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March 21, 2001

Well Rounded Entertainment on UO2 Cancellation

This follow-up to the news about UWO:Origin (UO2) being cancelled was posted by Well Rounded Entertainement, here:

EA cancels Ultima Online 2

Electronic Arts has dropped a bomb on the massively multiplayer gaming world. The company has ceased work on Ultima Worlds Online: Origin (the game better known as Ultima Online 2).

In a statement released today, EA's Origin Studios said:

Electronic Arts and Origin Systems have announced a plan that will increase their focus on Ultima Online and halt production of OWO: ORIGIN (UO2). The reason is simple, rather than creating OWO: ORIGIN (UO2) as a parallel world competing with UO, we've decided to put those resources into growing and improving the core offering for Ultima Online’s 230,000 loyal subscribers. In the near future and with the release next week of Ultima Online: Third Dawn , players will see new lands, new creatures and a world that is continually evolving within Ultima Online.

Origin spokesman David Swofford tells WRE that the decision came as a surprise to the Austin, Texas-based division, but he sees the logic in the move.

"The upside to this, if there is any, is we're taken the resources and putting them into Ultima Online. We plan to continue to invest and put resources into UO," he says.

Exactly how many of UO2's technological resources will be able to make the transition is a bigger question, though. The game, as it was shown at last year's E3, was designed as a fully 3-D world. The forthcoming Third Dawn will feature 3-D models, but falls far short of all that was being planned for UO2.

For fans of massively multiplayer online role playing games, Swofford told WRE that today's move should not be interpreted as a decision by the company to abandon that segment of the industry.

"Corporate wide, EA has big plans for PSWs (persistant state worlds) in other studios," he says. "It's not like Origin was the only studio working on these."

Among the other massively multiplayer games EA is working now is Westwood's Earth and Beyond.

Posted by Nobody at March 21, 2001 5:35 PM

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