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'Ultima' creator wants to 'reinvent' the genre with new fantasy RPG

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Shroud of the Avatar
Shroud of the Avatar

Kickstarter is becoming the go to place for well-known video game developers looking to return to their roots, and Ultima creator Richard Garriott is the latest to join that group. Garriott — also known as Lord British — has launched a campaign to fund a role playing game called Shroud of the Avatar, a title he believes will "reinvent the classic fantasy role-playing experience."

The game, which is slated for release on PC, Mac, and Linux, will be playable both online and off, but Garriott is aiming for a more intimate experience than games like World of Warcraft. "We find that ten thousand people in a virtual world are ten thousand strangers running around past you that you, frankly, ignore anyway," he told Polygon. "We really want to increase the probability of you not only running into your friends, but running into people who have common experience or interest with you."

"Ten thousand people in a virtual world are ten thousand strangers."

The focus of Shroud of the Avatar appears to be on both storytelling and player choice, and the team claims that your behaviour in the game will determine how events unfold. Other key features include flexible character creation tools, a deep crafting system, and what's described as a "persistent shared world" to explore. And, in the spirit of classic computer games, the experience will be augmented with physical goods, like a cloth map and other trinkets.

Garriott is looking to raise $1 million to fund development, and the Kickstarter is already more than half way to its goal with several weeks remaining — and despite a few close calls from other prominent developers, he seems pretty confident the crowdfunding campaign will succeed. "I hope that we raise a few, but even if we raise a million I think that's sufficient for us to accelerate our plans sufficiently to start delivering content to players this fall," he told Polygon.