Richard Garriott’s Austin, Texas-based game development studio, Portalarium, in collaboration with international partners Travian Games and Black Sun Game Publishing, has released Garriott’s fantasy role-playing crowdfunded game, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux PC platforms.
Shroud of the Avatar is the spiritual successor to Garriott’s wildly successful Ultima and Ultima Online games, and combines a persistent online world with a deep story and rich role-playing character development.
As an online fantasy multiplayer RPG, Shroud of the Avatar blends together many of the key features that made the Ultima-series popular, including wide-reaching freedom to explore a living, breathing fantasy world enriched by a player-driven crafting and economic system; the ability to create a classless avatar allowing for distinct play styles and uniquely specialized builds; an engaging storyline written in collaboration with celebrated fantasy author Tracy Hickman (Dragonlance) where players are confronted with ethical choices based on Virtues and Principles; and a unique shared online experience where players can opt to play solo or with friends. Players can also complete the story and explore the world offline, in a stand-alone single-player mode that does not require internet access.
“It’s exciting to have reached this major milestone,” said Garriott. “Our fans and backers have been extremely patient and incredibly helpful with us every step of the way of our journey. With Shroud, I wanted to go back to my roots of game design. We wanted to create a rich story and also bring back a sandbox style of play… a style that’s immersive and interactive.”
What’s in store for Shroud of the Avatar’s launch? “We have focused on polishing performance and the new user experience, as well as a few surprises like a new map that was triggered by a meteor crash,” said Executive Producer Starr ‘Darkstarr’ Long. “After we launch, we’ll continue to roll out regular monthly content releases and continue to collaborate with our players to improve the gameplay. The second quarter will include new features like Castle Defense Scenarios and Looking for Group, as well as new content including new scenes, new creatures, and new quests.”