The Ultima series of role-playing games are today best known for Ultima Online, a game released way back in 1997, and considered by many to be the game that jump-started the popularity of MMORPG's (massively multiplayer online role-playing games).
Now, according to Eurogamer
, hints have been dropped pointing to a possible new game in the series. Publishers EA yesterday ordered websites to stop distributing the ancient Ultima IV (released in 1985), a game which has been available to users for free since 1997.
The decision to stop free distribution of such an old title, around which a significant modding community has sprung up, leaves many questions.
Then there is also Paul Barnett, Bioware-Mythic creative director who has been talking about “secret projects”, and the news that EA is currently working on an unannounced new MMO title.
All these hints points squarely at a revival of the Ultima brand, a series which to this day attracts a substantial fanbase.
The latest game in the series is still 1997's Ultima Online, created by Richard Garriott. The game has been through several updates and facelifts over the years, and EA did try and resurrect it with a sequel called Ultima Worlds Online: Origin, but the project was unfortunately cancelled in 2001.
If a new game is indeed in the works it will be interesting to see if the rebirth of an industry classic can rise up to challenge WoW's domination of the current MMO landscape.