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Ultima 1 Reborn converted to Era: The Arken Throne

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Ultima 1 Reborn converted to Era: The Arken Throne

Game News - posted by Mistress on Fri 3 January 2003, 12:52:10

Tags: Era: The Arken Throne

On the forum for the Peroxide Ultima remake, Ultima 1 Reborn, there is a lengthy post regarding the project's conversion to an "original" RPG, under the working title of "Era: The Arken Throne", as a result of legal issues with <a href-"http://www.ea.com">EA[/url].

Here's a snippet from the post:

This is the (legal) story of our project so far. At October 12, 1999 I sent my original letter to Richard Garriott at Origin asking for permission to recreate his first game in the Ultima series. Shortly after Richard Garriott replied and kindly gave us his blessing for taking on this huge project. At that time he was creative director at Origin systems and thus we assumed that he spoke on behalf of EA when he gave us his permission. We started working on the game engine and fairly quickly we released our first tech demo (tech 1) which was very primitive compared to our latest demo. Still it got us an enormous amount of attention both from the media (magazines and eZines) and from the Ultima dragons. Also someone at the Ultima Online crew saw the demo and sent us an email in which he expressed his concerns that we might get in legal trouble with EA. In his email he gave us the name of one of the employees in EA's legal department and advised us to send her a letter explaining what we were doing. We did but never received an answer. However, as we had gotten quite a bit of attention in the media we assumed that if EA did NOT want us to continue with this project then they would surely have responded to that letter. We found it unlikely that noone in EA knew about our project at least - after all it was one of their game series we were working on! So we continued working on the game engine. Much later at October 23, 2001 the online magazine "Wired" printed an article about remakes of classic games where they also asked a spokesman from EA (a Mr. Jeff Brown) about the projects. He said (quote) "EA owns the rights to Ultima and all of its characters, and in this case, no permission was requested or granted," and later: "As for Richard Garriott's approval, that's like getting permission from Toto to remake The Wizard of Oz.". He finished by saying: We have no idea what they are doing other than they appear to be making a game that is in some way, shape or form derivative of a franchise owned by EA. So they should at least give us a call and tell us what they are doing.".

Obviously we were quite puzzled.. we HAD requested permission for doing this remake - in fact we had asked then TWICE already! But as Jeff Brown seemed to be wanting some sort of communication I sent him a couple of emails - none of which he replied to. We then continued to send Mr. Brown a "real" letter in which we explained what we were doing - again no reply! To make sure our letters hadn't all been "lost in the mail" we started sending letters with FedEx which forced EA to either sign for receiving the letter OR rejecting it at the door (in which case we would also have proof of delivery). Our first such letter explained again how we had gotten permission from Richard Garriott and that we just wanted to make sure EA had no problems with our project etc. And we actually got a reply to that letter! Unfortunately it was just a standard reply written (probably) by some secretary in which they explained that "at this time we do not license the Ultima name" but they wished us good luck in any other projects. It didn't seem that they had actually READ our letter further down than to line 5 or so because there was no actual answers to any of our questions. And what we did wasn't to request a license for the name - rather we wanted a confirmation of our earlier permisson from RG! So we sent two more letters by FedEx which they also signed for but didn't seem to find worthy of a reply. So all in all we have to conclude that EA is unwilling to help us out and has chosen not to keep their word given by one of their former directors.​

The game will now be released either commercially or as shareware.

Spotted this over at RPGDot.

There are 4 comments on Ultima 1 Reborn converted to Era: The Arken Throne

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