Each person has a core of underlying values that contribute
to his or her system of beliefs, ideas and opinions. With Ultima Forever: Quest of the Avatar, Bioware Mythic aims to
take players on a journey of self-discovery by testing the very fibre of their
morality. Where other role-playing games offer gamers the option to choose
between good or evil, Ultima can only be won by being virtuous.
"It's a heroic, high fantasy game and we assume that you're going
to be good — but there are multiple ways to be good. Do you want to be kind or
do you want to be fair? Games can ask these kinds of sophisticated
questions." Ultima Forever
lead designer Kate Flack.
Starting as either a fighter or a mage (a druid and paladin
class are coming later), your hero sets out on a quest to become the Avatar, a
person who embodies what are known as the eight Virtues.
The virtue levelling system was first introduced in Ultima IV (1985), where the goal of the
game was to practice them and become a moral exemplar. Ultima creator, Richard
Garriott, aka Lord British, explained that his motives in designing the virtue
system were to "build on the fact that games
were provoking thought in the player, even unintentionally." As a designer,
he "wasn't interested in teaching any specific lesson; he wanted players to think about the
consequences of their actions." The original virtue system in Ultima was
partially inspired by the 16 ways of purification which lead to Avatarhood in
Hinduism. The Eight Virtues explored in Ultima are Honesty, Compassion,
Valor, Justice, Sacrifice, Honor, Spirituality, and Humility. These Eight
Virtues are based on the Three Principles of Truth, Love, and Courage. Garriot drew on his interpretation of
characters from The Wizard of Oz, with the Scarecrow representing truth, the
Tin Woodsman representing love, and the Cowardly Lion representing courage.
An example of how to level up the “Sacrifice" virtue
would be for a higher level player to assist a lower level player. This is
accomplished by the higher level player temporarily lowering his abilities in
order to enter a dungeon with the lower player. Upon completion the player will
gain significantly less rewards than the lower tier player, but he or she will
progress in Sacrifice virtue.
On your quest to become the ultimate avatar of virtue you
will be faced with decisions unlike any you’ve encountered in the virtual world
of gaming. Every interaction with non-player characters as well as with other
players that populate the world of Ultima will result in the shaping of your
Ultima Forever will be released on both PC and iPad, with
players able to move from one to the other as they choose. The game can be played
as a complete single player adventure, or you can join up with fellow heroes in
the quest to become the embodiment of all that is virtuous. The game will also
be free to play. Sign up for the closed beta here.
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