In a recent chat with Eurogamer Richard 'Lord British' Garriott, creator of the Ultima franchise, has commented on what he thinks went wrong with Ultima VIII and his MMO Tabula Rasa, and, according to him, it turns out it was a problem of time with both of them:
"We started the game by bringing on a lot of staff by our Asian partner, and we decided to create a game that we believed could be popular in Asia. And we spent the first couple of years trying to create a game that had Asian style and Asian influence to make sure that we could be popular in Asia. But we kept getting feedback - accurate feedback I believe - from our Korean counterparts that said, 'You know what, when you guys try to do Asian pagodas or Asian armour or weapons, it never feels domestic, it always feels like a foreigner making stuff for us.'
"After two years of trying we eventually abandoned the idea of trying to create a global intellectual property and decided to turn back on something we ourselves would make for ourselves.
"So Tabula Rasa started its two-year late restart under exceptionally unusual pressures and with understandable corporate discontent, which made it very difficult to finish."
"We shipped Ultima 8 more or less on time, but the only way we got there was by really cutting out huge swathes of the game all the way to the point where the cloth map was completely unrelated to the map of the real game because we threw out so many bits and pieces of it. So Ultima 8 was, frankly, unfinished - I mean dramatically unfinished. And in hindsight I look at it and go, if we'd really just finished it properly - even the movement, the jumping that was in the game - had we done it less hacked and more accurately, we would have had a Diablo-style success a year or so before Diablo.
"Too bad, spilt milk," he rued, "I get the blame - I get the appropriate blame, I'm the top of the food chain. It was my decisions. But that's my excuse or rationalisation."