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Planned box cover art for Ultima X: Odyssey


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Ultima X screenshot.

Ultima X: Odyssey (UXO) was to be a massively multiplayer computer role-playing game (MMORPG) based in the Ultima universe, developed by Origin Systems for Electronic Arts.

Although scheduled to be released sometime in 2004, EA cancelled the project on June 30, 2004, after the closure of Origin and the layoffs of several employees. Despite being a multiplayer game, UXO was being marketed as a continuation of the Ultima series that was last visited with Ultima IX rather than as a sequel or replacement to the still commercially successful Ultima Online. Although the "X" in the title is a Roman numeral 10 (in keeping with its place in the sequence of numbered Ultima games), it is sometimes pronounced as "eks," instead of "ten."

Ultima X: Odyssey was the first Ultima game developed after series creator Richard Garriott left Origin, and is the second Ultima-based MMORPG to be cancelled (Ultima Worlds Online: OriginUltima Online 2 — was cancelled in 2001). The game's demise followed in the wake of other MMORPG cancellations in 2004, including True Fantasy Live Online, Mythica, and Warhammer Online (which was revived in 2005). EA noted that it would focus development efforts on Ultima Online but the real reason behind the cancellation was the fact that EA decided to move the UXO development team from Austin, Texas to another facility in California. Most of the developers couldn't cope with the move because it would mean they would have to go away from their families and friends in Austin. Since the developers didn't move and EA chose not to give time to the new developer team based in California to figure out the already existent code, it was decided to cancel the debut of the last game of the Ultima Series.

Ultima X: Odyssey was to use the lauded Unreal engine (a prototype was developed using the Sims 2 engine which would have replaced the Unreal engine plans). As with most MMORPGs, players would have had to pay a monthly fee to play it. UXO hoped to revitalize the MMORPG genre, which many have criticized as being full of EverQuest clones. For example, it promised exciting combat as opposed to the "press 'A' to auto-attack" found in many MMORPGs. The fiction stated that after Ultima IX, the Avatar created the new world called Alucinor in which UXO is set. Moongates throughout Alucinor would allow players to traverse the game world quickly and all players would have the ability to teleport their friends to their current location.

Drawing from the single-player Ultima games, Ultima X: Odyssey was to use the established Virtues of Ultima in addition to skills, experience points and levels. Players would be able to practice in the eight Virtues (Compassion, Honesty, Honor, Humility, Justice, Sacrifice, Spirituality, and Valor) and eventually reach the maximum level with it. If a player maxed out each Virtue, they became very powerful, attaining the power of the Avatar. This example, provided by EA during development, could help in understanding the Virtue system:

A hooded guy asks you to get his gold medallion back that has been in his family for centuries. He tells you who stole it and where that person could be found. Once you find the thief, he tells you that he only stole the medallion so he could sell it and buy bread to eat. From here you can either be Compassionate by giving him some bread, letting him live, but taking the medallion back; or practice Justice and kill him, taking the medallion to its rightful owner. When you return to the hooded guy who gave you the job, you find out the medallion isn't his, but another person's who got robbed by the foodless guy, and now you can either Honor the agreement and leave with your payment, or be Honest and take the medallion to its real owner, killing the person who gave you the job.

The storyline of the game was meant to pick up right where Ultima IX left off, in the story the Guardian and Avatar are now one being, and both the Avatar and Guardian halves are fighting to dominate one another and take control. The game itself would have taken place in a world inside the Avatar's mind (the world was called "Alucinor", which roughly translates from Latin to something like "Wandering in the mind"), and the people in the world were tasked to follow the eight virtues in the hopes of aiding the Avatar gain the power to completely defeat the Guardian.

For additional information, see;

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This article includes material originally taken from Wikipedia article Ultima X: Odyssey. Wikipedia material is licensed under GNU Free Documentation License.

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