Note, this post is being dual-posted to RPGComplex.com as well.
It is like a car crash in the making. How can you not look? That’s how I felt when I saw Shroud of the Avatar go up on Kickstarter. I gleefully put in my $25 in order to get a front seat view at the wreckage that will surely follow. And now more than 22,000 other people have followed suit and given Richard Garriott more than $2 million dollars in order to ensure that this car wreck happens. So far, Garriott has not disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong, I am fond of the Ultima Series and think very highly of Ultima Online as well. But there is no doubt, Richard Garriott is one crazy dude. The sad thing is, I understand some of his craziness. I mean got a ton of money? What better way to spend it than to build a home with tons of secret passages and fly into space? I might not go bankrupt doing it like he did, but I can’t think of a much better way of going bankrupt.
But you just sit and listen to that boy talk. This was affirmed recently with his comments that “most game designers really just suck.” Again, I don’t entirely disagree with some of the points he makes, it is just how he says it here. But really what takes out the crazy is when he said “I’ve met virtually no one in our industry who I think is close to as good a game designer as I am.” Wow Really? I don’t even think you are top 10 designer… most good game designers come up with more than 1 game idea. And yes every single Ultima is the same game. Had Will Wright only come up with Simcity and Simcity 2000, he would likely not have been in the halls of great game designers.
Shroud of the Avatar is essentially a merger of Ultima X and UO2. It might be as great as Ultima VII or Ultima Online, or it might be as bad as Ultimate Collector or Tabula Rasa. I have a feeling it will creep more to the latter rather than the former. It doesn’t matter to me, I paid for the show not the result. The show is when he sticks his foot in his mouth, or the awkward youtube videos where he talks about the game and how great he was in the good ol’ days. If the product turns out to be halfway decent, that is a bonus.