Shroud of the Avatar
Shroud of the Avatar is an upcoming online action roleplaying game being designed by Richard Garriott to be published by Portalarium. It was formally announced on March 8th, and will be available by digital download for the PC. The official release date is still to be announced, though the Kickstarter campaign site lists an "estimated delivery date" of October 2014.
Shroud of the Avatar will be composed of five episodes, the first of which will be called Forsaken Virtues.
Since Richard Garriott and Portalarium do not own the rights for Ultima, only for the Lord British character, Shroud of the Avatar will not be a game with explicit ties to the Ultima universe. However, from the initial concept and design information, subtle nods to the series are being included in the game.
Gameplay will consist of both solo and multiplayer options. There will be an overarching story; players' lives will be woven into this story, and can focus on exploration, adventure, or discovery. Players can even choose to participate from safely within settled lands. Fundamental virtues and consequence of action play a role in Shroud of the Avatar. Players are free to choose both good and evil actions, but must live with the consequences.
The following gameplay features were listed on March 8th:
- Fully interactive virtual world
- Character system without classes, virtue system and player actions that have consequences
- Player housing
- Crafting system that avoids busy work; craft as a hobby or as a career
- Meaningful PvP that also minimizes griefing
- Scene-based encounters – replayable scenes that may be played solo or shared with others
The game world will be dual-scale, as was the case in Ultima games before Ultima VI. Enemies seen in the original prototype footage and screenshots include skeletons, giant spiders, wolves and dragons. The prototype also showed Lunar Rifts (or Lunar Portals), which work very similarly to moongates, allowing the player to travel to eight different locations depending on the current phase of the moon. Richard Garriott also confirmed that Lord British will be in the game. The working name for the landmass the game is set in is New Britannia, the geography of which is strongly reminiscent of Sosaria in Ultima III.
Richard Garriott began designing the game in November 2011, after publishing his What is a Lord British “Ultimate” Role Playing Game? treatise. In the first semester of 2012, he began researching suitable technologies for the game. Around September 2012, Garriott started assembling a team of people to work full-time on the game, which was known by the working title Ultimate RPG. The game is being developed on the PC, and for the PC. The team chose the Unity 3D game engine to create the game, and started work on an early prototype.
At 10 AM CST, March 8, 2013, the game was formally announced, renamed to Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. At the same time, a 30 day Kickstarter campaign was started, with a one million dollar goal. A couple of hours later, it had already received more than two thousand dollars from backers. Apart from the goal of raising money, the Kickstarter campaign was also seen as a way to communicate and receive feedback from the people who want to play the game. One of the potential stretch goals mentioned by Garriott is porting the game to mobile platforms, which should be simple in Unity.
Shroud of the Avatar Screenshots
- WTF Dragon. "Interview with Richard Garriott". The Ultima Codex - Shroud of the Avatar. 2013-03-08.
- RoosterTeeth. "Lord British Presents Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues". Lord British Presents. 2013-03-08. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
- Brian Crecente. "Shroud of the Avatar is Richard Garriott's spiritual successor to Ultima". Polygon. 2013-03-08.