I don’t know what to make of these rumors floating around about an Ultima Online 2. All of the news entries about the rumors all start with a build-up about how Ultima Online was one of the first MMORPG’s and then say a sequel might be underway … and then they remind the reader that EA owns it all. That just about squashes it for me. Realistically, EA will never, ever, see the light of reason and create a game that pays tribute to the original — ever. I’m not being cynical here, I’m being real. All of the nerdgasms and excited are for naught and the proof is in the track record of EA putting out games and sequels. I would love a UO2, but I don’t want an EA McMMO that merely tries to capitalize on the namesake of UO while exhibiting none of the traits from the original.
As for Paul Barnett’s alleged participation, I’m also completely indifferent. I like the guy as a person. I got to hang out with him a little bit at E3 2008. He’s smart, knows a good deal about video games, but unfortunately, in my opinion, falls victim to the reputation of the company. All of the bitterness over WAR often gets thrown in Paul’s very public face. Is he responsible for the hype or was he just doing his job? The answer could be yes to both questions. I don’t really know. If he were on the alleged project then I would still be indifferent. Paul’s a creative guy and a marketing guy, whether his job description says so or not. I do not see how blaming one man, especially one in his position, for WAR is possible. Personally, I have a very long list of who was responsible and Paul is near the bottom.
UO2 would be awesome, but if it happens it won’t be anything like the original. EA would have to radically alter their modus operandi. I do not see the epitome of corporate gaming woes being the one to turn things around.