Even if you have to call him giggles or something like that I would love to find a horribly disfigured jester who somehow journeyed into the underworld.
Wouldn’t even need to use a name. Could be a skeleton with a jester’s hat, and a nearby memora containing some Chuckles style jokes. I really like that kind of narrative level design, which tells a story non-explicitly.
However, as I understand it, EA has been pretty firm that nothing from the Ultimas may appear in UA, period. Yes, Ultima references would be lovely, but no, not even as casual references. Not monsters, weapons, characters, spells, rune names… Not even monsters that the Ultimas took from other mythoses, like goblins, giant rats, giant spiders.
Slugs, yeah. Lurkers, yeah. Cabirus, yeah. They were Underworld things. There’re tons of other Underworld-only characters that could be worked in (Bishop, Altara…), but we’re unlikely to see them until later games. I for one would love to meet them again.
But a skeleton with a jester’s hat, or a crossbow and a harp, or anything recognizable as an Ultima reference, probably won’t fly.
Good idea, or any other references to the Ultima Underworld games would make me happy. We can’t have the troll make stew again, so instead we find his corpse with the recipe near him, or the book about everything the Avatar needs to know about sex, just to name a few examples.
Practical Jokes: Chapter 1, Exploding books. He he he…
Wait, aren’t the runes in-game? Or am I just forgetting that they have different names.
While it makes some sort of sense that EA are not allowing references I have to question why? It’s a series about 20 years dead, is someone really paying close attention to this game? Who? What pathetic “suit” is stroking a furry animal from an impressive black leather chair looking out over a bustling city at midnight while he keeps an eye of UA?
My little theory is the devs don’t want dorky lame ultima in their game. I love both series and would like them to stay connected. The avatar had his loyal companions in UU2. Why can’t they be in UA? Yes I know the history about underworld being its own game first and the sequel being built from the ground up as ultima but the explanations for the legalities don’t add up to me.
Because otherwise this isn’t even a spin off. It’s like a cover band covering how another cover band cover songs whilst dressed in disguise as some other cover band.
How in the world can EA complain about UA have goblins, spiders etc. What if the game has shoes? you know like you wear shoes, or a skeleton wears shoes? I guess otherside will be sued into oblivion because they referenced shoes. wtf?
The Ultimas’ runic alphabet (An, Bet, Lor, …) was what you might charitably call “inspired by” real life historical runic languages like Elder Futhark, but mostly the runes were randomly selected because they looked cool, which did nothing but teach people (including me!) very bad runic habits.
The UA runic alphabet (Ansuz, Berkanan, Dagaz, …), on the other hand, is a delight: I became more impressed as I researched it deeper. They really put in the work in making it “correct”. Anyone who knows about real-life runes will have no problems reading these, and anyone who learns these runes will end up knowing more about real runes.
If you check the list at that link, you’ll see that each name is a link to that rune’s page on Wikipedia, showing basically the same name, meaning, associations, collation order, phonetic sound, and more. Heck, you will in most cases be able to guess the correct Unicode codename for the glyph.
OSE’s runemaster was @Tim who, on being complimented on his careful research, just shrugs and says it was his sources (including the GURPS devs Steffan O’Sullivan and Brett Slocum) who did all the legwork. Yes, that’s how research works. If you don’t use preexisting sources, then it’s no longer research, it’s making stuff up, and that’s what went wrong in the Ultimas!
He’s also freaking lying! He’s trying to imply that all he did was a coarse hack-job from GURPS, but no: it’s clear looking over the history of changes in the game that intelligent, well-researched changes were made to the UA alphabet as game development went on:
They also renamed Naudiz -> Nauthiz and Radhio -> Raido, and all those renames are valid and correct, just changing from one widely-used spelling to another.
So, I’m sorry Tim: you got caught doing a good job with this, and you can’t pass the buck: you did good, so there
The nice thing is that every character of this alphabet gets, essentially for free, a much richer lore of associated meaning and implied history than the Ultima alphabet attained over many games.
We all wonder the same, and have been wondering this for 20 years.
As I understand it, OSE has had to make changes to their design requested by EA. This is not an OSE thing: this is an EA thing. OSE would love to put more references that people would recognize. They cannot.
EA probably can’t. In fact, spiders at least were apparently considered for a while, and really would have added a whole extra element of verticality to combat in large open spaces. Or should I say, NOPEn spaces:
But OSE seems to want to avoid any signs of similarity, which makes a whole lot of sense. If EA does decide to say “eh… that part is a bit too Ultima-like” then OSE are out all the time and money that was spent on creating that part, since they will have to rework it. Oh, sure, they could take it to court, but that… no.
So they have to weigh the value of taking the risk to insert, say, a goblin tribe, against the risk that adding it in will cause someone in EA to go “oh, that’s getting a little Ultima-ish…”, and weigh the value of doing that, against the risk of the game dying or being less because they took that risk, compared to the value of making the village using something safe like lizardmen.
With your example shoes, risk is low enough to be negligible, and can be ignored, so long as there’s no effort made explicitly to copy specific Ultima shoe-styles.
With specific characters like Chuckles, risk is too high and reward too low (a brief smile from those of us who remember him) to be worth putting in even a reference, compared to the similar rewards for putting a reference to an Underworld-only character like Cabirus.
So we do see some kinda-references to Ultima beasts, but they are very, very carefully done:
Skeletons -> Skeletons. Negligible risk, hopefully! :D
Headlesses -> Headless skeletons.
Wisps -> “Will o’ the Wisp”, those floating jellyfish you see around:
Reapers -> Rippers, now n-shaped rather than tree-stump shaped. Here’s what they looked like in earlier concept art:
Rotworms -> These exist not as a real creature, but just a reference in the recipe @gtesser mentioned, which while not craftable, does indeed already exist somewhere in the abyss ;)
Trolls -> Live trolls no. But the remains of Rawstag, maybe?
A lot of fantastic work went into the rune crafting system! It was one of the late-implemented systems that nearly got cut from UA, so I never had much time to play around with it until after launch myself. Once I got familiar with some of the runes and spells, it’s hard to venture into the Abyss without at least a couple of formulas prepared
Confirming Dewi’s points about developing UA with EA’s terms in mind. It would be very risky to explicitly name or reference anything that belonged in an Ultima game that wasn’t introduced FIRST in Ultima Underworld.
how clever of you to turn a negative topic into a great opportunity to pat yourselves on the back for something completely different. but this is coming from the guy paid to act as PR who wasn’t an employee in the past and can’t comment on any if that. i came here to try and be nice but you guys really did rip everyone off and basically did steal the die hard’s money to fund this broken bs game. you got your easter egg basket ball, no ultima easter eggs, just ultima all over the kickstarter.
Where did you get your idea of what this game was attempting to be, or that it wasn’t stated up front by the people who were there? You’re “angry” about things that aren’t true, or weren’t secret, or are entirely misunderstood on your end, making this use of your time unwarranted, a waste of time and energy, for no good reason. If you aren’t trolling, then you can relax, now.
Really, I’m trolling because underworld ascendant turned into a b grade dishonored system shock wanna be? and b grade is being VERY generous. So why have a basket ball easter egg? where’s the ultima stuff? why aren’t ose afraid of being sued by other people? only EA, what a giant load of BS. I’m sure this will get removed because I’m a troll and now the forum can return to nothing, no topics and about 20 people checking in every few days for more rubbish from a PR guy who wasn’t working for the company at that time and cannot comment.
You’re the troll, you are patrolling and white knighting for a shady bunch of devs and a PR guy who will deflect a very real criticism into “oh geeh, yeah our runes are great aren’t they?”
You’re seem genuinely upset about the lack of Ultima-associated easter eggs.
If vague references like headless skeletons, and Underworld-only references like rotworm stew, are not enough for you, then we’ve already been over why there won’t, and cannot, be more.
While I can understand your upset, you know full well which company you should have a beef with on this matter, and it’s not OSE.
If you want developers who’ve spent decades trying to wring licenses out of That Other Company, and have finally given up and are willing to moon them with easter eggs that skirt the edges of the IP laws, then this just isn’t that game, and cannot ever be.
Instead, that game is SotA. Sure, I know full well that even Richard is always exquisitely careful to negotiate a firm legal case before he uses something associated with Ultima but not owned by EA, such as the Cat’s Lair Tavern. I’ve even been fortunate to sit in on some of those talks. But unlike OSE he is not beholden to EA’s good graces to be able to publish his game, so once he has established his rights to an IP asset with impunity, he tends to use it.
Starting out “trying to be nice” but then immediately flinging insults once it’s explained to you that OSE can’t risk everything to insert your favorite character in their game… honestly, that comes across as just a little petulant.
What do you realistically hope to achieve, with that kind of behavior?
“What do you realistically hope to achieve, with that kind of behavior?”
I wanted the devs to tell me in better detail and not people like you. I definitely don’t want the PR guy to come in and only answer what suits him. As well as the PR guy pretending he cannot say what happened at the company prior to being employed. That is such an insultingly stupid way to deflect a question. He’s the PR guy, so ask the people that worked there before you did and don’t give us such insultingly transparent responses. Just because you seem to have a bone to pick with Garriot I’m not getting involved with you. In fact I really just wanted a dev response, the kick started basically stole people’s money and it was ruthless. Basically everyone wants this to fail out of spite except for maybe 5 people on the net, and I’m including you in that number.
It’s gonna be an entertaining launch, but I doubt many will actually launch the application lol. Prospective PS4 or switch owners see UA for 90% off, google searches and finds this forum and steam and a bunch of 2 out of 10 review scores.
I’m sorry, I spoke ambiguously. I’ve no issues at all with Richard: I love the guy, and hold him in the highest regard. And I like SotA :)
My point was: if you want Ultima references, you’re best looking to SotA, because that is a game with Ultima references, and this one simply cannot be; and our getting upset about it won’t enable OSE to change that reality.
You asked: can you get your favorite character inserted into the game.
You got an answer: that’s not a bear they can afford to poke.
You’ve largely passed over that paragraph so far, but in those two sentences, there’s a small wealth of detail that’d be interesting to chew over :) Sam doesn’t choose words casually, especially when talking legal stuff.
Sorry about that: the question was asked on a public forum, so I answered it. I’m helpful like that :) The general topic of including Ultima stuff in the game has been chewed over in other threads here, so there’s little they could say at this point which wouldn’t just be repeating themselves.
The devs also tend to avoid posting to the forums, and I can’t really blame them: that change of tone the moment an OSE staffmember posted was sadly close to the norm.
If you still want to speak with a dev, I find that asking specific technical questions about areas they worked on is most often the best way to get them interested.
Are there specific technical or development related details that you’d like them to enlarge on, over Sam’s answer?
chuckles: She’s a PR girl.
… or skeletons… right ?
I call out skeletons explicitly a little further on. It’s all a matter of relative risk.
So, just to be completely clear on the EA-Ultima-references question, here’s the terms from our actual agreement:
I mentioned this again fairly recently, which brings up an example of a creature that would have been risky for us to directly name and include at launch (the Headless):
That being said, as we worked on Update 4, we wanted to include a new type of beast / enemy type into UWA, one of which is loosely related to a Headless, called the “Bellum.” It doesn’t have a distinct head like the Headless, but it has a different backstory, play style, and attack pattern than the Ultima-Headless. It’s still a bit risky to include, but we believe it’s distinct enough to exist in UWA.
As it stands, UWA would at most be able to reference events or characters specific to UW1&2, but not from the Ultima franchise itself. Chuckles being an exclusive Ultima-character would not have been in UWA, and as Dewi mentioned, Ultima-references would be much easier to implement in Garriott’s games.
It’s true that Ultima itself doesn’t claim ownership over goblins, giant rats, spiders, and skeletons, or skeletons with jester hats. However, including features or characters that are distinct to the Ultima formula and not to UW1&2 would have raised a red flag and could have gotten pulled. It takes a couple of months to make assets for, place, test, develop and integrate even 1 creature into the Abyss, and at the risk of having it pulled for being too close to Ultima, it wouldn’t be worth making.