"Cautiously optimistic" could not better describe how I'm feeling about EA's upcoming Ultima Forever. As I mentioned before, Ultima Online is responsible for some of my absolute best gaming memories, and the thought of even vaguely replicating that on my phone is almost too awesome to imagine. Ultima Forever seems to be modernized quite a bit from the old UO days, featuring a quest and party system along with instanced dungeons to crawl though.

The initial setup seems to be curing the world of a nasty plague called the "Black Weep" which is spreading across the land. This time Lady British has called upon adventurers to save the world. Check out the trailer to see the game in action:

Word on the street is that Ultima creator Richard Garriott doesn't have anything to do with Ultima Forever, which may be slightly disappointing to fans of the series... But, he's busy doing things like traveling to space, so it shouldn't be all that surprising.

Ultima Forever is scheduled for a spring release, and judging how EA typically handles promoting their games with trailers and things like that I'd hazard a guess that we're going to be seeing this game sooner rather than later.

  • JPhilipp

    Looks lovely, including the perspective! I played Ultima Online before. The only downside was that the world wasn't as open as I wanted it to be in terms of "defining your own purpose" -- I played an artist, unofficially that is, and had to lay fish on the floor in artistic patterns to ask for donations from visitors, but every now and then, horses kept eating it up.

    • Rothgarr

      Mounts didn't eat fish, only fruits and hay. And they couldn't eat them by themselves -- you had to "give" them food.

      • JPhilipp

        I'm not sure exactly who ate the fish (it must have been a decade and half ago!). I remember I used whatever was the cheapest tile-filling type of item I could use for my isometric drawings. Some people liked them. Others might have fed it to their animals -- or perhaps just stuffed it to their bag! After a while, I gave up, and at some time stopped playing the game because I didn't like most of the "in-game" ways to make virtual money...

  • DannyTheElite

    They'll ruin this just like real racing

    • skeblik

      Have you played RR3 yet? No! So don't judge a book by its cover.

      • evilsearch

        i have play it and yes it sucks. freemium games is just like parasites. waiting for this, delivering that. nonsense! ill pay 20 bucks for a full experience of RR3 on my idevice but not a single IAP purchase for this freemium crap.

      • webman2k

        And for every person that doesn't put a dime in because they react like you, they'll sell 1000 one dollar IAP items.

        These models exist because the pricing bar has been set too low. You want a game with this high level of quality? Who is paying for that? You think a twenty dollar game is going to sell on the App Store?

        You love the game but have a price cap? Spend 20 on IAP, I'll bet you it takes you pretty far, to the point where you'll get your money's worth.

        These models are all the big development houses can do now to support these titles.

        Seriously, and this is a general rant, u can't believe that people would pay upwards of $60 for a game of this quality in a console, but gripe about it here.

      • DannyTheElite

        I have actually
        It used to be fun until 1.0.2 when they tweaked the waits to be 20 hours long

      • skeblik

        Right, I forgot it was out in NZ. But still I personally am happy that it is free because I don't have money to spend on iTunes. It is coming in a few days so I guess we will judge then. But you do have a point.

  • iGamersBox

    Looks similar to ruinscape and other rpg games i am not trying to judge but that's what this video gave the impression. I guess i'll have to wait for it's release and other rpg games have better graphics than this one

  • Crimzzen

    And it'll be on timers...

    • Karzay

      The original UO had timers.

      • Marvin

        Timers for what

      • Karzay

        There were timers/cooldowns for nearly everything you did in the game, from spawns to spell effects to firing rates. Same thing used in different ways. Some rare spawns only spawned once every 24 hours.

  • Fep52

    EA? Pass...

    • webman2k

      Why does that mean? I've played some truly exceptional EA games in ios...

      • 1Fcm

        I think he means the IAP/Freemium model that they will most likely shove into the game. I hope they don't, but odds are they will do exactly what they did with Real Racing 3.

      • Karzay

        When UO first came out, you had to buy the software, expansions, a subscription, and any items you didn't want to work for. They eventually allowed players to buy high leveled avatars. The only difference now is that *maybe* the app will be free.

      • http://www.facebook.com/PedroTimoteo Pedro Alexandre Timóteo

        You guys are just talking about pricing models. The problem with EA is very different: they ruin classic franchises, releasing games that 1) have nothing to do with the franchise other than the name, and 2) are usually terrible.

      • 1Fcm

        Can you cite some examples for me please so I can better understand what you mean? Thanks.

      • 1Fcm

        The difference is that now you are getting nickeled and dimed instead of just the occasional expansion. Also, a subscription allows for a month of play. These devs want you to wait or pay for speeding up timers. I will never understand how pulling you out of the gameplay experience can be considered a good thing.

      • Karzay

        That isn't new. EA has been nickel and diming people since the late '90s. Timers/cooldowns have always taken some aspect of gameplay away from the player. In the case of Real Racing, it takes away nealy all of it. (Btw, did they remove it from the AppStore?)

        This all might have been started by players unknowingly. I remember players selling their fake houses on UO, high leveled characters, and accounts on ebay for a lot of money. EA wanted some of that action and started selling virtual content and high level characters themselves. Players were fine with it because they were already doing it to themselves.

        I agree with you though, it's not a good thing.

      • Karzay

        Never mind, RR3 is suppose to hit the US tomorrow.

      • Sunshine

        Which was your favorite?

    • http://www.artificeguild.com/ Briony of Artifice

      I used to work for EA. They aren't all that bad!

  • Briker Ed

    It looks a bit generic. . . . like countles RPG/Action RPGs out there.

  • lanights

    Will it include all the old friends I had on there? That's what made UO what it was, at the time, as well as it being the first MMO worthy of my time...at the time.

    • Greyskull

      I'm sure it won't.

    • Karzay

      I don't think it's an expansion of UO. It's UO reimagined.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jon-Smith/100003406751826 Jon Smith

    I think EA is trying to set a record by ruining as many games as possible...

    • webman2k

      Stop it. Ea puts out some very good games for ios? What have they ruined? Are you referring to free to play games with IAP? So we get console quality games for free or a couple of bucks and you whine because they'd like some more money from you?

      • http://www.facebook.com/trevor.d.kyle Trevor D Kyle

        i can name one big game they ruined when the game was in its prime and put RPGs on the map.Ultima Online.

  • Zallman

    Please don't completely ruin this.
    *corp por*!

  • ImJPaul

    The thought of having this on the go is unreal. Like everyone else, the EA name does scare me a bit.

    • Karzay

      EA owned Origin since before the original UO was released and their business model from then isn't much different than now. If you enjoyed original, you'll probably enjoy this reboot.

  • riChchestMat

    The downside of this is that EA will probably put a game killing freemium wrapper around it. The upside would be casting Armageddon on a multiplayer server.

    • MrAlbum

      Oh, for the days of perma-death.... XD

  • robmerrell

    Looks fun. I never had the chance to play Ultima Online, but I did play a lot of Ultima 6 and 7. If this is anything like those two it's sure to be great.

  • Gamer_Kev

    Though I never really got into Ultima Online, I was a huge fan of the original Ultima games namely 4-7. However I can't say watching that video gave me a feeling of Ultima. It looks more like an older console style action RPG. Ultima was always far more complex than a simple hack and slash game.

  • Wizard_Mike

    This is definitely my most anticipated release this year.

    People keep likening this to a reboot or re-imagining of UO, but that doesn't look to be the case to me. I was a big time UO player back in the vanilla and T2A days. This looks quite different. It's not an MMO, it's a co-op action rpg with a seemingly (at least somewhat) linear campaign.

    I think it's looking awesome, and can't wait to dig into it. But I think there will be a lot of disappointed people if they go into this expecting UO Mobile, or something.

  • http://twitter.com/raph02244656 raph

    Richard Garriot doesnt have anything to do with the series ever since Ultima 9, that many fans doesnt even consider canon.
    Also, this Ultima Forever has NOTHING to do with Ultima Online, besides the fact that both games are based on the Ultima series and are, well, online.
    Actually...Ultima Forever is a quite engineous take by EA on many of popular gaming trends. They are using an old franchise that already have a name (no need to make a new IP) and are making a game that follows Diablo 3 action style, utilizes microtransaction just like social games, and releases it on both PC, and the plataform of the moment, the iPad. You can't go more mainstream than that.
    Expect a little bit of Ultima 4 references. but not much more than that. And I wouldnt even compare it to Ultima Online, since this is an online, party based action RPG while UO is one of the most complete MMORPGs ever.

  • Sunshine

    Wait, what does this have to do with UO? I thought the point of the project was a reimagining of Ultima 4, you know, the seminal single player PC RPG?

    If they can get a U4 style story into a world as rich as U7 and update the whole thing for 2013, I'll be first in line to play.

  • DizzyNBG

    So...will this be iPad only or do u guys think there's a chance to get a iPhone version, too?

  • ridiculocity

    Game looks great!!! EA are a bunch if retards!!! Ive been playing RR3 for 2 weeks and they really screwed that franchise. No doubt this game will suffer the same fate!

  • Misconduct

    Please have llamas! I loved my llama! XD

  • oz9

    This was originally intended as a remake of Ultima 4. It's narrative gameplay was the best of all Ultima's. Unlike most fantasy tripe, it subverted every RPG cliche and didn't feature a kill the foozle storyline, but dealt primarily with morality and embodying the role of the avatar. A true RPG, not a hack n' slash that pervades the genre. It's not comparable to an mmorpg like UO.

    Sunshine's suggestion is also what I had hoped, but they stated even early on, that when it came down to remaking U7 or U4, the simulation of U7 was too complex. It's clear they've now essentially fused a combat heavy co-op hack n 'slash with U4 elements to make it viable as a freemium and multiplayer game. I suspect it will lose the soul of what made U4 great and unique, but I'm curious to see how it works out.

    • Sunshine

      Too complex? That's a sad thought. That thing ran on ancient machines, and didn't take an army to make. I mean, yeah, it was a big project, but with today's tools and modern mobile processors running it, you'd think that making U7 would just about be the development sweet spot.

      I'm gonna go mope now.

      • MrAlbum

        Inventory management was a nightmare in U7. Backpacks carried barrels which had pouches in them which had MORE sacks and coin purses in them. And that could be carried to near-infinite levels of bag space, as long as you did not overburden yourself.

        And that was just the PLAYER's inventory. Consider the rest of the party, who each had individual inventories as well.

        Navigating an Escher drawing is easier than managing inventory in U7. 😛

  • Wizard_Mike

    All this talk about the old Ultima series makes me wonder if an Ultima anthology would work as an iOS release.

    I know I would buy it...

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.bynum.75 Sean Bynum

    Why do people hate on EA? Because they are seen as "the man." Everyone wants to be cool and hate on him.

    The fact is that EA has made some great games, some bad games, and even some mediocre games just like most other companies.

    • MrAlbum

      They have also made some dick-move business decisions that bled over into their games. Doesn't mean the haters are right, but they hate for a reason, ya know.

  • metalmandave83

    I can't wait to play this. I loved UO.

  • gmattergames

    I've been playing Ultima games since they were monochrome and hit c64 and beyond. With each new iteration, especially after UltimaVII, there is outrage at how the IP is being tarnished by its new form. I stopped caring once Garriot sold out, the golden-era was all due to his control and vision, and that even lost its luster near the end.