The last time we heard from Richard Garriott, he’d left gaming behind to focus himself on other things. He’d also been swindled out of half a million dollars by an unscrupulous magic shop. It appears that Lord British has now returned with a Kickstarter campaign and, though the Ultima license may currently lie with EA and its nebulous Ultima Forever, it appears that Garriott is ready to return to the core of what made the series great.
Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues both draws upon what made the Ultima series great to begin with and takes it to its logical extreme. Rather than offer a few initial choices and then lock the player into a larger, generic story for which they must grind levels until they are strong enough to advance, Garriott aims for Shroud to allow each player to discover their own tale within the world and lore into which step. Wish to be a butcher? A baker? A candle-stick maker? Shroud has non-combative, non-questing options.
Traditional adventure is still on offer, of course. With it returns the “psychological profiling” used in every Ultima game since the fourth to dictate one’s initial avatar, though both character and world are able to evolve in response to one another.
It sounds incredibly ambitious, and is slated to offer both online multiplayer and single-player adventure. Perhaps most exciting, though, is the availability of “feelies,” those little physical trinkets that help immerse one in the game one is about to play. As of now, the Kickstarter is over a quarter of the way to its $1 million goal. Why not help it along?