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:
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.
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.
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.