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Development Info Design document for cancelled Ultima Underworld 3 project unearthed by Origin historian Pix

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Tags: Origin Systems; Ultima Underworld 3

    Back in 2012, we reported that Origin historian Pix had published a story document for a tentative Ultima Underworld 3 project that was proposed at Origin back in 1997. Now, over six years later, Pix has unearthed what appears to be the game's complete design document, giving us a much fuller understanding of what it was meant to be about. I'll let you read his summary:

    It’s now 10 years since I started this blog and also by coincidence (for the most part) this is the 1000th post. To mark the occasion, I thought I’d finally share the last big piece of Origin history I’m still holding onto.

    Some years back, I posted a story document for the proposed Ultima Underworld 3. Since then I’ve managed to get hold of a later design document which has been greatly expanded to include backstory, gameplay and design details. I’m reasonably sure this matches up with the one in the Richard Garriott archives at the University of Texas but without a side by side comparison I’ll never know.

    I’ll let people read it for themselves but to summarise Underworld 3 was going to be built in the Wing Commander Prophecy engine, include multi-player, have a George Oldziey soundtrack (using modified themes composed for the already cancelled Silverheart) and would be set on a whole different world to Britannia.

    The first story document bore little mention of Ultima but this has you crossing swords with an imprisoned Shadowlord who was banished to the world of Jaal in Ultima 5 when the Avatar destroyed his shard. The 3 Shadowlords apparently need to reunite to form into the Guardian which seems to imply this game would have been set some time between Ultima 5 and 7. I much prefer this idea to the Guardian being the Avatar’s dark half but I’m still not entirely convinced.

    There’s some basic details on gameplay including some NPC and monster details (trouser snake?). It’s a glimpse into the game that might have been and is now available to download here.
    The original story document from 2012 sounded suspiciously similar to Ultima IX in places. It's interesting then that there's an entire section in this document explaining how Underworld 3 would have been different from Ultima IX, in particular stating that it was meant to be more casual. Also worthy of note is that although Underworld 3 was going to have outdoor areas, the document explicitly states that it was not a massive open world game. Instead, the developers planned to use an immersive sim-like "fewer levels, more detail" design approach. According to the document, the game was planned for release in Fall 1998, which makes me wonder if there might be a prototype out there somewhere.
     
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  2. RatTower Learned

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    That should make for an interesting read. Just skimmed through it a bit.
    Jaal sounds like something between Pagan and Xeen.
     
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  3. vonAchdorf Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    vonAchdorf
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    (bold type in the original document)
    EA/Origin in 1997.

     
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  4. grimace Learned

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    What are the similarities and differences between the proposed Ultima 3 and the in development Underworld Ascendant?
     
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  5. Bladeract It's Neckbeard Shitlord. Again. Dumbfuck

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    More casual than ultima 9? Is that possible?
     
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  6. karnak Arcane Patron

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    So... Ultima Underworld 3's goal would be to defeat an egomaniac "cultist of Cthulhu", huh?
    Interesting, interesting...
     
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  7. *-*/\--/\~ Savant

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    Eh, I read a few pages and have already seen things like action-packed, broader audience, casual gamers, streamlined... the decline was already starting.:decline:
     
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  8. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    BTW, some info on the Silverheart mentioned in the OP: https://venturebeat.com/community/2012/09/12/chasing-silverheart/
    https://www.wcnews.com/chatzone/threads/origin-games-that-werent-silverheart-march-6-2016.28224/

    Fantasy action-adventure by Chris Roberts created in collaboration with Michael Moorcock, who eventually published the novel anyway: https://www.amazon.com/Silverheart-Michael-Moorcock/dp/159102336X

    http://fmvstory.com/2016/02/silverheart/



    Ah, the 90s.
     
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  9. Bladeract It's Neckbeard Shitlord. Again. Dumbfuck

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    They have cafes in the medieval post apocalyptic wasteland? :lol:

    Even so the cheese actors of low budget 90s shows still trump any network tv today.
     
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  10. Hapax Legomenon Novice

    Hapax Legomenon
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    "How Is This Different From External Competition?"

    "Multiplayer!!!!"

    Ugh. This should've stayed buried.
     
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  11. Fenix Liturgist Vatnik

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    At first I thought Infinitron posted some vintage porn...
     
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  12. Excommunicator Arcane

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    Multiplayer/casual comments aside, everything else sounds quite fun and interesting and it's a shame it wasn't developed
     
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  13. taxalot I request a spice shipment immediately. Patron

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    It's always a shame games weren't developped until you get to play them and then it's a shame they were.
     
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  14. Excommunicator Arcane

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    Nope.
     
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