Well…the website leaked a couple days early, and astute observers even brought it to my attention. The Wing Commander CIC reported on it, and even took some heat from fans over the speculation it fueled.
Stretching across dozens of games and three decadesí time, millions of people from all over the world have set out on great adventures in the world of Ultima. They have braved perilous dungeons, faced off against fearsome enemies, conquered lands and saved worlds.Over the coming months, ultimaforever.com will be expanding, looking back at over 30 years of Ultima heritage! Check back soon!
But more than just an Ultima retrospective, the site provides something else: an official, free download of Ultima 4.
Having defeated the evil Mondain and his progeny in his previous 3 trips, the Stranger returns to Britannia and endeavors to master each of the Virtues. In the process of meditating at shrines and questing through perilous dungeons, he seeks aid from seven great Companions. Together with these Companions, the Stranger braves the great Stygian Abyss, uncovers the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom and becomes the Avatar.
Released in 1985, Ultima IV was the first in the ìAge of Enlightenmentî period of Ultima games. It truly was a step forward in gaming, as it focused not on defeating some generic evil force with traditional ìhack & slashî gameplay, but offered a story-driven quest based on ethical dilemmas presented to the player in an attempt to acheive enlightenment.
Ultimaforever.com is pleased to officially offer the full, original PC version of Ultima IV for download. Please be aware that you will need to install a verion of DOSbox in order to play. What are you waiting for? The virtues await!
Of course, you have to fill out the usual information that EA is legally obligated to ask for (email address, country, date of birth) when offering downloads. Don’t worry; there are “don’t spam me”-type checkboxes as well.
But the download itself is well worth grabbing; it clocks in at just under 27 MB, and includes a large image of the world map, plus high-resolution scans of the original documentation and cluebook.
And for those of you who want to check out Ultima Online, BioWare Mythic is offering a fourteen-day free trial of that game as well.
Important point: This site will become, in essence, the new main point of contact at Electronic Arts for Ultima-related information, plus a means to obtain an official, free Ultima 4 download, which I suspect (but haven’t yet confirmed) to be the same as the CGW CD version that Origin Systems released to certain Ultima Dragons so many years ago now.
As nods to the fandom go, that’s pretty huge. Keep checking back!
Update: The Wing Commander CIC is now carrying the story as well!