Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

Electronic Arts Shuts Down Origin Systems? 343

Posted by simoniker
from the passing-to-the-other-side dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Waterthread.org has picked up the following on the studio that brought us the popular Ultima and Wing Commander series: 'Game company Electronic Arts is expected to tell its Austin employees this week that the company will be shutting down Origin Systems, its Austin operations, according to sources. Employees will be offered an opportunity to relocate to California or accept a severance package. Company officials could not be reached for comment. Austin is the #3 location in the U.S. for game development with more than 50 companies making major contributions to the game industry, including game development, publishing, tools and middleware and chips and hardware." The Wing Commander CIC has also posted a epitaph for Origin."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Electronic Arts Shuts Down Origin Systems?

Comments Filter:
  • Ah well... (Score:4, Informative)

    by demonbug (309515) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:48AM (#8370830) Journal
    Origin used to kick ass. Then EA bought them. They pretty much sucked after that (surprise, surprise). Probably better this than EA releasing crappy games under the Origin name.

    I have to say though, Origin had about the best tagline of any gaming company...

    Origin - We Create Worlds.

    Not anymore, I guess.
  • by grumpygrodyguy (603716) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:51AM (#8370854)
    Some Origin oldies but goodies. [the-underdogs.org]
  • by flogger (524072) <non@nonegiven> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:54AM (#8370873) Journal
    I was going to mod you down, but thought I'd reply instaed....

    Read some of the articles.
    This is not the end for Ultima ... Ultima Online will now be run from California, and development of Ultima X will continue on the west coast.
    ultima Online will still continue. I'm sure it will change, especially if people take the sevrense package instead of relocating. But it will still be there.
  • Re:Origin, Bullfrog (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:56AM (#8370891)
    They've also gutted:

    * Westwood Studios (Command & Conquer).
    * Maxis (SimCity).
  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:58AM (#8370912) Journal
    First let me say that I currently play Ultima Online. UO appears to be a project that is being slowly phased out, I base this of the following:

    1: The next publish (what UO calls updates) is mostly (90%) about the ability to move characters between shards (seperate UO worlds)
    2: The event moderaters have been removed and will ,more than likely, not be back.
    3: It is almost impossible to BUY THE GAME in stores anymore. Next to no brick and morter stores carry it and EA does next to no advertizing for it. So how does it attract new customers?
  • Re:Not a surprise. (Score:5, Informative)

    by gotr00t (563828) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:01AM (#8370923) Journal
    However, do note that real estate like "that" is actually pretty common in Austin. All along highway 360, its pretty senic, and it has become almost a necessity for any self respecting tech company to locate a site somewhere in the Hill Country.

    I, too, have been to Origin's site, and yes, it is very impressive indeed.

  • by Lane.exe (672783) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:01AM (#8370925) Homepage
    I live here and our economy is in the pits -- no one can find jobs. This is just another example of a company abandoning one of the most creative cities on the planet. It's really a shame -- Austin has a lot of talented people coming out of some of the best colleges in the region (Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and especially UT here in Austin) in graphics, art, music and computer science. This isn't a smart move.

  • It is true (Score:5, Informative)

    by Donut (128871) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:05AM (#8370947)
    I have a friend that works there. It is true. Here are the details that I know about:

    1. They are not done with UOX. It is in Beta. Origin Beta or real Beta, who knows. They think they can move development to california for the Earth and Beyond people to finish?!?!?!

    2. There were 230 people working there.

    3. The studio management may have known, but I know they were still hiring and relocating people to Austin several weeks ago.

    4. This was the worst kept secret in Austin. Everyone knew last week. Except the employees.

    5. UO support moving to california.

    6. Origin owned that building.

    I have been gone from there for almost 6 years, but I spent 10 there. It is a little sad, but not unexpected. EA tried to shut it down back in '99, but pulled back from the brink for some reason. Feel sorry for their new employees, especially the new GM.

    -Donut, Origin Alumni 1990-1999
    Ultima VI, Ultima VII, Strike Commander, Serpent Isle, Pacific Strike, Longbow, Longbow2, A-10.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:06AM (#8370948)
    This site tries to install some very weird shit under IE6.
  • Re:Not a surprise. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Donut (128871) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:07AM (#8370959)
    They own that building outright. Moved there in 1995. Bought it from Netware. Brent Thale suggested it to Robert Garriot as a joke, when we were out-growing the building up north.

  • by Mike Hawk (687615) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:19AM (#8371012) Journal
    #1 Lets see...Austin, TX or LA, CA? Score one for Cali.

    #2 Activision [activision.com], THQ [corporate-ir.net], Vivendi [vugames.com], and a host of studios both publisher owned and independent are located there.

    LA is the place to be in you are a video game maker who likes to buy all the talent, suck it dry as fast as possible and then fire that talent and start again. Whoa, did I just hear someone describe EA?
  • Origin's games (Score:5, Informative)

    by dtio (134278) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:35AM (#8371081)
    Basically they have been cashing the Ultima and Wing Commander cows for years, complete list from IGN:

    publisher

    3DO, CyberMage, Super Wing Commander

    Amiga
    Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness,Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress,Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar,Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny,Ultima VI: The False Prophet,Wing Commander

    Apple IIe/c/c+
    Ogre,Omega,Ultima,Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar,Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny

    Atari 400/800/XL/XE
    Autoduel,Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness,Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar

    Atari ST
    Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar,Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny,Ultima VI: The False Prophet

    Commodore 64
    Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar,Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny,Ultima VI: The False Prophet,Ultima: The First Age of Darkness

    MSX
    Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness (Pony Canyon),Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar

    Macintosh
    Super Wing Commander,Ultima III: Exodus,Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger

    PC
    Abuse,CyberMage: Darklight Awakening,Privateer 2: The Darkening,Shadowcaster,Ulitma IX: Ascension,Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness,Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness (Pony Canyon),Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress,Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar,Ultima IX: Ascension,Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds,Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss,Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny,Ultima VI: The False Prophet,Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle,Ultima VII: The Black Gate,Ultima VII: The Forge of Virtue,Ultima VIII: Pagan,Ultima Worlds of Adventure 2: Martian Dreams,Wing Commander,Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi,Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger,Wing Commander: Privateer,Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams,Worlds of Ultima: Savage Empire

    PlayStation
    Crusader: No Remorse,Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger,Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom

    Saturn
    Crusader: No Remorse

    Sega CD
    Wing Commander

    Super NES
    Wing Commander: Secret Missions

    developer

    3DO
    CyberMage,Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger

    Amiga
    Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness,Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress,Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar,Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny,Ultima VI: The False Prophet
    Wing Commander,Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger

    Apple IIe/c/c+
    Ogre,Omega,Ultima,Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress,Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar,Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny

    Atari 400/800/XL/XE
    Autoduel,Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness,Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress,Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar,Ultima: The First Age of Darkness

    Atari ST
    Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress,Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar,Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny,Ultima VI: The False Prophet

    Commodore 64
    Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress,Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar,Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny,Ultima VI: The False Prophet,Ultima: The First Age of Darkness

    Game Boy
    Ultima: Runes of Virtue,Ultima: Runes of Virtue II

    MSX
    Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness (Pony Canyon),Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress,Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar

    Macintosh
    Super Wing Commander,System Shock,Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress,Ultima III: Exodus,Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger

    NES
    Ultima: Exodus,Ultima: Quest of the Avatar,Ultima: Warriors of Destiny

    PC
    Crusader: No Regret,Crusader: No Remorse,CyberMage: Darklight Awakening,Strike Commander,Ultima Collection,Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness,Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness (Pony Canyon),Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress,Ultima III: Exodus,Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar,Ultima IX: Ascension,Ultima Online,Ultima Online: Age of Shadows,Ultima Online: Lord Bl
  • www.wcnews.com /.ed (Score:5, Informative)

    by ggvaidya (747058) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:39AM (#8371104) Homepage Journal
    The website's starting to go slow, so I'm posting the text of the epitaph from http://www.wcnews.com/:

    Goodbye, Origin

    For twenty two years Origin Systems set the tone for the computer gaming. Ultima, Wing Commander and dozens of others set the gold standard for which the rest of the industry could only hope to catch up. This era has finally come to an end as Electronic Arts readies an announcement that it will shut down the Austin-based Origin studio.

    This is not the end for Ultima or Wing Commander. Ultima Online will now be run from California, and development of Ultima X will continue on the west coast. Hopes that another Wing Commander game would be developed in Austin were dashed long ago; the longtime belief that a California-based EA team would develop the next Wing Commander title may, ironically, be bolstered by this news.

    What it is, however, is a tremendous moral loss on all fronts. Origin Systems will always be the ultimate symbol of gaming's greatest days, and its dissolution to a faceless corporate entity is, sadly, equally symbolic of the world today. Origin entertained, challenged and inspired our generation in a way that seems impossible today. Though the individuals who developed our games long ago moved on to greater careers, the very existence of the company itself continued to stand for something special; something amazing.

    The CIC will continue to dedicate itself to Origin's legacy - we will redouble our efforts to archive anything and everything related to the company. We will strike to make the world remember what Origin meant. I wanted to end with a quote - something plithy and literary to express the meaning of such an ending. I came up with only this:

    With your carrier destroyed, you drift endlessly through the void.
  • Re:Ahh Ultima (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:40AM (#8371108)
    If I recall correctly,

    U4: word of passage that allows entry into the abyss
    U5: allows entry into dungeon Doom in the center of the underworld
  • by TC (WC) (459050) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:47AM (#8371141) Journal
    Yeah... Because Wing Commander was sustainable with the horrible finances OSI had! Without EA there never would have been a WC3 or 4, as there's no way Origin could have funded them.

    I hope you'll also realize that the Wing Commander movie really had nothing to do with EA. When Chris Roberts left the company after Wing Commander 4 he negotiated for the movie rights to Wing Commander for a certain number of years. After that, there wasn't any EA involvement to speak of.

  • by Tarrek (547315) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:54AM (#8371169)
    Strangely, on #3, that isn't even that big a deal- This wasn't very widely publicized, but you can actually download it (Ultima Online- Complete including Age of Shadows, both 2d and 3d clients) *completely legally* WITH a 2 week free trial account from a few places online- Fileshack has it, I believe, past that, I don't know.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:55AM (#8371171)
    #1 Lets see...Austin, TX or LA, CA? Score one for Cali.

    Actually, Austin [forbes.com] is good [expansionmanagement.com] for business [facilitycity.com].

    Also, ordinary people can afford housing there, the quality of life is very good, and it's probably not going to be devastated by an earthquake anytime soon.
  • Here's some linkage: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tarrek (547315) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:57AM (#8371183)
    Source 1 [gamespot.com]

    Source 2 [ign.com]

    Here ya'll go! Free Ultima Online to mourn the loss of OSI with.
  • Re:Origin, Bullfrog (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lux (49200) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:29AM (#8371283)

    Some other people have posted the one-word version of this, but there's more to it...

    Maxis got the same treatment. EA is closing down operations in Walnut Creek, and moving them to some place on the S.F. Peninsula.

    Walnut Creek is about two hours away from there in morning traffic, AFAIK. Sucks to be at Origin more, but it sucks to be at Maxis too.

    But the main post made it sound worse than I think it actually is. It's not like Origin is going away just yet. Who knows? They could pull through relocating across three states.

    Yeah, OK, I guess they're screwed.

  • by MoggyMania (688839) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:37AM (#8371305) Homepage Journal
    Actually, the Ultima Series is still living outside our memories as well. :-) Groups of dedicated fans [voyd.net] are working on updating the original games with modern graphics/sound, rewriting U9 dialogue so that it's in line with the history within the Ultima universe, creating programs that enable the pre-9 Ultimas to run successfully under Windows, adding multiplayer/online abilities to older Ultimas, creating fan fiction & fan spinoff games, and all kinds of other fun things.
  • Re:Origin's games (Score:3, Informative)

    by Durindana (442090) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:52AM (#8371362)
    add AutoDuel for the Apple ][/][+/][c/][e (which rocked), and Abuse for Mac (which sucked)

    Autoduel on the Apple II I still think was a killer game. PC and console games came kinda close to matching its mix of action/adventure/building cars - Twisted Metal meets Legacy of the Ancients, circa 1985 - but not quite. That's one title I'd love to see remade

    ON THE MAC!
  • by Ironica (124657) <pixel@boondoc[ ]rg ['k.o' in gap]> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:18AM (#8371437) Journal
    I learned about this months ago. But maybe that's because I'm in an Urban Planning program, and it was big news that the Playa Vista Development [playavista.com] finally found their office tenant.

    This development has been followed closely by a whole lot of people. Environmentalists freaked out about it, because it borders the Ballona Wetlands. The protest caused them to completely redesign the site *and* include several acres of wetlands restoration (because Hughes Aircraft, the former owner of the site, was none too kind to the native flora and fauna). Urban planners and designers are fascinated to see if the site can work, because it incorporates a lot of new (old) ideas, such as a mix of uses, high-density development, and a range of income groups.

    When they originally were planning the site, Dreamworks SKG had just formed up, and was going to move in as the big anchor office tenant. When the project was massively delayed, they backed out, and one of the big issues was finding another tenant to take over that huge, state-of-the-art space. EA finally anted up late last year. They're cashing out their Irvine, San Jose, and Austin locations, and consolidating everything there.

    If they're paying moving costs, it's a pretty good deal for folks moving, especially from San Jose. Units in Playa Vista start in the low $200k range, and the complex has a *ton* of amenities (including its own childcare center, market, and amphitheatre). Every unit has broadband built in and I think even data jacks in the walls, and the complex has its own intranet for reserving rec rooms, checking out events, and so on.

    Frankly, I wouldn't mind living there myself... my husband feels it's a bit remote, though (you'd never guess you're in the second-largest city in the country; Lincoln Blvd. looks empty except for Playa Vista). It's between Venice and Marina del Rey, though, just about 5-10 minutes in one direction or the other.

    I'm sure that they're counting on the consolidation saving them on staff, and it sucks that some people will lose their jobs. Me, I'm not crying about them bringing a whole mess o' jobs into Los Angeles, since I live here, but I suppose it does suck for those in the locations they're closing. I don't know if it's a good business move for them... unless they're changing their (fraudulent) policies on MMOG billing*, they'll have no business from me for a while, so who knows? But it's an interesting development, to be sure, from many perspectives.

    *Used to have an Earth and Beyond account. Discovered from personal experience (twice) and a guildmate's experience that E&B accounts *always* expire two days before they are supposed to (according to the date that comes up on the screen to nag you EVERY FRICKIN' TIME you log in, after you've cancelled). You have to call them, during business hours, to get it fixed. Sure, they'll fix it right up, but oh... you got booted in the middle of a battle and now you can't log in, but they're closed? Pay up or die. I chose to leave my account permanently expired.
  • by MikShapi (681808) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @04:57AM (#8371554) Journal
    The Ultima series died at 7.0
    It's virtue lied in a combination of a HUMONGOUS open-ended, non-linear world with SO DAMN MANY non-generic niches, It was probbably the most replayable game in the world. I played 6 and 7 maybe 3 times each, and I just kept discovering more and more stuff I didn't find the previous times.

    Then things started to go down. 7 Part II was nicer than 7 graphicswise, was as complex and full of niches as 7, but it was LINEAR. So much for a huge world you could explore at your leisure. You were now guided by the nose through the game.

    Then came 8. Oh, the pain, the PAIN. Not only was it non-linear, it was DUMBED DOWN into oblivion. The game-world was no longer one large map.. rather, it was a series of "screens" you go from one to the other. 90% of the niches in the game unrelated to the plot were gone. Much of the gameplay was replaced by jumping puzzles that looked like a birdseye 2D tombraider-wannabe. And here, they put the good old Ultima atmosphere (with the mandolin music that followed when you were in the forest on the way to cove) to rest with 3 0.44 magnum shots to the forehead. Let's skip 8.

    Enter 9. Gariott is no longer around. Still, 9 was a good try. Really, it was. The goal was in the right direction, and they were actually going for it. First, they put in the heaviest block, a 3D engine. Second, they got the atmosphere back, and they made an almost-successful attempt at bringing back the humongous world that was U7. But they fell short. There were no niches with side-quests and goodies to discover. There was no replayability. It was still linear. And there was no future - EA pulled the plug.

    Then came UO, and EA decided they did not want me to be their client no more. They shut down all of Origin except for UO.

    The genre was not completely lost though.
    Two titles by other companies prevailed in my consiousness:

    Elder Scrolls3: Morrowind made a shot at a humongous world. They did manage to get that right. But they went astray. There was no Garriot. No Lord British. There was no atmosphere. It was just an endless [beautiful] world of immensely over-recycled content, unbalanced gameplay, flat-as-a-plank characters and utterly boring [and endless] fed-ex quests that required spending too much of the game time on travel. The company who made it just wasn't Origin, it lacked a guide. And the game was a flop.

    The one light that did indeed shine bright in the genre was Gothic. I truly salute the guys who made it. While it posed a slightly different atmosphere than Ultima, It was immersingly wonderful. The world was huge. The story thick, unpredictable, brutal at times. Real-world trust-noone and fend-for-yourself style. Main storyline put aside, the game world was accessible in an unlinear fassion.
    And in a streak of genious, they took all the effort put into making the first game world, added a similar amount of effort to create a second, and had a world twice as big for Gothic II. Kudos guys.

    Ultima genre aside, we come to the lancers. The wing-commander/privateer teams were stashed (and bought by M$), making Starlancer and Freelancer, games made by great devs, having the ability to soar, and trampled to garbage by executives with the intellect of a retarded coccaroach. Freelancer could have been a "Privateer 3", and could have borne the title proudly. It had it all. Graphics, missions, weapons, secret niches.
    All but a decision to force down the plot on you at square one, drive you faster than you'd like towards its end, forcing you to finish it, then having you stuck in a beautiful humongous and largely-unexplored galaxy, with NO quests or goals of any kind save for random encounters and randimized generic missions to "go discover it" and make money you no longer need. Woohoo.
    I'd love to meet the moron who made that call.
    Or the one saying you can't take more than one mission at a time. DAMN. What was THAT good for?

    I take solace in the fact that the team is still together, and maybe the executive
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @05:06AM (#8371582)
    we don't do *all* the sports games - madden/ncaa is made in tiburon, tiger is made elsewheres too

    also EA acquisitioned Black Box recently, so we have another downtown office

    threewave don't really make games - though they'll probably kill me for saying that...(mods & levels, afaik)
  • Re:Oh my (Score:5, Informative)

    by yar (170650) * on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @05:28AM (#8371650)
    I currently live in Austin, TX, and a friend of mine works at Origins. He told me about it this past weekend. According to him, this was open, but unannounced knowledged.
  • by Dalcius (587481) <chrism3413+slash ... Tom minus distro> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:55AM (#8371880)
    I guess this is an appropriate reply...

    I think I've seen more 'indie' games in the last few years then ever before. At least 'indie' to me, a lot of publishers these days I haven't heard of before.

    To give an example that might interest folks in this thread (Wing Commander fans), I just bought a game I could call 'innovative' called "X2-The Threat", created by Egosoft and published by Enlight (or maybe I have that backwards). I've never heard of either.

    Anyway, in concept take Privateer, give it Freelancer style graphics and allow players to own multiple ships. It's your normal "buy a fighter, travel to X, do missions, etc." game, except that it goes a little further: you can buy fighters, cargo haulers, corvettes, destroyers, carriers, you name it. You can build your own fleet... the computer will fly anything you're not.

    Apparently you can actually pilot a carrier which can carry ships inside (haven't gotten that far myself). You can even go a step further and build your own factories (space stations) -- no limit on number.

    I've been waiting for a game like this since I picked up Privateer and haven't seen one until now, hence I think of it as 'innovative'. Overall the game isn't as polished as possible and might underwhelm some folks, but the freedom, reality (dock your own ship) and power you have are awesome.

    If anyone else is aware of innovation along these lines, I'd like to hear it, this is the first game of it's kind that I've seen.

    Cheers
  • by PainKilleR-CE (597083) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @08:14AM (#8372089)
    Basically I'm saying that UO and U9 were both equally half-arsed efforts. Which one came first and which was delayed... does it even make that much of a difference?

    According to most of the interviews I've read, U9 development wasn't allowed to be stopped or slowed down for UO, because no one was sure that UO would work out. This explains the half-assed efforts on both games quite well, since OSI was pretty much dividing their efforts between the two games at a time when U9 really could've used the polish and UO really could've used more backing and attention.
  • by Kippesoep (712796) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @08:24AM (#8372115) Homepage
    Actually, the budget was $12M, (three times as much as WC3's budget). I don't know whether it did go seriously over budget. Perhaps it just wasn't as successful as the earlier installments. I quite liked it, though.
  • by BRSQUIRRL (69271) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:26AM (#8372941)
    I'm not sure that we can pin the decline of "Wing Commander" on EA alone...I think that the gaming public's taste for that particular genre (space combat/simulation) has been declining in general. The X-Wing/TIE Fighter series from LucasArts is another example. Those sorts of games just aren't trendy right now (which is a shame...X-Wing is probably my favorite PC game ever, and I would love to see what today's graphics cards could do with a space combat simulator like that now).
  • by LordKazan (558383) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:37AM (#8373048) Homepage Journal
    You've been listening to Interplay and EA -- that opinion was a self fullfilling prophecy.

    Gameing Publishers: "We don't think there is an audience" so they didn't spend enough of advertising to promot the game

    There are still people who stubmle across FreeSpace 2 and are like "This game is awesome! why didn't I ever hear about it"

    ---------------------

    FYI I am a member of the following projects:
    FreeSpace 2 Source Code Project
    FreeSpace 2: The Babylon Project (B5 total conversion)
    Ferrium (founder, project leader -- in the forseeable future we will not be able to continue upgrading that spagetti code nightmare that is the fs2 engine - so we're starting to write a new one to take up the torch)
  • by WWWWolf (2428) <wwwwolf@iki.fi> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:40AM (#8373072) Homepage

    There are some projects that are remaking the Origin-developed framework. Exult [sourceforge.net] is an Ultima VII engine remake, only needs the original data files to run.

    Everyone who has ever installed Ultima VII on anything post-Win95 probably knows that having no ties whatsoever to original U7 codebase is probably a good thing =)

    Exult has made U7 a very good and modern game. They've fixed many of the old annoying UI issues and such.

    Exult even comes with near-usable map editor and script compiler, so you can use U7 engine to do your own adventures... at least in theory. Check out this funny screenshot [sourceforge.net]... =)

    There are some other engine remakes, I think. Not sure what they are or if they can be used for anything interesting though.

    As for EA open-sourcing anything... no way. They're holding on their IP as hard as they can. They aren't even particularly happy about fan remakes of Ultima games, even if they're approved by Richard Garriott (or even approved while he was still in Origin).

  • Re:Damn it's true... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jonah Hex (651948) <hexdotms@gmail.cCOLAom minus caffeine> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @10:53AM (#8373188) Homepage Journal
    Some words from the UO Yahoo Group, slightly editted to cut out the crap /. didn't like... my thoughts follow...

    Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 12:06:18 -0800
    From: "Joshua Rowan" <joshua@stratics.com>
    Subject: Rumors of Origin Systems Shutting Down

    ---
    Rumors of Origin Systems Shutting Down
    ---
    Posted Monday, February 23, 2004, 12:50 PM EST by Joshua Rowan:

    Hail UO and UXO Fans,

    We are receiving information this morning indicating that something very serious may be hitting the news in the next few days (maybe as soon as today). So far, it is all unsubstantiated rumors, but with enough evidence behind them that we believe the information to be very close to the truth. For that reason, I am posting this to our news so that everyone can prepare for it in case it does come to pass.....

    With that said, the rumor is that Electronic Arts Corporate may be shutting down Origin Systems Inc (OSI, also known as EA Texas) and moving both the Ultima Online and the Ultima X: Odyssey projects to the California location. The hope is that as many current staffers (including dev teams) as possible will be relocated as well, but at this point we have no details on that. To say the least, our thoughts and hearts go out to the people that may be affected by this.

    So far, there has been no official comment from anyone at Electronic
    Arts or Origin Systems about this, but the second we do get it we will
    share it with all of you.

    Joshua Rowan
    UO Stratics Managing Editor
    http://uo.stratics.com

    Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 14:51:01 -0800
    From: "Joshua Rowan" <joshua@stratics.com>
    Subject: More Details about Latest CA Rumors

    More Details about Latest CA Rumors
    ---
    Posted Monday, February 23, 2004, 3:40 PM EST by Joshua Rowan:

    A bit more news to share with all of you about the latest rumors of UO
    and UXO being relocated to California and the Origin Systems Development Studio being shut down as a result.

    First, ( http://waterthread.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=1 774 )
    Waterthread.org has posted some details based on a ( http://www.shermanventures.com/austinxl.html ) AustinXL News Mailing
    List that they belong to. As they explain, the following was posted to
    the newsletter today:

    QUOTE
    Electronic Art's Austin Unit Origin Systems to Shut Down

    Game company Electronic Art's is expected to tell it's Austin employees this week that the company will be shutting down Origin Systems, its Austin operations, according to sources. Employees will be offered an opportunity to relocate to California or accept a severance package.
    Company officials could not be reached for comment. Austin is the # 3
    location in the U.S. for game development with more than 50 companies
    making major contributions to the game industry, including game
    development, publishing, tools and middleware and chips and hardware.

    In a related story about another Electronic Arts studio, Maxis
    (developers of The Sims line of games), Gamespot reported the following just last week, indicating that a consolidation of EA-owned studios may be becoming a trend. Here is what (
    http://www.gamespot.com/all/news/news_6089213.h tml ) Gamespot's Article states: EA brings the Sims developers to its corporate headquarters.

    Today, sources at Electronic Arts confirmed what has been rumored for
    the past week: EA is folding Maxis into its central corporate offices.
    Currently, Maxis operates out of a now-cramped building in Walnut Creek, California. Their new digs will be in EA's Redwood Shores headquarters, some 30 miles to the east.

    "Maxis was running out of space at Walnut Creek," an EA spokesperson
    told GameSpot this morning. The current management team at Maxis, Luc
    Barthelet, Lucy Bradshaw, and Sinjin Bain, will relocate to Redwood
    Shores, as will most of Maxis' 300 staffers.

  • by selfabuse (681350) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @11:47AM (#8373802)
    Yes, but Vancouver is in Canada, and would therefore not be one of the top 2 locations for US game development..
  • by Destoo (530123) <destoo@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @11:55AM (#8373889) Homepage Journal
    For fan-based remakes of ultima, get neverwinter night!

    We're in the process of rebuilding Zonker's adaptation of Ultima IV. We need more players!
    We're missing a second DM and players for Dupre, Katrina, Jaana and Mariah.

    Ultima Fans Allied [neverwinte...ctions.com] on neverwinterconnections, an excellent site for player matchup and campaign management.

  • by Ayaress (662020) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @12:43PM (#8374443) Journal
    TKO recently bought up Asylumsoft, which already was comprised mostly of people who'd worked for Origin on the later-half of the good Ultima games (6 through 8, which wasn't all that great, but a lot better than 9), Wing Commander, and Crusader.

    In addition to that, they've already scavenged a few Origin people before this happened, as well as picking up a couple Looking Glass developers. There's a rumor that they have a Black Isle guy, but he's been silent thus far, if he exists.

    The whole plan is working towards developing Asylum's MMORPG, which is a lot like Ultima Online was before EA bought Origin and turned it into an EQ clone. I'm betting they'll try and pick up a few more Origin workers after this, which could be a good thing or a bad thing.
  • by oolon (43347) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @12:53PM (#8374575)
    Well before X2 there was Xbtf (X Beyond the Fronteer) that was the first game where you got to own factories as well as the trading ship you upgrade and fly arround in. Xt (X tension) with the 2.1 patch, you could own your own captal but it was only a transporter type with no guns, before that it was Xbft with ship swapping. X2 however you can own and fly the compete navy. You can also write your own scripts for controlling them! Egosoft have a history of patching far beyond their release date. You get that polishing you were looking for.....

    James

    Another X2 owner.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:25PM (#8375644)

    Um . . .

    Last time I checked, Vancouver was [vancouver.wa.us] in the US.
  • by tamnir (230394) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:48PM (#8376836)
    To play Ultima Online the way it was supposed to be, you can play on the Siege Perilous [uo.com] shard. It is one of the official UO servers, but with a special "old-tyme" ruleset, designed for veteran players and to enhance player-to-player interaction. For example, no [Young] status, PvP fights are allowed everywhere (no Trammel), and vendors will not buy from players, making crafters having to directly interact with the fighting classes. Siege Perilous has a small but tight community, and there is material for everyone to enjoy, from the hardcore roleplayers, the assiduous crafters, and down to the berserk PvPers.

    If you want to give Siege Perilous a try, I suggest you join NEW [frejasp.dk]. It helps a lot until your character is strong enough to stand a chance on his own.

    There is also a japanese equivalent of Siege Perilous: Mugen [uo.com] (page in Japanese).

COBOL is for morons. -- E.W. Dijkstra

Working...