One of the more enjoyable aspects of convention going is that nocturnal institution called the publisher party. There invitees are plyed with free cocktails and mini egg rolls. Never being on anyone's A list it was a surprise that we managed on getting in to both the K2 Network and Sony Online Entertainment party. After a few drinks I had quite an insightful chat with a long time veteran of Origin Systems Inc..
Origin was a major force in computer gaming in the late 80s and early 90s and developed some of the best original intellectual property of the time including Wing Commander and Ultima. Ultima Online, the first commercially successful MMOG, is still alive and kicking.
There were two false starts in terms of producing a sequel MMOG. The first was a steampunk universe game called Ultima Worlds Online : Origin and the other, Ultima X: Odyssey, was meant to be a direct sequel to Ultima IX. Neither game saw the light of day.
Unknown before last night two failed attempts was not enough and there was even a third go at producing UO sequel. The third attempt was to use The Sims engine, however not long after that project was shelved as well.
EA is releasing a new expansion for UO that is to reinvigorate the game with major UI improvements to the client. According to my somewhat liquor induced anonymous source - this expansion is probably the best chance the public will have in seeing anything done with Ultima franchise for sometime so we might as well enjoy it.
It's also worth noting that EA is putting together a compilation of its classic computer games emulated on the PSP. The main attraction being that Wing Commander is to be part of this collection.
A common criticism of EA, well known for its sports titles, is that the publisher rarely innovates. The company has an incredible library of classic properties. Maybe it's time for EA to revisit these games. What do you think is holding EA back from producing either remakes or sequels to games with older IP? Is the world ready for another Dungeon Keeper game?
I'm curious... you said Ultima Online was the first commercially successful MMOG, yet The Realm came out about 6 months earlier and seemed pretty successful to me when I used to play it. And, as far as I know, it's still around today as well.
MUD came around fifteen years before that.
True. I was thinking of graphical games rather than text-based, or even ASCII/ANSI-based. But, you are correct that MUDs were first. Still, I'm not entirely sure that any were exactly "commerically successful." Perhaps some were. I played various ones over the years, but none were what I would consider to be commercially successful.
Ronald Diemicke Wrote:
Producing remakes and sequels isn't exactly my definition of innovation.
Игги Друге Wrote:
Agreed. There's not a lot of merit in living from past glories.
However, one thing that strikes me from EA is their complete inability to at least "nurture" its stablished fan base, or devoting enough resources to re-packaging their big back catalog in a compelling form. An example would be that mess called Command & Conquer: The First Decade. The source material deserved a much more interesting presentation given the technological advances and the importance that that saga has to the gamers. And what did they do? Just repackage them on a single DVD, and used a generic boring installer routine for the 8 GB package. No commemorative DVD, no extras, nothing. Just a movie DVD that was too short and too shallow.