A History of Ultima, Concluded and Richard Garriott Interview

Remember when Hardcore Gaming 101 put together the first half of a 15-page history on ORIGIN's classic Ultima series? Well, they've now published the rest of the historical piece, taking us from Ultima VII to Ultima Online and beyond. As a bonus, they've even included an interesting interview with Richard Garriott at the end of their section on the series' compilations and related merchandise:
It's hard to even imagine what programming was like in those days, having to wait while your data went to some hulking giant elsewhere on phone lines. What were you trying to do differently with Ultima I? And how did you and Ken Arnold distribute the workload?

"Hulking" is the right word... by today's standards, unbelievably slow. Coupled with that 300 baud accoustic modem! Ken was my connection to assembly language. Ken wrote the first tile graphic copying routine in assembly for me. While his later work in Ultima music is still great, it was that one subroutine that put Ultima on track!


I've compared the speed of Ultima I and Ultima II on an AppleIIe machine myself. The difference is very noticeable. Back in 1982 your games were briefly distributed by Sierra On-Line, and then you had something of a falling-out with Ken Williams prior to the development of Exodus. Ken Williams' side of the story is in Stephen Levy's book 'Hackers', where it seems like he was wary of independent authors and trying to replace them with traditional hired programmers. What's yours? What wasn't working?

HA! Mine is FAR more basic. THEY QUIT PAYING THE ROYATIES I WAS DUE! My first publisher California Pacific quit paying me because the owner was a major drug user and squandered the money they owed me. Sierra also just up and stopped paying, as they had financial troubles as well. In both cases I brought in my brother Robert to try and collect... never could... so we went into business ourselves, and started Origin!
Great stuff. Here's to hoping the series sees a proper resurrection sooner or later.