Lord British himself, Richard Garriott, began his Kickstarter project this morning for the Ultima-inspired RPG Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. Aiming for a $1,000,000 Kickstarter goal, the project has already accrued over $100,000 in backing hours after launch. What sort of game is Shroud of the Avatar? Consider it an idealistic RPG that focuses on player choice and immersion, weaving the player into the experience as opposed to pushing them down any single path.
Since Richard Garriott's last major title, Tabula Rasa, in 2007 and the subsequent closure of the game and the legal battle that followed, Lord British has been missing from the gaming landscape. It's interesting and exciting to find him here, on Kickstarter of all places, pitching an independently developed RPG that returns to his developer roots. Having Garriott himself sit, with his snake-charm necklace and his button down shirt with a few too many buttons down, and ask fans to support him is beyond surreal.
Here's a shortlist of promised content and features, as taken from the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter page:
- Fully interactive virtual world - If it looks usable, it should do something
- Deep original fiction - Ethical parables, cultural histories, fully developed alternate language text
- Physical game components will be available - Cloth map, fictional manuals, trinkets
- Multiplayer Online Game - which can also be played solo player / offline
Additional features include a classless character system that doesn't tie players down to any single class, player housing which can be summed up like this: "Be aware though, that the most valuable properties are available to very limited number of players and will likely be in high demand!" Of course, there will also be a complex crafting system and it wouldn't be Ultima without PvP -- though griefing will be kept to a minimum.
Planned for release on PC, Mac and Linux, Shroud of the Avatar currently has no tentative release window. For further information make sure to check out the game's Kickstarter page and support the project if you so choose. Otherwise, check out Garriott's pitch video below