Whiskeybarrel Studios Wants Your Feedback: What Makes Ultima So Compelling?

Oliver Joyce, who heads up a small development team calling themselves Whiskeybarrel Studios, is very keen on creating an Ultima-like game:

…a few months ago, I posted a little info about an Ultima inspired RPG I’ve been planning. It’s still very much in the design / ‘world-building’ phase and not a single line of code has been written yet, but I just wanted to share with you some photoshop mockups I’ve created of how I envision it. I’ve written about 30 or so NPCs and sketched out the world map roughly, but there’s a long way to go yet.

As a refresher, here’s the idea in a nutshell:

“I want to recapture the magic playing a classic early 1990s RPG for the first time, without all the hassle of playing a 1990s RPG and all the baggage that comes with it.

Enter Constellation Mirror, a classic 2D role playing game that contains the hallmarks of the great ‘80s CRPGs like Ultima and Pools of Radiance: the intricate plot, the turn based combat, the lore, the simple but iconic aesthetic. An all new world that will feel both as wondrous and exciting as a pirate’s treasure map, and yet as familiar as a pair of well worn travel boots. A game of travelling companions, of hidden valleys and uncharted oceans.

A game by old school RPG fans, for old school RPG fans.”

Still several years away from this being a reality but I’d love to share the journey with the Dragons as I go, our common love of all things Ultima are a true inspiration!

One of the mockups he has created can be seen above.

However, Joyce didn’t stop at merely showing off his work. He also posed a couple of questions to the Ultima fandom:

A) What makes ‘Ultima’ so compelling? What stands out to you in your mind and makes you keep coming back to it after all these years?

B) What bugs you about the classic Ultimas, if anything? What would you change when viewing the games through a modern lens ( is the inventory system clunky, would you like a minimap etc?)

If you’d like to chime in on this survey, if we can call it that, head on over to the Ultima Dragons Facebook group.