For those who are fans of Ultima VII (I’m lookin’ at you, Coyote ;), crispygamer has an interview with Lord British mainly about that game.

His comments on the series are interesting. For instance, he doesn’t believe the first three were really connected, even though you go after Mondain (I), Minax (II, Mondain’s protege), and Exodus (their offspring) in those games.

My own recollections of that trilogy are really hazy by now. Still, it may be his feelings are partially caused by all the changes from game to game. Lord B. was always experimenting, and each of the first three Ultimas had different systems. Also, U3 was the first party-based Ultima.

The next three he thinks are only marginally connected to each other. At most, he tried to pick up where the previous game left off. It wasn’t until he came to VII that he gave real thought to what he wanted to accomplish.

That could explain why V was a weak game (and, I’ve always felt, unfinished) and VI, while interesting, not anywhere as good as IV. In IV, as he makes clear, there was an actual goal, which was to ensure that if the character is a hero, he/she acts that way.

That did tick off some players back in the day. There was no bar to acting in a selfish or evil fashion, but the consequences prevented you from becoming the true Avatar. You can’t be a role model for good while committing theft and murder.

The real world not being divided between glaring white and unrelieved black, Lord B. started looking at ambiguity in the next two games. Since, as noted above, they were on the weak side, he’s probably right that he hadn’t been giving enough thought to what he wanted to do.

The interview also touches on the sale of Origin to EA, which Lord British still thinks was a good thing (can’t agree there). Even though he goes on to remark that: “Ultima VII is actually the final game that was created in what I’d call a full level of independence. There were a lot of other pressures brought to bear that I don’t think necessarily favored my games after that.”

Yeah, they sure didn’t. When I think of the mess that was Pagan (VIII), which was enough to sour the series for me, I can well believe that the games weren’t “favored”. As for Ascension (IX), I didn’t go near it.

This part of the interview winds up with a discussion of the “killer children”, something he’s put in his games since IV. Oddly, this made no impression on me, and I can’t recall them in any other of the Ultimas.

This, by the way, is Part I of the interview with Lord British. I’ll be keeping any eye out for the second one. In the meantime, do check this out.

Eight Virtues in a Duffel Bag on crispygamer