Richard Allen Garriott (born July 4, 1961; nickname Lord British) is a significant figure in the video game industry. He was originally a game designer and programmer, but now engages in various aspects of computer game development.
Garriott was born in Cambridge, England and raised in League City, Texas, a son of Skylab and Spacelab astronaut Owen K. Garriott. At Clear Creek High School, he took an interest in computers and began self-directed courses in computer programming in which he created fantasy computer games. He also gained his "Lord British" nickname from older students at his school who thought he spoke with a British accent.
Richard continued programming many games, often offering them to friends for free. He produced his first published game, Akalabeth, in the summer of 1980 while working at a ComputerLand retail store. Garriott earned more than enough money from Akalabeth to pay to continue his education. In the fall, he entered the University of Texas at Austin, joined the school's fencing team and later joined the Society for Creative Anachronism.
In the early 1980s, Garriott developed the Ultima computer game series (sequels after the first were numbered, such as Ultima II, Ultima III and so on). Originally programmed for the Apple II, the first was published by California Pacific Computers, and sold in ziploc plastic bags to interested parties. The second part was published by Sierra On-Line. By the time he developed his third installment, the games had such a large following that Garriott (along with his brother, Robert, and father and others) established Origin Systems, their own video game publisher, to handle the publishing and distribution of his title, now available on several platforms. Origin went on to become one of the most influential game developers in video game history.
Garriott sold Origin to Electronic Arts in September 1992. For the most part, this did not directly impact development from a gamer's standpoint. But in 1999 and 2000, turmoil became apparent when EA cancelled all of Origin's new development projects outside of Ultima Online games, including Privateer Online, and Harry Potter Online with the intent to transform Origin into a fully Ultima Online company. In the midst of these events, Garriott resigned from the company he had created as he wanted to take a break from Ultima and create a new form of multiplayer game.
After his one year non-compete agreement with EA expired, he returned to the industry by forming Destination Games in April 2001 with his brother and Starr Long (the producer of Ultima Online) whose Ultima Online 2 had just been cancelled by Electronic Arts, leading to many of its team members to join Garriott's new company . Destination then partnered with NCsoft where he acted as a producer and designer of MMORPGs. After producing the English version of the Korean MMORPG Lineage (where his Lord British persona made an appearance)), he focused on creating a new MMORPG called Tabula Rasa.
Garriott built a "haunted house"/museum as his residence called Britannia Manor in Austin, Texas. He also promotes private space flight as vice-chairman of the board of directors for Space Adventures and as a trustee of the X-Prize. Garriott flew to the International Space Station and back in October 2008.
Garriott became the ninth inductee into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame in 2006.
Garriott and Laetitia Pichot de Cayeux were married on July 1, 2011.
On July 21, 2011, Garriott was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science by Queen Mary, University of London, for his work promoting the importance of science, mathematics and space exploration.
Garriott has given many interviews over the years.
Video game works
|Game Name||First Released||System Name(s)||Garriott's Role(s)|
|Akalabeth: World of Doom||1979||Apple II & DOS||Game Designer, Coder & Programmer|
|Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness||1981||Apple II, DOS, Commodore 64 & MSX||Original Conceptor, Programmer & Graphic Artist|
|Ultima II: The Revenge of the Enchantress||1982||Apple II, DOS, Commodore 64 & Atari 8 bit systems||Programmer|
|Ultima III: Exodus||1983||Apple II, DOS, Atari 8 bit systems, NES, Amiga & Commodore 64||Project Director|
|Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar||1985||Apple II, DOS, Atari ST, NES, MSX, Amiga, Commodore 64 & Sega Master System||Project Director|
|Autoduel||1985||Apple II, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS & Amiga||Programmer & Designer|
|Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny||1988||Apple II, DOS, Atari ST, NES, Amiga & Commodore 64||Designer, Writer & Programmer|
|Omega||1989||Amiga, Apple II, Atari ST, DOS & Commodore 64||Designer|
|Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire||1990||DOS & SNES||Executive Producer|
|Ultima VI: The False Prophet||1990||DOS, Atari ST, SNES, Amiga & Commodore 64||Designer, Producer, Sound Effect Worker & Writer|
|Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams||1991||DOS||Creative Director|
|Ultima: Runes of Virtue||1991||Game Boy||Creative Director|
|Ultima VII: The Black Gate||1992||DOS & SNES||Director & Producer|
|Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss||1992||DOS & PlayStation||Director|
|Ultima VII: The Forge of Virtue||1993||DOS||Creative Assistance & Producer|
|Ultima VII Part Two: The Silver Seed||1993||DOS||Director & Voice Actor|
|Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle||1993||DOS||Creative Director & Audio Team Member|
|Ultima VIII: Pagan||1994||DOS||Producer|
|Ultima: Runes of Virtue II||1994||Game Boy||Creative Director & Additional Design|
|Ultima VIII: The Lost Vale Expansion Pack||Cancelled||DOS||Producer|
|Ultima Online: The Second Age||1998||Windows||Executive Designer|
|Lineage||1998||Windows & Mac OS X||Executive Producer|
|Ultima IX: Ascension||1999||Windows||Director|
|Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle||2003||Windows||Executive Producer|
|City of Heroes||2004||Windows||Executive Producer|
|City of Villains||2005||Windows||Executive Management|
|Tabula Rasa||2007||Windows||Executive Producer|
Richard Garriott appears in the Ultima games mainly as two characters: Lord British and Shamino. Portraits of such characters change from game to game, but Richard Garriott is very often recognizable.
- Garriott's entry on IMDB
- Bio of Garriott from MobyGames.com
- Biography of Garriott from DragonCon.org
- Video Interview with Garriott from KLRU TV Station (2005)
- Interview with Garriott in Austin Chronicle from 2000
- Munchkin Village mayor tries to go to space: Computer programmer touts commercial space tourism (The Daily Texan, 7/19/2005)
- Interview with Richard Garriott on space tourism (The Space Review, 8/8/2005)
- The Dot Eaters article featuring a history of Gariott/Lord British, his games, and Origin.
- Barnes, Michael. "Austin gamer and cosmonaut Richard Garriott to marry Laetitia Pichot de Cayeux in Paris". Austin360.com. 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
- Blue’s News. "Paging Doctor British!". Ultima Aiera. 2011-07-26.