Rant: Why Ultima Forever Is Doomed
I know right away what some of you are thinking. Is he really calling a game that was just announced doomed to fail? Yes, I am. Like a lot of people, when I heard the announcement that there was going to be a new Online Ultima game in developement, my ears perked up. Finally after all this time one of the highest-held IPs in the MMO space is going to get some love and brought back. Sweet!
Then I actually started reading specifics and realized that the devil was indeed in the details. Let me walk you through how exactly I arrived here.
If you have been following EA / Mythic / Bioware the last few years, their presence in the MMO space has not been a very good one. I've been chronicled the failings of Warhammer Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic for quite some time here. Both of these games were based upon wildly successful IPs and it's safe to say at this point that both of them ended up as failures. In the instance of the TOR many gamers and observers easily predicted that the several hundred million dollar MMO heavily banking on voice-acting and one-time story content was a recipe for disaster. While many of us in the community here were scratching our heads dumbfounded how someone in EA did not see this coming, let me flashback to October of 2011. Someone on the inside actually did see this coming as some may remember, under the guise of "EA Louse", he blogged about how the management and design of the project was a recipe for diaster...
"And Bioware? Don’t make me laugh. They’ve spent more money making the Old Republic than James Cameron spent on Avatar. Shit you not. More than $ 300 million! Can you believe that?
And you know what they’re most proud of? This is the kicker. They are most proud of the sound. No seriously. Something like a 20Gig installation, and most of it is voiceover work. That’s the best they have. The rest of the game is a joke. EA knows it and so does George Lucas,they’re panicking , and so most of Mythic has already been cannibalized to work in Austin on it because they can’t keep pushing back launch.
Old Republic will be one of the greatest failures in the history of MMOs from EA. Probably at the level of the Sims Online. We all know it too ……"
During the blog in which these statements are made, EA Louse explains that he himself is slated to get layed-off shortly, and then goes on to explain various personell in the mangement who are failing, going all the way back to Warhammer Online before Mark Jacobs departed Mythic. Ironically many of these managers to this day still have their jobs while the lower level people are getting axed. While the entire read is very eye-opening, one of these names should jump out at you...
"Oh yeah, and he needed Paul Barnett. You know him as the crazy British dude that appears in random videos at EA to promote his latest bullshittery. We know him as the crazy British dude who we have no idea of how he still has a job. This man was supposed to be the savior of Warhammer’s vision and design. Now all he can do is promote his strange ideas about his little secret project web Ultima game that’s been almost universally criticized by all of us and focus groups. What’s that? You didn”t know Paul loves one of those old Ultima games sooooo much he’s making a literal copy of it for Facebook? Well, the cats outta the bag. Too bad it sucks ass."
So it looks like the same person with their fingerprints over the WAR diaster and the TOR debacle will be slithering off to Ultima to lay waste to yet another famous IP that MMO gamers hold in high regard. Does anyone see a pattern here? EA Louse layed it out exactly how all of this was going to play out and nailed it 100%. Common sense does seem to exist inside the company, and yet somehow these are the type of people getting put out of a job while the people making the horrid design decisions get shuffled off to another project.
I reported in a previous blog post that EA's market value has lost upwards of 50% since the launch of the TOR. These guys are in a market free fall and the people responsbile for screwing up all these big projects are still sitting in the driver's seat. The powers that be at EA need to do a serious house cleaning of the decision makers instead of butchering the staff that actually works well. The investors should be calling for their heads. As for Ultima Forever, here's his vision...
Doomed I tell you, doomed.
Co-Leader of Inquisition