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The Decline of Origin Systems, as seen through the eyes of artist Denis Loubet
People News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 26 February 2013, 17:47:00Tags: Origin Systems; Ultima
One of the iconic figures of Origin Systems, developers of the Ultima series and countless other famous games, was the artist Denis Loubet. Denis was responsible for much of the artwork of Origin's games, going back to the box art of 1979's Akalabeth, and all the way up to Ultima IX: Ascension's admittedly impressive introduction movie.
Last month, the Ultima Codex reported that Denis was launching a new initiative, Drawmycharacter. Drawmycharacter will be "your one-stop site to get your RPG character, or anything you can imagine, drawn by hand-picked professional artists". It hasn't actually launched yet, and apparently a Kickstarter fundraiser may be in the cards.
But that's not what this newspost is about. Denis Loubet has been telling the world the story of his career on Drawmycharacter's Facebook page, and there are some interesting details to be gleaned there. Since this is the RPG Codex, I'll quote his post about the decline of Origin and the end of his long tenure there in 1997.
This negative opinion of Origin in its later years has also been shared by other former employees, such as designer Harvey Smith and writer Sheri Graner Ray. These comments by Kenneth Kully of the Ultima Codex are particularly instructive:
Insane stuff. It seems to me that the people at Origin gradually became so obsessed with living up to their slogan "We Create Worlds" that they forgot that their actual job was to create games.