Ultima Online has enjoyed a storied history since its release in 1997. It was the first MMORPG to reach the 100,000 subscriber base. It may be hard to view that statistic as impressive when MMO subscriptions these days reach into the millions, but keep in mind that Ultima Online was released back when you were probably in middle school and a mega-titan like World of Warcraft had yet to be conceived.
Now the Ultima world is coming back in the free-to-play online game Ultima Forever for PC and iPad.
As if 1997’s Ultima Online wasn’t far enough in antiquity for you, Ultima Forever is based on the 1985 RPG classic Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar.
First details of the game currently in development under Electronic Arts and Bioware Mythic emerged on IGN last month. It features the RPG-favorite isometric perspective made famous by Baldur’s Gate and Diablo and includes hours of quests, monster battles, dungeon crawls and character choices. The game features a multiplayer-focused leveling system that encourages group play. Your character’s “Sacrifice” stat is affected by helping other players, and there is a feature in place that allows higher-level, older characters to drop down in level in order to help newer, low-level players.
What is most refreshing to multiplayer enthusiasts and Ultima fans is the news that Ultima Forever will support cross-platform play. PC players can jump into games with iPad players, and your content can be shared interchangeably between the two platforms. Away from your gaming rig? Go mobile and resume your adventure on your iPad.
The game will be free to play and will also feature in-game transactions that players can make to improve their character’s appearance and statistics. Mobile developer Mad Finger Games drew the ire of several gamers when it introduced in-app transactions to its zombie shooter Dead Trigger, but the frustration is largely unjustified. EA and Bioware Mythic are already doing the gaming community a favor by bringing such an adored franchise free to players and offering so many wonderful features. It appears they’ve earned the right to include in-game transactions.
Ultima Forever doesn’t appear to have a release date at this time, but the news about this title seems to be ramping up. But be sure to sign up for the beta over at Ultima Forever’s website. Frisky Mongoose will be keeping an eye on this hotly anticipated F2P game and will keep you up to date.