GameZone Online has published a multi-part article that offers commentary from Richard "Lord British" Garriot about creating the Ultima series and role-playing games as a whole. Here's a nice excerpt from the first installment:
(It's two parts one of which we will call family underpinnings,) he said. (My mother was a professional artist and very involved with kids and the community. She was the local Den Mother and always got us out doing social projects, so to speak, in our community. So there was an underpinning of that already. But the specific circumstances that kind of turned it was Akalabeth and Ultimas 1 and 2 were all sold through another company. Ultima 3 was the first product Origin published, meaning I published, and an interesting thing happened at that time. When you are publishing yourself, it also means that you get all the user commentary. In Akalabeth and Ultima 1 and 2, I never really saw it. When I released Ultima 3, I was stunned by the nature of the letters that Origin would receive based upon the Ultima series.
(There were a variety of kinds. One kind I'll call fan mail. Fan mail in this industry is very interesting in that it is usually one paragraph of '˜hey, I really loved your game,' and then 10 pages of '˜here's what you did wrong, here's how to make it better.' It was both flattering and very critical. But another kind of mail is hate mail very specific hate mail. Especially at the time of the early Ultimas, this was a time when D&D was still growing in popularity and there were a lot of groups running around decrying that these role-playing games were converting their children to devil worship, and so, of course, I was now among those people who was labeled as causing the downfall of society.