Richard Garriott

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Richard Garriott

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.

Richard Garriott as "Lord British"

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.

Richard and Laetitia's intertwined crest

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.[1]

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.[2]

Garriott has given many interviews over the years.

Video game works[edit]

The Ultima series
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
Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny 1988 Apple II, DOS, Atari ST, NES, Amiga & Commodore 64 Designer, Writer & Programmer
Ultima VI: The False Prophet 1990 DOS, Atari ST, SNES, Amiga & Commodore 64 Designer, Producer, Sound Effect Worker & Writer
Ultima VII: The Black Gate 1992 DOS & SNES Director & Producer
Ultima VII: The Forge of Virtue 1993 DOS Creative Assistance & Producer
Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle 1993 DOS Creative Director & Audio Team Member
Ultima VII Part Two: The Silver Seed 1993 DOS Director & Voice Actor
Ultima VIII: Pagan 1994 DOS Producer
Ultima IX: Ascension 1999 Windows Director
Spin-offs from the Ultima series
Game name First released System name(s) Garriott's role(s)
Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire 1990 DOS & SNES Executive Producer
Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams 1991 DOS Creative Director
Ultima: Runes of Virtue 1991 Game Boy Creative Director
Ultima: Runes of Virtue II 1994 Game Boy Creative Director & Additional Design
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss 1992 DOS & PlayStation Director
Ultima VIII: The Lost Vale Expansion Pack Cancelled DOS Producer
Ultima Online 1997 Windows Producer
Ultima Online: The Second Age 1998 Windows Executive Designer
Other video games
Game name First released System name(s) Garriott's role(s)
Autoduel 1985 Apple II, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS & Amiga Programmer & Designer
Omega 1989 Amiga, Apple II, Atari ST, DOS & Commodore 64 Designer
Bioforge 1995 DOS Executive Producer
Lineage 1998 Windows & Mac OS X Executive Producer
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

In-game alter-egos[edit]

Picture (for comparison)

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.

Richard Garriott in Ultima II.

In Ultima II, Richard Garriott himself can be met in 2112 A.D. in the Computer Camp. There, Howie The Pest asks him when Ultima II will be ready, and Garriott admits it is still unfinished.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Barnes, Michael. "Austin gamer and cosmonaut Richard Garriott to marry Laetitia Pichot de Cayeux in Paris". 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
  2. Blue’s News. "Paging Doctor British!". Ultima Aiera. 2011-07-26.

This article includes material originally taken from Wikipedia article Richard Garriott. Wikipedia material is licensed under GNU Free Documentation License.