Tobold's Blog
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Ultima Online's third sequel

Ultima Online was released in 1997. Already in 1999 a sequel was announced, called first Ultima Online 2, then renamed Ultima World Online: Origins; it was cancelled in 2001. Then the Ultima X: Odyssey MMORPG was announced, but also got cancelled before release in 2004.

There are currently rumors about EA having a "secret project" for another Ultima Online sequel. Which would be the third. I wouldn't get up my hopes too high. This is not likely to be a real MMORPG or in any way a spiritual successor to Ultima Online. We are more likely to just get a cheap knockoff Facebook game further exploiting the Ultima brand, after the already shameful Lords of Ultima Free2Play browser strategy game.
I can't imagine that the Ultima brand has any real value these days because the brand has been neglected for too long. Sure old timers and die-hards revere it but I suspect that the average World of Warcraft player couldn't care less about Ultima and the average Facebook gamer has never even heard of it.

If rock solid brands like Star Wars and Warhammer are unsafe, I can't see EA building a full MMO for Ultima again.
There is a steady current these days that pulls MMORPGs back to their roots, I think. There's also ample founding available.

I'm pretty damn sure that we will see "Eve Online on the ground" within this decade.

However, I'd be quite surprised if some Ultima Online was it :)

Do you think that "rock solid brands" are more of a risk to turn into a successful MMO? Is unknown like Rift safer in some ways?

I can see why someone would make a sequel to UO or another dead/dying MMO simply because the lore is already there. If you own the rights to it & can develop a good game from it I personally don't see it as a negative. You'd get interest from old players. New players who know nothing about the game are thrown into a world that's already extremly rich in "history".
I'm thinking Facebook/ phone App will be cheap easy way to make money for EA to help recover the cost of SWTOR when it fails to meet expectations.
Paul Barnett is involved; hence this game is 100% sure to be amazingly (bears bears bears) white-shades awesome. He said so.
I'm going to make a prediction...It's a SIMS MMORPG

"Do you think that "rock solid brands" are more of a risk to turn into a successful MMO? Is unknown like Rift safer in some ways?"

New IPs like Rift allow developers more creative freedom.
But ultimately you need someone to fund your studio and investors like big global brands with an established base and guaranteed sales. Would DCUO and STO stood alone as Hero Quest and Spaceship Universe?
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