So Bioware Mythic is making a free to play Ultima game. When I first heard this I was shocked, mainly because of how incredibly stupid this entire plan sounds. It’s proverbially like striking a hornet’s nest that’s already unsettled. How, you may be wondering let me count the ways.
First, it’s Bioware, and to a lesser extent, EA. Bioware Mythic is actually the studio behind Warhammer Online and they’ve been given a Bioware label cause they work on RPGs. Bioware isn’t in good PR territory right now because of ME3, and the fact that’s Bioware is going to be tossed around a lot more than it’s Mythic. The fact that it’s EA can’t really be changed but it’s not gong to win anyone over; in fact it’s part of the problem as it brings me to my next point.
EA bought out Origin(the company, which for some reason they decided to call their online platform) and hasn’t done anything good with it. In fact whenever I see this brought up in discussion it’s some level of disgruntled/angry/remorse/generally not pleasant. So I have to wonder, why? Why does it seem like bringing this up in half hearted ways is going to be do anything productive? Whatever value the IP has is being eroded by two things: time(people who actually care about Ultima are going to become a smaller part of the gaming population as time goes on) and handling it poorly. This game could be generic fantasy rpg no.213 of 2012 and no one would approach this game with ire. But no, instead it’s almost like the purpose of the any of the IP from Origin you hold is just to get people talking about mediocre projects that no one would know about otherwise. But do people actually play these games? All the exposure in the world doesn’t do anything if it doesn’t get you sales, so I honestly want to know, does this actually work?
But wait, this completely bizarre approach to PR also applies to the people working on this game. I’ll let Paul Barnett, the creative director at Bioware Mythic speak for himself on this one:
(Barnett)he compared it to Battleship Potemkin, a 1925 Soviet film that pioneered many techniques that nearly all movies have used since. “I mean, I’m aware that Battleship Potemkin defined modern cinema, but it’s not a great view. You watch it and go, ‘it’s black and white and a bit crap, I’d rather watch something else.’ And that’s basically the problem we’ve been faced with, is how to reimagine and reboot a classic and make it so that there’s a new generation that can have an Ultima.”
This is from a Kotaku article, link
This quote boggles the mind on so many levels. This whole “black and white and a bit crap” is utter nonsense that I hope is only a stereotype rather than actual truth. Go watch Battleship Potemkin, it’s short, it’s good. Moving back on topic, ” black and white and a bit crap” is not how you endear yourselves to fans of the original games, or show that you even value the source material. Also low production value generic action rpg no.213 of 2012 isn’t how you’re going to reboot a classic and provide a new generation with Ultima. This entire thing has left me perplexed, how does this approach being a good idea in the slightest? What is actually gained in the long run from this that’s positive?