Richard Garriott Interview, Part Two

WarCry has tossed up another installment to their ongoing interview with NCsoft's Richard Garriott, though this time the Ultima creator only answers two questions. Here's half of the first:
Q: You've mentioned that you're not necessarily trying to evangelize on either side, but you have also said in the past that you've occasionally been accused of preaching. So a couple questions. One, do you think you preach? And secondly, even if you did preach, would that necessarily be bad in a video game?

A: I work hard to not take very many, if any positions, but there is no question, I know for a fact that I do on some subjects. I can give you a case study on that. If you look at the cover of Ultima VIII, the cover of Ultima VIII has a pentagram on the cover of it. That was something I insisted by on the front of the cover, but interestingly a lot of retail outlets wouldn't carry. And so we actually had to make a second version of the box to put on store shelves at certain stores because they thought that a pentagram was so potentially inflammatory that they wouldn't carry the box if it continued to have a pentagram on the front. And that fed directly into the reason I put it on the cover. If you look at the actual, true history of a pentagram - which interestingly even has a little bit to do with Tabula Rasa. The pentagram, that shape is actually carved into the architecture of a large number of old European cathedrals and prior to the 14th century, the pentagram was actually seen a very positive symbol. It was seen, prior to the Knight's Templar - which a lot of people have heard about them since the da Vinci Code - it was seen as a very deific, godly symbol. It was the King of France, who had borrowed millions and millions of dollars from the Knights Templar and couldn't pay them back and so, as they were pressuring to get repayment, what he did instead of repaying them was he charged them with idol worship and ran them out of his country. The idol he claimed they were worshipping was the pentagram and ever since the middle of the 14th century, pentagrams have now had the contex of being "evil". In my mind, and now again I'm exposing a personal bias, but a lot of people ignorant of the history actually find the pentagram to be scary, demonic or having to do with witchcraft. But because I felt that personally that was kind of a simplistic interpretation of the simple, I therefore put it in the game specifically to talk about that and challenge people's assumptions and to try and get them to think of their pat answer of 'hey I was raised to believe this is evil and so therefore it is evil', but really to go hey, is it really? Go look it up, go research the history and then decide whether you really think its evil or not. So in that way, I did have a personal bias on that particular, exact subject.