New Garriott RPG Is “The Antithesis” of Modern MMOs
Richard Garriott, the creator of the Ultima series of RPGs, is working on a new RPG that is “the antithesis” of modern MMOs: Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. The game is planned as the first in a series of releases that will blend of single-player, story-driven gaming with multiplayer elements.
The Kickstarter campaign for Shroud of the Avatar begins today, with a PC release date planned for next year.
Speaking with GI International, Garriott explained Shroud as a means to get back to his roots and guide the RPG genre in a fresh direction. He said:
“This is a chance to go back to my roots and do an Ultima-like game, as well as bring in some modern sensibilities to it. Both in what I think is good storytelling technique that we didn’t have in those days, and as well as literal technology that we have now that we didn’t have back in those days. And to rectify a few of the errors that have crept into roleplaying games, or at least some of the things that are way too over-trodden in the last few years.”
Rather than a straightforward singleplayer RPG or MMORPG, Garriott has chosen to create what he calls ‘personalized multiplayer,’ a blend of the two. He explained:
“Even though it’s a story-driven, solo player experience – you can even play it offline if you wish – if you ever connect online there are persistent things about the world that will be uploaded to you. There are no shards of reality; there is one copy of the metagame of the story. Everyone’s in the same world. If you log on just once a month, you’ll have downloaded the current state of affairs of ownership and the current blueprint of people’s houses. Everyone that has a shop that sells things, whatever it is that has been built up in the world you’ll get to see. Your world will advance because of the contributions of other players.”
There were technical reasons why Garriott chose to avoid the pure MMO route as well, however. He said:
“There is no server where everyone that is connected that happens to walk onto the same map will all see each other. If you do that it’s terribly complicated and it’s largely a waste of time for you. If you’re walking on the streets of New York you don’t really care about most of the people going by the other way. The only people you care about are the people you’ve met before or you are likely meet again in the future. We can determine that by whatever information you’re willing to give us, and if you’re not willing to give us information we’ll use a heuristic to pull people into your current play space. It’s much cheaper, for you and for us, and much more likely to be relevant to you.”
Garriott described the design of Shroud of the Avatar as “the antithesis of what people have been doing with MMOs these last few years. They not only build every stitch of technology from scratch, they build a giant world, and they build them all in the exact same horrifically difficult but no longer impressive model. At one time it was brilliant, but now they’re all the same.”