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With the recent showing of Ultima: Ascension at the E3 show in Atlanta, Origin has opened an official website at http://www.ultima-ascension.com to provide information about the upcoming game.
The Ultima timeline is broken into a series of Ages; the first being the Age of Darkness, chronicled in Ultima I-III; the second being the Age of Enlightenment, chronicled in Ultima IV-VI; and finally the Age of Armageddon (also referred to as the Age of the Guardian), chronicled in Ultima VII-VIII.
The Age of the Guardian
Ultima VII -- The Black Gate, Following the rise of the Fellowship, a group dedicated to replacing the Virtues, the town of
Trinsic was shocked by a murder done quietly in a barn. Moments later, a red moongate arose
admitting the Avatar back into Britannia. Joining with his old Companion, Iolo, the Avatar set
upon a quest to find the killer. Learning of the Fellowship, the Avatar travelled to Britain, where
he met with its founder, Batlin the sage, who unknown to all, was secretly the minion of the
Guardian, an interdimensional being set upon conquering Britannia. Through his travels, the
Avatar unraveled a plot set upon delivering Britannia into the Guardian's waiting hands. After
an epic battle, the Avatar was faced with a choice: to destroy the interdimensional Black Gate,
and thus stop the Guardian from entering the lands; or to use the Black Gate to return home to
Earth, as the moongates he had valued for centuries had suddenly become useless. His heart
heavy in his breast, the Avatar destroyed the Black Gate, trapping the Guardian within the Void, while Batlin flees Britannia.
Ultima VII, Part Two -- Serpent Isle, The Avatar follows the trail Batlin has set to the Serpent Isle. The Avatar, eager to see his old enemy dead, traveled to the mystical
Serpent Pillars, and was instantly transported to the Serpent Isle, once known as the Lands of
Danger and Despair. He was astonished to find the missing peoples of Moon, Fawn, and the
Montors within the land, as well as the missing Castle of Lord Shamino, now in ruins. Tracking
Batlin deep into the frozen northern wastelands,the Avatar arrived moments too late to prevent
Batlin from releasing the Banes of Chaos, who captured and overtook the minds of the Avatar's
Companions. Under their control, Dupre, Iolo, and Shamino ravaged the Serpent Isle, killing
most of the residents. In his quest to restore his old comrades, the Avatar learned of an ancient
culture that had lived centuries before. These Ophidians worshipped three Great Serpents, and
had lived peacefully until the time of the Third Age of Darkness when Exodus captured the
Great Earth Serpent for his own purposes. Unknown to all, this caused the Serpents of Chaos
and Order to fight one another and plunged the very universe into Imbalance. Alerted to this
danger, the Avatar was able to rescue his friends and restore the Balance to the lands, sadly at
the cost of Sir Dupre's life. Following his act, the Avatar was captured by the evil Guardian
within the Void...
Ultima VIII -- Pagan, The Guardian banishes The Avatar to the
world of Pagan, a realm already under his foul power. Arriving upon the shores
of that land, the Avatar sought a way to return to Britannia. His struggle was long and difficult
as the Avatar learned of his true destiny, to become the Titan of Ether. Learning of an ancient
temple once within Pagan, the Avatar gathered together five pieces of Blackrock to capture and
contain the four Titans of Pagan. Mastering the magics of Necromancy, Tempestry, Theurgy, Sorcery and Thaumaturgy the Avatar entrapped the other Titans' power, and emerged as the Titan of Ether. From the five blackrock fragments, the Avatar recreates the Blackrock Obelisk of the Great Temple. The pyramid shaped obelisk is
a Black Gate which takes the Avatar into the Nexus of the Worlds. Upon entering the Nexus, a person is taken to where they most desire to go.
The Avatar is taken back to Britannia, where he appears wearing the
suit of the Titan of Ether. However, Britannia is unlike the one we
remember. The sky is blood red, rivers of molten lava flow across the
land and dragons swoop about in the sky. The Guardian's head is
carved into a mountain.
As given in a letter presumed to be from Lord British:
Welcome back to Britannia, Avatar.
Lord British's kingdom is in dire need of your aid. The Guardian's foul stench reeks throughout the land, which is now littered with plague and famine.
Eight mysterious columns have risen from the dungeons, leaving evil in their wake. This is, no doubt, the Guardian's doing.
You must travel the lands, visiting the cities, dungeons and wilderness along the way, to unlock the secret of the columns and put an end to their treachery by restoring virtue to the land.
Good luck, Avatar!
From the recent E3 show in Atlanta:
The time frame of Ultima: Ascension is, as suspected, directly
after Pagan. The Avatar returns to Britannia to find the world
destroyed, and huge columns are ripping the world apart in key
locations of the world. The runes of virtue have been subverted
by the Guardian, and the Britannian moons are pulling the
columns through the earth, destroying continents in their wake.
The world may be split into north and south continents.
Lord British's health is tied to the land, and as such he is ailing.
Your job, in part, will be to restore the runes of virtue.
Briefly mentioned was the fact that there are eight virtues, and
eight circles of spells.
Ed Del Castillo stated that from the outset it was planned to do
an ultima about the Avatar, rather than a game about Iolo,
Shamino, or other former party members.
It is currently planned for the Avatar to start the game in
Stonegate tower, where you will receive a tutorial, and then
move on to Britain. Your sidekick Raven will, at the appropriate
time, take you to Asylum. In this way the game will start out
linear but open up as you gain more means of travel.
As of the E3 1998 show, the system requirements for Ultima: Ascension remain high.
- Pentium processor with a clock-speed of 233 MHz, 266 MHz recommended
- 32 MB RAM minimum, 64 MB RAM recommended
- 3D Accelerator Card, 3DFX/VoodooII/AGI supported
- CD-ROM required
Hold your horses! Actually, a recent posting from Boomer of OSI stated that work is progressing on the demo, and should be released soon for public consumption. It is unknown as yet if the demo will be interactive or not.
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