In what may be one of the most uplifting dreams come true, BioWare has just unveiled their upcoming RPG: Ultima Forever: Quest For The Avatar. Details are scant at the moment, but the developer is promising a cross-platform experience delivered to players through EA’s Play4Free label.
Exactly which platforms will be available for experiencing Ultima Forever is currently unknown, but the colorful, animated aesthetic teased by the game’s official site could hint at anything from a mobile version to downloadable for consoles. Big questions will no doubt be asked quickly by the most devoted Ultima fans, so BioWare must know that they’ve got an uphill battle on their hands if they truly wish to do justice to the original series.
With “Lady British” now calling on players around the world to unite – or play solo – to reclaim Britannia and become the Avatar, BioWare isn’t referring to Ultima Forever as a new version of the classic RPG, but “the first great Western RPG…lovingly restored.” With BioWare’s history in storytelling and at-times controversial approach to role-playing these days, it’s anyone’s guess what the game will actually look like. Or which internal design philosophy it will be following.
The Fighter and the Mage are the two available classes, differentiated by unique strengths and strategies that any RPG player would expect. Hopefully details on other classes – if there are any – and just how deep a gameplay experience Ultima Forever will be coming soon, but some concept art and a world map have been posted online.
Any announcement of a new game bearing the Ultima name will be met with heavy skepticism, as past projects attempting to do the same have, generally, turned out to be more a disappoint than a reboot. That being said, BioWare putting their weight behind a free-to-play version of the original game whose name seems to imply they’re in it for the long haul is a good thing. Sure, EA and BioWare may not have earned more positive word-of-mouth than negative lately, but the studio has claimed to have learned from their mistakes.
Those who are more curious than dismissive can sign up for the Beta at the site now, but anyone interested in the classic RPG and the future of the free-to-play games genre will want to pay attention to how this proposition is received.
When Ultima Forever is discussed in greater detail, we’ll keep you updated.
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