Tabula Rasa, before Ultima Online, before any of the Ultimas, Richard Garriott had a vision for what he called the "ultimate" RPG. In a lengthy Facebook post, Garriott takes us back to 1974 when he first got the idea for such a game after being influenced by Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons. Starting with BASIC games on his school's teletype and moving up through the modern era of MMOs, Garriott details how he's been pursuing a dream of creating and refining one RPG to rule them all.
He doesn't have kind words for how Ultima Online's shaped up since his absence, however, saying that elements like Elves and Ninjas were added against his wishes.
"This is only a small example of why and how Ultima has drifted away from Richard Garriott, but I have not drifted away from Ultima," he writes. "It is clear to me that I, Richard Garriott, am an essential ingredient of at least the Ultimate Ultima, if not more broadly the Ultimate RPG. Perhaps one day, now that the people who pushed me out of EA more than a decade ago are long since gone, EA will recognize that together, we could rebuild that franchise in a way that they have failed to do in the intervening years. Richard Garriott is an essential ingredient in the Ultimate Ultima!"
He ends his passionate speech with a few glimpses into the design for this "ultimate" RPG that he and his team are currently designing: "You will have customized Avatar homesteads and real roles to play in a deep, beautifully realized highly interactive virtual world. It will have virtues and the hero's journey reflected back to the player. It will have the best of synchronous and asynchronous features in use. Fiction will support your arrival from earth into this new world. I even hope to make maps, coins and other trinkets available to players of the game."