Richard Garriott on Tabula Rasa
The Escapist‘s Dana Massey has an interview with Richard Garriott, better known to some as Lord British. The unconventional genius behind the Ultima series and founder of Origin. Garriott speaks on his past works and his new project Tabula Rasa, an MMO.
Listing Time Bandits, Star Wars and Tolkien as influences in his work, Garriott worked on the Ultima series over twenty years climaxing with Ultima IX. He managed to evolve Britania as a living breathing world rich in history of its own. Now he seeks to develop that kind of life for Tabula Rasa in one fell swoop.
Garriott is focusing on effective story telling in one of the most challenging arenas, MMOs. His story focuses on “The Hero’s Journey”.
Even though ostensibly the story is about accomplishing the great goal of solving the world’s problems, the real and important story is about the main character, where that main character actually has to grow and rise above their own personal demons, personal challenges or personal failings to become the person that is worthy and capable of solving the Great Problem. And so the Great Problem is really secondary in a way. That is what I think most games missed out on.
The goal with Tabula Rasa is to tell a story that inspires the player to become emotionally invested in their character. They should also come to know their opponet and find him worthy of opposing.
When asked what compelled him to work with MMOs, Garriott replies, “For me, the compelling reason to be in MMOGs vs. solo-player games comes from what I believe is a fundamental human need to share experiences.”
Garriott concludes that although he is invested in working with MMOs currently, he can easily see himself returning to single player RPGs or the next new trend or genre.