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Interview Ultima 5: Lazarus Interview with Ian Frazier

VentilatorOfDoom

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Tags: Ian Frazier; Ultima 5: Lazarus; Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny

For quite some time now the bros in Jaesun's super-secret bro forum concerned themselves with a hobby-project of theirs. It was an interview about a Dungeon Siege mod, Ultima 5: Lazarus. Now, having a new, fancy homepage, we might as well put it online. I'll give you a snippet:

-What were your primary motivations for recreating Ultima V in a modern engine? How did the Lazarus project come about and how did you get involved with it? Why did you choose to remake Ultima V as opposed to one of the earlier or later games in the series?

The first motivator was simply a love of Ultima. After Ascension came out, I was incredibly sad. Partially because I was disappointed by Ascension itself, but more because I hated for the series I loved so much to finally be over. The idea of bringing it back to life (i.e. Lazarus) in some form was very appealing to me.

The next motivator was that Ultima V itself seemed to me like it had so much potential to be an amazing "modern" game experience. It had this story with shades of gray and this giant cool world to explore and an interesting, dark atmosphere…but all of those things were hinted at more than actually there—after all, the game was from 1987! NPCs had tiny snippets of dialogue, the graphics were archaic, the music was beautifully crafted but sounded very dated in midi form, etc. I wanted to take that core idea and spirit that made Ultima V so cool and bring it back to life with all that 15 years of technological advancement afforded us. (this is also why I didn’t choose to remake one of the later games—I felt Ultima V had the most potential, plus I thought Ultima VII was still playable enough that it didn’t “need” remaking)

The third motivator was selfish: I knew from 6th grade onward that I wanted to be a game designer, and as I was preparing for college I knew that I needed to make a game of my own to learn the skills and "prove myself," because class-work alone was not going to get me into the incredibly competitive games industry. I figured I needed a project and, well, Lazarus was it! Starting my first week of college, I began to sketch out the early designs for Lazarus and start trying to get fellow students and some Ultima fans online to join me in working on this crazy project, and eventually it started to build up steam. A long 5 years later, we finished!

Hope you like the read.

Read the full article: Ultima 5: Lazarus Interview with Ian Frazier
 

MMXI

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That was a great read. Made me realise just how big a project Lazarus must have been. Considering the engines most game developers use nowadays to build their games, Lazarus was effectively as large and ambitious as a full game, yet not as decline due to having source material from 1988.

Ian Frazier said:
If what you’re really asking me about is purely turn-based RPGs (i.e. no action elements at all), then I’d say yes there’s a place for it, but it’s not in the mainstream, at least not in the West (JRPGs are a different story). I doubt we’ll see another completely turn-based AAA RPG in the West. But I think there’s plenty of opportunity for them in the growing markets of tablet, phone, social, and handheld games, where costs of development (and the amount you need to sell to be successful) are considerably smaller. I’m definitely expecting to see some sweet old-school-style RPGs appearing on my iPad over the next couple of years.
This part was depressing, though. But it's not like any of us thought any differently.
 

Zed

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Took a while to read but there was a lot of good stuff in there.

Yeah regarding that "no TB RPG in the West". I wonder what his thoughts are on the whole crowdfunding thing.
 

Jaesun

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Took a while to read but there was a lot of good stuff in there.

Yeah regarding that "no TB RPG in the West". I wonder what his thoughts are on the whole crowdfunding thing.

Yeah. Sadly this interview happened before the whole Kickstarter craze.
 

ghostdog

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That was a good read.

:thumbsup:

You've brought some incline with these interviews lately. Keep it up.
 

tibermoon

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Took a while to read but there was a lot of good stuff in there.

Yeah regarding that "no TB RPG in the West". I wonder what his thoughts are on the whole crowdfunding thing.

I'd never seen it done on a large enough scale to make me think it was a viable option until Tim Schafer's brilliant maneuver last week (huzzah for Double Fine!), but upon seeing that...well, it certainly gives me hope! :)
 

Bruma Hobo

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Awesome! I never played Lazarus, I need to finish the original U5 first...
Fuck that, I'm downloading it right now :bounce:
 

Sceptic

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Fantastic read. Ian comes across as a really nice guy too, especially with how detailed some of the answers are.
 

Jaesun

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Ian comes across as a really nice guy too, especially with how detailed some of the answers are.

Agreed. And the fact I consider him a CODEX BRO, for even taking the time to answer our questions. And in great detail.

:bro:
 

MicoSelva

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Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut Codex+ Now Streaming! Enjoy the Revolution! Another revolution around the sun that is. Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. Pathfinder: Wrath I helped put crap in Monomyth
I bought DS: Legends of Aranna only so I could play U5 Lazarus and U6 Project.

That was my best spent $4 for gaming I can remember.
 

Bruticis

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Awesome read, thanks for doing it. If anyone hasn't played U5:Laz yet, do it right now!
 

Silellak

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Took a while to read but there was a lot of good stuff in there.

Yeah regarding that "no TB RPG in the West". I wonder what his thoughts are on the whole crowdfunding thing.

I'd never seen it done on a large enough scale to make me think it was a viable option until Tim Schafer's brilliant maneuver last week (huzzah for Double Fine!), but upon seeing that...well, it certainly gives me hope! :)

Lazarus-Brofist! :bro:

I was one of the ones who Jaesun tapped to help put the list of questions together. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer the questions of us drooling Lazarus fanboys.

As I was reading the interview, something came to mind that I'd forgotten about and wish I'd asked - I remember on the Lazarus boards, there was talk of a really well-hidden Easter Egg in the game for long-time Ultima fans that no one had found yet. As far as I can remember, no one ever did find it. I don't suppose you can finally tell us what that is? ;)
 

Sceptic

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I was one of the ones who Jaesun tapped to help put the list of questions together. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer the questions of us drooling Lazarus fanboys.
Wa... tibermoon is Ian? He is among us? :eek:

Many many thanks for answering our questions, and MANY more for making Lazarus in the first place. I played it a few years ago when I had almost given up on any good party-based CRPG being released and it warmed my heart on those cold winter nights :love:
 

tibermoon

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As I was reading the interview, something came to mind that I'd forgotten about and wish I'd asked - I remember on the Lazarus boards, there was talk of a really well-hidden Easter Egg in the game for long-time Ultima fans that no one had found yet. As far as I can remember, no one ever did find it. I don't suppose you can finally tell us what that is? ;)

Yeah, I suppose after all this time I can finally spill the beans...

If you explore the underworld very carefully, you can find a strange icy area that appears entirely out of place with its surroundings, as if teleported there wholesale from somewhere else. Within that area, you can find Enilno the Quicksword, the weapon that slew Minax the Enchantress in Ultima II. It's by far the best 2H weapon in Lazarus. :)

Meanwhile there's another even MORE hidden easter egg in the game, which as far as I know only 1 person has ever discovered in the years since Lazarus released (I'm sure others have found it, but only one has told me so). That one involves the character Hazael of Skara Brae, but I'll say no more than that.
 

tibermoon

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I was one of the ones who Jaesun tapped to help put the list of questions together. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer the questions of us drooling Lazarus fanboys.
Wa... tibermoon is Ian? He is among us? :eek:

Many many thanks for answering our questions, and MANY more for making Lazarus in the first place. I played it a few years ago when I had almost given up on any good party-based CRPG being released and it warmed my heart on those cold winter nights :love:

Haha, yep, that's me. I stop by the Codex and lurk from time to time. Never made an account until relatively recently, though.

Anyway, glad to hear you had such a great time with Lazarus! :)
 

Infinitron

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Meanwhile there's another even MORE hidden easter egg in the game, which as far as I know only 1 person has ever discovered in the years since Lazarus released (I'm sure others have found it, but only one has told me so). That one involves the character Hazael of Skara Brae, but I'll say no more than that.

Hazael is you, isn't he?
 

tibermoon

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Meanwhile there's another even MORE hidden easter egg in the game, which as far as I know only 1 person has ever discovered in the years since Lazarus released (I'm sure others have found it, but only one has told me so). That one involves the character Hazael of Skara Brae, but I'll say no more than that.

Hazael is you, isn't he?

Yep, he is. Or the me of several years ago, at least. Just as Lord British always had to be killed in some special manner in the Ultima games, there's only one way to kill poor Hazael.
 

Silellak

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As I was reading the interview, something came to mind that I'd forgotten about and wish I'd asked - I remember on the Lazarus boards, there was talk of a really well-hidden Easter Egg in the game for long-time Ultima fans that no one had found yet. As far as I can remember, no one ever did find it. I don't suppose you can finally tell us what that is? ;)

Yeah, I suppose after all this time I can finally spill the beans...

If you explore the underworld very carefully, you can find a strange icy area that appears entirely out of place with its surroundings, as if teleported there wholesale from somewhere else. Within that area, you can find Enilno the Quicksword, the weapon that slew Minax the Enchantress in Ultima II. It's by far the best 2H weapon in Lazarus. :)

Meanwhile there's another even MORE hidden easter egg in the game, which as far as I know only 1 person has ever discovered in the years since Lazarus released (I'm sure others have found it, but only one has told me so). That one involves the character Hazael of Skara Brae, but I'll say no more than that.
Oh, sweet! Enilno I actually knew about (and found on my first playthrough), but I didn't know about Hazael at all - and I didn't catch onto the "strange icy area" part of the easter egg.

I always thought it was weird that Enilno vanished from the Ultima saga without a trace, so I was pretty excited when I found it. Well played, sirrah.
 

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