Nearly four years after the last continuation of the series, and a staggering
six since the release of Ultima Online, Electronic Arts has finally announced
that the venerable series will be making the transition to modern gaming.
The next title, Ultima X: Odyssey, will once again be an online venture.
However, during this go-around, the creators of Ultima will be borrowing some
technology from the FPS arena and basing their design on the popular Unreal
Engine. In addition, they will be including a number of features which
are quite new to the MMORPG arena.
One of the more intriguing of these is the "Odyssey Adventure System,"
which will allow players to request private zones for adventuring or quests,
and will deliver said quests to players automatically while customizing it
to their wishes. In tandem with this, players and groups will also be able to set up
special zones specifically designed for player interaction, where epic conflicts
like guild wars can play out free of interference.
One of the features which has always set the world of Ultima apart is its
constant focus on the eight "virtues." Ultima X: Odyssey will be no exception
to this trend, and much of the in-game character customization is planned to
focus on these traits. Using virtue abilities or experience points, players
will be able to imbue not only themselves, but also their weapons, armor, and
even guilds with special virtue derived powers. In addition, the weapons and
armor themselves will also gain experience and level up alongside their users.
Finally, for those truly hardcore players, there will be the ultimate option
of mastering every single virtue in the Ultima world. With each mastered virtue,
players will gain access to a special power and the ability to
create disciples of their virtue. Anyone who actually puts for the time and
effort to master all eight virtues will have the ultimate reward of Ultima as
their prize; the final ascension to Avatarhood.
Ultima X: Odyssey is currently scheduled for a release this winter. RPGamer
will cover further details on the title as they develop.