IndustryGamers has tossed up a two-page interview with Mythic Entertainment's Josh Drescher and Calvin Crowner about the upcoming Ultima Online: Stygian Abyss expansion pack, the future of Warhammer Online, their merging with BioWare, and more.
IndustryGamers: Tell me a little bit about the game's eighth expansion, Ultima Online: Stygian Abyss.
Calvin Crowner: From a timeline perspective, it's between contemporary Ultima Online and after Ultima VI: The False Prophet, which introduced the gargoyles. So what you have is the gargoyle race trying to connect to Britannia; their queen has saved them all but they don't have enough resources to survive, and that's when they find the path to the Abyss which rests between their land and the overworld. There, you'll find stuff from the earlier Ultimas and Ultima Underworld, and if you look at an old Ultima Underworld map, you can see where we've taken a lot of the same shape and architecture.
Josh Drescher: Ultima Online has been around for 12 years and the Ultima franchise has been around for 30 years. What we've done in Ultima Online over the past dozen years is that we've expanded what people can do in that world and we've tried to take into account the 30 years of history. The biggest deal [for the expansion] is to introduce a playable race. It gives me a chance to get back to the roots of the classic franchise and connect with the lore of Ultima.
IG: Switching gears for a little bit, I'm curious about Mythic's future plans for Warhammer Online- will there be an expansion?
JD: Oh yeah. It remains a priority for the studio, and we're working closely with BioWare to see where EA games logo wants to go with it. Ray Muzyka from BioWare has a very long term plan for the future and we've had to think further into the future because of that. Most of existence, our studio has been on a shoestring budget so we couldn't think far ahead, but we just finished up a major patch for Warhammer Online and there's a lot of stuff we're thinking about improving and enhancing the gameplay experience and guaranteeing that product lives up to the legacy of the Warhammer franchise. You should expect an expansion in the near future.