TWO [Author: lum]

The rumors are finally confirmed.

The official press release is below. You can also check out my interview with Gordon the Tyrant for more information, both on UO2 and UO1. Here’s some salient information, from both the press release, follow up questions to OSI, and the interview with Tyrant:

I’m told Fear of Battle Vortex has an audio interview ready to go, you may want to check there. Jinx of the Chosen apparently knows some things too.

UO2 will use a new 3D engine, with motion-captured models.

UO2 will feature a full suite of community building tools including robust communication software, a comprehensive party/guild system, diverse player-owned property and detailed character customization to ensure that a thriving community emerges.

UO2 will have a beta-testing period. To quote OSI:
“There will be a series of external tests starting in the near future. The testing positions available in the 1st phases of these tests will be open exclusively for applications from current Ultima Online players. Please be sure to sign up on the mailing list and check back here often to stay updated.”

UO2 will not have a PK switch. To quote OSI:
“There is not a switch, but the team addresses PvP/Pkilling in a way that they believe is better.”

UO2 will launch with servers outside the US.

UO2 will use the same volunteer assistance model (counselors etc) as UO1.

Despite earlier rumors, there will be no transfer of characters from UO1 to UO2.

Will UO2 be based in Britannia? You’d think that was a simple question, but OSI had no comment.

Staff of UO2:
Executive Producer: Jeff Anderson
Producer: Starr Long (Blackthorne from UO1)
Lead Designer: Damion Schubert (formerly a designer with Meridian 59)
Lead Programmer: Jeremy Gaffney (formerly lead programmer for Asheron’s Call)
Conceptual Art/Monster Design: Todd McFarlane (creator of Spawn/other comics)

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David Swofford
ORIGIN Systems
dswofford@origin.ea.com

Electronic Arts and ORIGIN Systems Developing
Ultima Online 2
Ultima Online sequel to redefine the meaning of online communities; next generation 3-D engine, easy access and a fantastic virtual world will make UO2 the digital playground for the new millennium

AUSTIN, Texas, September 24, 1999-Two years ago, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) and ORIGIN Systems(tm) ushered in the future of online games with the release of Ultima(tm) Online. Today Electronic Arts’ ORIGIN studio is
preparing to raise the bar one more time with Ultima Online 2 (UO2), currently under development.

“We’ve learned a lot about online entertainment over the past two years since we launched Ultima Online,” said Jeff Anderson, vice president of development at ORIGIN and executive producer for UO2. “But, most important, we learned that we are not just making ‘games’ any more. We’re building virtual worlds that will offer new ways for people to interact, socialize and adventure on the Internet.”

Like the original Ultima Online, community building will be a top priority. UO2 will feature a full suite of community building tools including robust communication software, a comprehensive party/guild system, diverse player-owned property and detailed character customization to ensure that a thriving community emerges.

Ultima Online 2 will also captivate players with its remarkably realistic 3-D graphics engine and beautiful animation (created with state-of-the-art motion capture technology). Players will experience an online world filled
with richly detailed environments, deadly creatures, bizarre technologies and mysterious lands where they can adventure, role-play and build communities.

“One of our primary goals is to make Ultima Online 2 fun, exciting and accessible,” said Starr Long, UO2 producer. “We’re implementing an intuitive interface and easy-to-use tutorials to give players a jump-start on their adventures. We’re also designing UO2 around extraordinary fiction, artwork and animation which will make UO2’s virtual world in a different class from the competition.”

Ultima Online 2 will also feature monsters and characters conceptualized by Producer/Director Todd McFarlane, creator of the award-winning HBO animated series, Spawn. ORIGIN is partnering with Todd McFarlane Entertainment to create an action-figure line of products based on the Ultima Online 2 world.

More information on Ultima Online 2 can be found on the Internet at http://www.uo2.com.

While Ultima Online 2 is still at least a year from completion, its groundbreaking predecessor, the original Ultima Online continues to grow and develop. The product that redefined the massively multiplayer genre currently has more than 134-thousand active subscribers paying $9.95 a month to participate. UO is now played in more than 50 countries located in every time zone. A global server network (17 production servers) and support staff are now co-located on three continents (North America, Asia, Europe). Plans are currently underway to grow Ultima Online’s service even larger. In the next six months, ORIGIN will be rolling out a series of exciting new feature upgrades for current players and new players alike.

Earlier this year, Ultima Online’s popularity rose to new heights as players began to buy and sell UO accounts on Internet auction sites such as eBay. Some players have purchased UO accounts for as much as $3,000.

ORIGIN Systems develops and publishes state-of-the-art entertainment software. To date, the company has released more than 60 titles, including the award winning Ultima, Wing Commander(tm), Privateer(tm) and Crusader series of games. ORIGIN is based in Austin, Texas and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Electronic Arts. More information on ORIGIN products can be found on the Internet at http://www.origin.ea.com.

Electronic Arts, headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world’s leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, Electronic Arts posted revenues of more than $1.2 billion for fiscal 1999. The company develops, publishes and distributes software worldwide for
personal computers and video game systems. Electronic Arts markets its products under seven brand names: Electronic Arts(tm), EA SPORTS(tm), Maxis(tm), ORIGIN(tm) Systems, Bullfrog(tm) Productions, Westwood Studios(tm) and Jane’s\’c2\’ae Combat Simulations. More information about EA’s products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://www.ea.com.

# # #

Electronic Arts, ORIGIN Systems, ORIGIN, Ultima, Wing Commander, Privateer, EA SPORTS, Maxis, Bullfrog and Westwood Studios are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts in the United States and/or other countries.
Jane’s is a registered trademark of Jane’s Information Group, Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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