E3 2014: Portalarium Releases New Shroud of the Avatar Trailer

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

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Portalarium has released an E3 2014 trailer for their upcoming crowdfunded MMORPG Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues (which we spotlighted during its initial campaign). The trailer shows a montage of pre-alpha gameplay footage depicting environments, fights, crafting, player homes…

…and even a bit of whimsy.

Shroud of the Avatar - E3 2014 Trailer - Backer Coconuts 1 Shroud of the Avatar - E3 2014 Trailer - Backer Coconuts 2 Shroud of the Avatar - E3 2014 Trailer - Pub Dancing
No, on second thought, let’s not go to Camelot New Britannia. It is a silly place.

Ultima fans may recognize the voice of the narrator. It’s actor Bill Johnson, who played the villainous Guardian in the later Ultima games.

Ultima VIII - The Guardian

Shroud of the Avatar is being spearheaded by Portalarium co-founder Richard Garriott. Garriott (known to his fans as Lord British) programmed his first RPG between 1975 and 1977 on a teletype (!), released the first Ultima for the Apple II in 1981, founded developer and publisher Origin Systems in 1983, and produced Ultima Online, one of the earliest popular MMORPGs, in 1997. (If you can believe Wikipedia, Garriott himself invented the genre name.) More recently, in 2007, he helped design the science-fiction MMORPG Tabula Rasa. Ultima Online runs to this day.

Ultima (1987 DOS Version) - Battle
Ultima (1987 DOS Version)

Ultima Online (1997) - The Death of Lord British
Ultima Online (1997)

Tabula Rasa (2007) - Battle
Tabula Rasa (2007)

Shroud of the Avatar (2014 Pre-Alpha) - E3 2014 Trailer - Lightning Attack
Shroud of the Avatar (2014 Pre-Alpha)

All the Ultima games up to Ultima IX (and except, of course, for Ultima Online) are available from GOG.com. Ultima IV is free.

Described as a “selective multiplayer RPG,” Shroud of the Avatar will be playable both offline and online. Offline, the game will be a single-player experience, which the trailer promises will offer “the storytelling you can only find in a classic Ultima.” Online, the game will offer three modes: Solo, Friends, and Open. Offline and online characters will be kept separate.

Shroud of the Avatar - E3 2014 Trailer - Dungeon (Offline) Shroud of the Avatar - E3 2014 Trailer - Party Walking

Forsaken Virtues will be the first of five planned episodes. Portalarium estimates it will be ready by the end of 2014, with the next four episodes coming out yearly thereafter.

Shroud of the Avatar is being developed in Unity for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. The game is currently in pre-alpha, which backers are given access to whenever a build becomes available. Portalarium is still accepting pledges, which start at $45 USD. New and existing backers can get a $20 USD credit toward any tier using a coupon from Alienware (which demoed its Alpha living room gaming PC earlier today). To learn more, visit the official Shroud of the Avatar website.

What are your impressions of Shroud of the Avatar so far? If you’ve played the offline Ultima games, Ultima Online, or Tabula Rasa before, do you think Lord British can pull off another RPG?

About Oscar Tong

Oscar joined oprainfall late September 2012 in response to a recruitment drive. He quickly discovered his job was much harder than he had anticipated. Despite the constant challenge, he has come to enjoy his responsibilities.

When he is not scrambling to meet a deadline, Oscar enjoys story-driven games with a strong narrative. He is especially fond of computer adventure games, role-playing games, and visual novels. He hopes the world will one day awaken to the power of video games as a storytelling medium.