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Richard Garriott Interview (con'd)
FiringSquad: Tabula Rasa has been in development for some time and has had a major gameplay change in the middle of its creation. Now that the MMORPG genre has expanded since the project was first announced are you confident that Tabula Rasa will stand out from the crowd and gain an audience?
Richard Garriott: Oh yes. TR is very unique among MMPs. Most MMPs are still in the UO/EQ mold where “farming for XP” and “the level grind” are your purpose in life. TR is much more of a story-based game in a changing battlefield environment. Not the static ho-hum worlds we’ve seen to date!
FiringSquad: We have seen first person shooter sci-fi games going the MMORPG route with PlanetSide. What will Tabula Rasa have that will bring in players that nornally would play free-to-play online FPS like Battlefield 2 and Counter-Strike?
Richard Garriott: TR is not an FPS. It is an MMP. But in addition to many usual MMP features, we have many features usually associated with FPSs. But TR is not a personal skill based FPS, it is an RPG that is fast-paced and changing like an FPS.
FiringSquad: More and more attention is being given to companies that use MMORPGs to buy and sell virtual items. How do you feel about this trend and on the view of most MMO game developers that these practices should not be handled by third parties?
Richard Garriott: Interesting question. Virtual assets that take a long time to acquire by definition have dollar value. Some companies are jumping into the secondary market and NCsoft is certainly interested to observe and see how those projects fare. In the long run, I think the selling of items will be supported by games and companies, by necessity of the fact that they have real value. But until banking-level actuarial accounting gets into the games, it may be rough going for gamers or companies.
FiringSquad: It looks like all next generation consoles in development will have at least some kind of online multiplayer feature. Do you see yourself creating games for these consoles at this time?
Richard Garriott: Not I. I believe the best online experiences, or at least the ones I enjoy creating will work best on a PC. Console online will do well with FPSs and such, but deeper longer term game play works best at a desk with a chair, not on the couch in the living room. Plus PCs will always offer capabilities not found in consoles.
FiringSquad: What are the biggest challeges the video and PC game industry will have to face in the next few years?
Richard Garriott: Keeping costs down and schedules short… okay shorter.
Firing Squad: Finally is there anything else you want to say about your own current and future plans and on the game industry in general?
Richard Garriott: Just thanks to everyone who has followed along the many years of Ultima, and I hope to be bringing them great new worlds starting with Tabula Rasa soon!
We’d like congratulate Richard Garriott on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at GDC this week and thank him for taking time out of his schedule to answer our questions. We’ll be on the lookout for Tabula Rasa as well of course!
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ANNO 2070 Review
The year is 2070. The majority of life on Earth was devastated when global sea levels surged after the melting of the polar ice caps. Swaths of previously habitable land are now deep underwater, and sovereign nations are a relic of the past. But there is still hope...
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Mass Effect 3 PC Review
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