Fans of the classic game series Ultima will have a chance to revisit the mythical world of Britannia in a new free-to-play game, Ultima Forever, developed by BioWare. Electronic Arts – who own BioWare – announced the latest in game in the Ultima series, dubbed Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar, during the Comic-Con event held in San Diego.
Ultima Forever is to be a reboot of the classic RPG from 1985, Ultima IV. It will be available free-to-play on PC and the iPad later this year. Though the game is free, it will include the ability to buy in-game gold and better accessories for real money. The game involves a small group of three or four characters wandering the world of Britannia, flying in hot air balloons over mountain ranges, sailing across oceans, surviving storms, battling sea monsters, and competing to collect the eight Virtues. The game will also feature a mentorship system where low-leveled characters can get more experience from high-leveled characters. Players can sign up for the closed beta of the game on the official Ultima Forever website and see the first trailer for the game.
Sign up for the beta.
The first game in the Ultima series was released in 1981, dubbed The First Age of Darkness, almost 30 years before the release of the browser-based Ultima Online: High Seas. Kotaku, however, explained that the game was a disappointment for long time fans.
According to a report by MSNBC, production of Ultima Forever does not involve the original creator Richard Garriott. He has been busy with Portalarium, an Austin-based gaming company that recently secured $7 million in funding.
The Ultima series has been divided into three major parts. The Age of Darkness which is Ultima I to III, The Age of Enlightenment which is Ultima IV to VI, and The Age of Armageddon which is Ultima VII to IX.
Ultima IV: The Quest of the Avatar from the Age of Enlightenment was a major departure of the series’ usual good vs. evil plot. Instead, the game chose to explore more mature themes, with additions like a complex morality system based on the Eight Virtues.
The Ultima series has been one of the most celebrated games in history. Here’s hoping BioWare does not mess the game up after a series of disappointing releases.