Arthurian Legends

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Arthurian Legends was a planned, but never completed, role-playing game from Origin Systems.

Some interviews with Richard Garriott at the time of Ultima VII suggested the creation of an Worlds of Ultima game taking place after Ultima VII where the Avatar would have ended at the time of King Arthur and the Round Table, thus making it a Worlds of Ultima game. However, it appears that the project quickly shifted to a fully Arthurian based RPG with no relation to the Ultima series, because of the lack of success the Worlds of Ultima games suffered.[1]


The concept of Arthurian Legends came from Brian Martin, an Origin game designer that had participated in the development of several Ultima games. While the Worlds of Ultima games used the Ultima VI engine, Arthurian Legends was set to use the same engine as Ultima VII. The idea was to reutilize an Ultima engine to lower the costs of this game, and make it different enough so that it wouldn't compete with the Ultimas being developed at the time.[1] After Richard Garriott approved the game, a team of seven people was assembled, which included Sheri Graner Ray and Brian Martin. The game never got an official producer, even though Richard Garriott and Warren Spector filled that role informally.[2]

The team worked for nine months, during which they were able to complete the design, create several maps, start with quest construction and do substantial amount of character art. However, team members were slowly removed from the team to help with bigger projects, until only Sheri and Brian were left. This eventually led to the project being cancelled.[2]


Arthurian Legends was to be set in ancient England, in a world based on the actual legends about King Arthur. Some of the sources used included Knight of the Cart by Chretien de Troyes, and Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. The player would be in charge of trying to find the missing King Arthur and to fix the problems currently plaguing Camelot. Though the initial idea was for the player's alter ego to be one of the twelve knights of the Round Table, this was eventually changed for the player to create his own avatar. Several well-known characters were going to make appearances, including Sir Pelenor, Sir Gawain, Melora, Sir Mordred, Morgana, Lancelot, Guinevere and Arthur.[1]

The game was going to include some of the bloodier elements from the legends, such as a giant cannibal that was praying on the children from a local village. However, the search for the Grail was not to be included, as the team felt it had already been played out too many times.[1] Other quests included curing Sir Pellinore from a blindness inflicted to him by an evil mage, and a maze of moving thorn hedges.[3]


  • While Arthurian Legends was cancelled, it didn't mark the end of Origin's idea to use the technology created for Ultima for other games, with System Shock being produced using Ultima Underworld's engine and the Crusader series using the Ultima VIII engine.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 BuckGB. "Ultima VIII: The Lost Vale/Arthurian Legends RPG Interview - Page 2 of 3". GameBanshee. 2013-03-03.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sheri Graner Ray. "Arthurian Legends - The Story Behind Arthurian Legends". PC Games That Weren't. 2005-11.
  3. BuckGB. "Ultima VIII: The Lost Vale/Arthurian Legends RPG Interview - Page 3 of 3". GameBanshee. 2013-03-03.

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