This is one for the Ultima fans. Richard Garriott (aka Lord British) is working on a new RPG called The Shroud of the Avatar. The project was successfully funded on Kickstarter on with almost $2 million in funding. The game received extra funding through its own website.
Early footage of the animation looks pretty rough but it seems to draw a lot of parallels with the classic Ultima Online or Skyrim with respect to the freedom your character has to live their virtual life. What particularly impressed me though was a return to an old fashioned text-based conversation system. That's right, you actually have to type the questions and the keywords in order to start or continue conversations. Most would say this is terribly cumbersome in the age of touch screens and mice - who would want to type on a keyboard? But I believe we've lost a lot of the interactivity by getting rid of the text-based parser. With a mouse-based system you'd probably only keep clicking on all the options for the sake of being a completionist while not actually concentrating on anything that was said. With a text-based parser system, you actually have to concentrate on what is being said in order to open up new conversation options. The game is in fact rewarding people who are switched on and thorough in their interrogation.
Anyway, a seemingly minor feature but a pretty bold move if you ask me. It shows that Richard Garriott is not afraid to use old-fashioned features if it indeed serves to improve gameplay.
[LINK: Official Shroud of the Avatar website]
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