GameSpot has written up a short preview of Samurai Empire, based upon what's known about the newly announced Ultima Online expansion so far. Check it out:
Ultima Online fans may be excited by the announcement of this new expansion pack, though they may also find the new game's announcement at this time to be strange, considering that EA recently shut down Origin Systems' office in Austin, Texas, and canceled Ultima X: Odyssey, the massively multiplayer game that Origin had been working on previously. When asked about the unusual timing of the expansion pack's announcement, EA representatives explained that the expansion has been in development for quite some time by separate teams and that even after Origin was shuttered, 75 percent of the team from Austin came on board to work on the new game. While the development team still possesses the technology and art assets that were created for Ultima X: Odyssey, it has no plans to use any of it in Samurai Empire. The representatives admitted that Ultima Online itself continues to have "issues" and that the team is currently focused on resolving these issues and expanding and improving Ultima Online, rather than attempting to build a new game. The expansion is scheduled for release later this year.