcome:
      – not possible to move objects in the world
      – not possible to create our own combat system
      – not possible to create our own magic system
      – not possible to create a satisfying party system
      I could go on and on.

      This isnt’ just something “from a developers point of view”, this also impacts the gamer heavily in the end. Do you want a Morrwind with Ultima themes and hacked together features or a real cohesive Ultima-like game?

      Also, there was no way to push the graphics any further. It was just one huge limitation. Every little thing we could not use from Morrowind we had to create ourselves. New engines come with a handy market place with tons of assets.
      Now do you want to spend a year to work around ONE limitation which you would not have in the first place in a real engine or spend this year actually working on the game in the real engine? I decided the second one is the right choice. If anything I should have made that decision the minute Unreal Enigne 4 came out.

      • I see. Iright, I guess all I can do is to sinserely wish you a good luck. I am still a little bit dissapointed, however, I understand that you do not owe me or anybody else anything given the fact that you have invested your free time in the remake of U9. It’s just something I and many others were waiting for, but it’s okay though. Hope Corven will fulfil your ambitions.

      • Iceblade says:

        That is very understandable. I had to move Forgotten World from an UIX in-engine mod largely due to the heavily-hard coded nature of major elements. Certain limitations can be quite insurmountable.

  5. ericss2009 says:

    Redemption was a bad idea from the beginning in my book. I have no interest in a fanfic replacement of U9. I know fans hate all the inconsistencies and changes U9 brought in relation with previous games, but you think a fanfic would be more “authentic”? Please. They should have made it either an adaptation of the Bob White plot, a fixed version of the final plot, or an original game from the beginning. Making it a wholly original fanmade story to replace an already existing game in the series with no basis on the official U9 or input from any of the Origin members always struck me as too pompous.

    • taxalot says:

      Somebody tried to make an interation of Ultima IX with the Bob White plot. The Ultima IX redemption project actually is a split of a disagreement about the directions where that project was supposed to be headed.

      Now that the Bob White design docs have been out, it seems the general consensus appears that it wouldn’t have made such a great game. I still disagree, to this day. Some plot things (“The Ultimas”) sounded very off, but they could be fixed. The linearity could easily be worked, and we had a design that improved a lot on that issue.

      But it was not meant to be. Good luck to the Corvus team on their next endeavors.

  1. December 19, 2016

    […] has announced, in a comment here, that the Titans of Ether will be releasing the assets from Ultima IX: Redemption at some point in […]