Ultima: Ascension
A small U:A image I made
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With the recent showing of Ultima: Ascension at the E3 show in Atlanta, Origin has opened an official website at http://www.ultima-ascension.com to provide information about the upcoming game.

The Ultima timeline is broken into a series of Ages; the first being the Age of Darkness, chronicled in Ultima I-III; the second being the Age of Enlightenment, chronicled in Ultima IV-VI; and finally the Age of Armageddon (also referred to as the Age of the Guardian), chronicled in Ultima VII-VIII.

The Age of the Guardian

Ultima VII -- The Black Gate, Following the rise of the Fellowship, a group dedicated to replacing the Virtues, the town of Trinsic was shocked by a murder done quietly in a barn. Moments later, a red moongate arose admitting the Avatar back into Britannia. Joining with his old Companion, Iolo, the Avatar set upon a quest to find the killer. Learning of the Fellowship, the Avatar travelled to Britain, where he met with its founder, Batlin the sage, who unknown to all, was secretly the minion of the Guardian, an interdimensional being set upon conquering Britannia. Through his travels, the Avatar unraveled a plot set upon delivering Britannia into the Guardian's waiting hands. After an epic battle, the Avatar was faced with a choice: to destroy the interdimensional Black Gate, and thus stop the Guardian from entering the lands; or to use the Black Gate to return home to Earth, as the moongates he had valued for centuries had suddenly become useless. His heart heavy in his breast, the Avatar destroyed the Black Gate, trapping the Guardian within the Void, while Batlin flees Britannia.

Ultima VII, Part Two -- Serpent Isle, The Avatar follows the trail Batlin has set to the Serpent Isle. The Avatar, eager to see his old enemy dead, traveled to the mystical Serpent Pillars, and was instantly transported to the Serpent Isle, once known as the Lands of Danger and Despair. He was astonished to find the missing peoples of Moon, Fawn, and the Montors within the land, as well as the missing Castle of Lord Shamino, now in ruins. Tracking Batlin deep into the frozen northern wastelands,the Avatar arrived moments too late to prevent Batlin from releasing the Banes of Chaos, who captured and overtook the minds of the Avatar's Companions. Under their control, Dupre, Iolo, and Shamino ravaged the Serpent Isle, killing most of the residents. In his quest to restore his old comrades, the Avatar learned of an ancient culture that had lived centuries before. These Ophidians worshipped three Great Serpents, and had lived peacefully until the time of the Third Age of Darkness when Exodus captured the Great Earth Serpent for his own purposes. Unknown to all, this caused the Serpents of Chaos and Order to fight one another and plunged the very universe into Imbalance. Alerted to this danger, the Avatar was able to rescue his friends and restore the Balance to the lands, sadly at the cost of Sir Dupre's life. Following his act, the Avatar was captured by the evil Guardian within the Void...

Ultima VIII -- Pagan, The Guardian banishes The Avatar to the world of Pagan, a realm already under his foul power. Arriving upon the shores of that land, the Avatar sought a way to return to Britannia. His struggle was long and difficult as the Avatar learned of his true destiny, to become the Titan of Ether. Learning of an ancient temple once within Pagan, the Avatar gathered together five pieces of Blackrock to capture and contain the four Titans of Pagan. Mastering the magics of Necromancy, Tempestry, Theurgy, Sorcery and Thaumaturgy the Avatar entrapped the other Titans' power, and emerged as the Titan of Ether. From the five blackrock fragments, the Avatar recreates the Blackrock Obelisk of the Great Temple. The pyramid shaped obelisk is a Black Gate which takes the Avatar into the Nexus of the Worlds. Upon entering the Nexus, a person is taken to where they most desire to go. The Avatar is taken back to Britannia, where he appears wearing the suit of the Titan of Ether. However, Britannia is unlike the one we remember. The sky is blood red, rivers of molten lava flow across the land and dragons swoop about in the sky. The Guardian's head is carved into a mountain.

The Plot...

As given in a letter presumed to be from Lord British:

Welcome back to Britannia, Avatar.

Lord British's kingdom is in dire need of your aid. The Guardian's foul stench reeks throughout the land, which is now littered with plague and famine.

Eight mysterious columns have risen from the dungeons, leaving evil in their wake. This is, no doubt, the Guardian's doing.

You must travel the lands, visiting the cities, dungeons and wilderness along the way, to unlock the secret of the columns and put an end to their treachery by restoring virtue to the land.

Good luck, Avatar!

From the recent E3 show in Atlanta:

The time frame of Ultima: Ascension is, as suspected, directly after Pagan. The Avatar returns to Britannia to find the world destroyed, and huge columns are ripping the world apart in key locations of the world. The runes of virtue have been subverted by the Guardian, and the Britannian moons are pulling the columns through the earth, destroying continents in their wake. The world may be split into north and south continents.

Lord British's health is tied to the land, and as such he is ailing. Your job, in part, will be to restore the runes of virtue.

Briefly mentioned was the fact that there are eight virtues, and eight circles of spells.

Ed Del Castillo stated that from the outset it was planned to do an ultima about the Avatar, rather than a game about Iolo, Shamino, or other former party members.

It is currently planned for the Avatar to start the game in Stonegate tower, where you will receive a tutorial, and then move on to Britain. Your sidekick Raven will, at the appropriate time, take you to Asylum. In this way the game will start out linear but open up as you gain more means of travel.

System Requirements

As of the E3 1998 show, the system requirements for Ultima: Ascension remain high.

The Demo

Hold your horses! Actually, a recent posting from Boomer of OSI stated that work is progressing on the demo, and should be released soon for public consumption. It is unknown as yet if the demo will be interactive or not.
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