Richard Garriott Q&A

GameSpot had the opportunity to fire several questions over to Richard "Lord British" Garriott about his induction into the AIAS Hall of Fame, the development of the Ultima franchise, and his upcoming sci-fi MMORPG, Tabula Rasa. A snippet:
Q: Looking at the previous inductees to the Hall of Fame, pretty much all of them are still very active. At the same time, though, the Hall of Fame induction in most fields is kind of a career retrospective. I'm wondering if you worry or concern yourself at all that maybe your largest impact upon the industry has already been made.

A: That thought has at least crossed my mind, and, interestingly, I don't think so. And the reason why I don't think so is because Ultima Online wasn't that long ago. You could have made that argument previous to Ultima Online.

I substantially believe that Tabula Rasa, the game I'm working on right now, is a dramatic departure from all other [massively multiplayer games] that have come before and will revitalize this segment again.

If you look at all online games up until the most recent big ones like World of Warcraft, they are fundamentally in the same model as Ultima Online and EverQuest were in the earliest days. It's just that World of Warcraft is really nicely done. The user interface is expertly crafted, and the visuals are expertly crafted, but the model of its structure is not unusual even after seven years of development since Ultima Online.

I personally find that kind of disappointing and am a bit dumbfounded that people have strayed from that first model so little. Tabula Rasa does not feel at all like one of these current online games. My criticism of all online games to date is that they are all very slow. They're all a level grind. They all reward extraordinary devotion to the game and not much else. And so, even though the segment is still growing at about 100 percent per year, and has since the day Ultima Online launched, I still think that they have only touched on the smallest beginning of a threshold of where it can [exist] as an art form. I hope to prove that with the release of Tabula Rasa.