Kickstarter Campaign Goes Live For “Ultimate RPG”
As we predicted earlier in the week, industry legend Richard Garriott has announced a new Role-Playing Game titled Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. The project, which aims to go back to Garriott’s “fantasy RPG roots” that were at the heart of his Ultima series, has also begun a Kickstarter campaign to help fund its development. We have the initial pitch video above, along with more details for you to mull over after the jump.
With SOTA, Garriott and his team at Portalarium hopes to focus on what made the Ultima series as revered as it was among players and critics alike. In this spiritual successor to his Garriot's previous work, players will be able to create a classless character to build up whatever virtual representation they wish, even going as far as being able to be a homeowner or trader should they wish to. This freedom also extends to the story that will be present in the game, with Garriott’s aim to not hold the hand of the player and let them progress through the game at their own pace. Players will use a top-down world map to explore and travel long distances, entering a third-person perspective upon entering a town, dungeon, or enemy encounter. Additionally, Forsaken Virtues would be the but the first story arc for the game, with more to come further down the line if the Kickstarter is successful.
In the livestream being hosted by Rooster Teeth, Garriott explained that enemies will have their own agenda, attacking towns to disrupt players instead of waiting to be killed. On top of this, items that look like they should be interactive (such as pianos) will be usable by the player. Garriott hopes that by combining this feeling of dynamic content with a story that can be experienced at the players own pace, it will help capture that Ultima-esque essence and excitement that he feels modern RPGs have lacked (insinuating that they have become too linear and focused on graphical production.)
Player housing, a fondly remembered component of Ultima Online, will also be available but in a more limited fashion. Two types of places to live will be available - towns being safer places to live (but at a cost of higher taxes) that will allow for larger homes and shops, whilst frontier towns will allow for lucrative opportunities at the cost of smaller structure sizes and dangers from the wilds. In the livestream over on Rooster Teeth, Garriott admitted that housing plots will be limited, and their price will probably inflate as time goes by, but the developers would be able to add in new towns and villages as they needed to.
Interestingly, SOTA will be first and foremost a single player experience, but multiplayer elements will be available. Garriott was careful to point out that it would not be an MMO, but the servers would group up friends with each other to form communities. How this (for lack of a better term) shard/phasing system will work with persistent housing remains to be seen, but we should hopefully be learning more about it in the coming weeks, along with details on “meaningful PvP that also minimizes griefing,” and a “crafting system that avoids busy work.”
The crowd-funding goal that Garriott is aiming for is $1,000,000, with over $150,000 already pledged in the space of 2 hours. Overall it’s a rather ambitious project, with many developers over the last 20 years having attempted to replicate the magic of the Ultima series, but will this be different with the man who effectively gave the industry the RPG genre at the helm? We’ll have to wait and see, but we here at Dealspwn will be sure to keep you posted on the progress of the Kickstarter campaign over the next month. For more information on SOTA you can either head over to the official website or click the Kickstarter widget below. After that though, we have a bunch of early screenshots for your embiggening and viewing pleasure.