It's been quite a long time since players have had a good Ultima game they can really sink their teeth into, but that may all soon be changing thanks to the efforts of BioWare Mythic. The team is taking Ultima IV and updating it for the current generation, turning it into a free-to-play title for PC and iOS. Dubbed Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar, this game sounds like it could be everything you could want out of an Ultima remake... so long as you can get past the "free-to-play" aspect first.
One of the biggest changes BioWare Mythic is delivering in this update is the inclusion of a multiplayer mode. Since Ultima IV was a purely single player RPG, the news of a multiplayer mode may turn some longtime fans of the series off, but BioWare reassures that you can play alone if you like. The graphics - which have aged just a little, considering that Ultima IV was released way back in 1985 - will also be getting a revamp, with the team adding new 3D models and hand-painted backgrounds. The top-down perspective from the classic Ultima games stays, however, which will undoubtedly make a lot of fans happy.
Truth be told, BioWare Mythic may just be the perfect developer for an Ultima IV remake. The Ultima series has never really fallen in line with other RPGs, preferring instead to carve out its own unique character progression system that focuses on leveling up different virtues. BioWare is a developer known for thinking outside the box when it comes to RPGs from time to time, and with word that the studio's conversation system will be implemented in Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar, this is a match that has us pretty intrigued.
BioWare and EA say that Ultima Forever will attempt to strike that ever-elusive balance between time and money. Players will be able to go through the game at their own pace, or they'll have the option of paying money to skip ahead and reach the end faster. That makes it sounds like you won't have to pay any money to get the full Ultima IV experience, so let's hope that turns out to be true when the game is released later this year.