Greetings fellow avatars! Richard “Lord British” Garriott here coming to you from Dragon Con in Atlanta.

My new game currently under development, Shroud of the Avatar, is available on Steam Early Access and my new book “Explore/Create” will be hitting bookshelves Jan 10, 2017! Reserve your personalized copy here:

I’m here to talk about my new book, video games, space, personal rapid transit, exploration, and anything else that may pique your interest!

Learn more about Shroud of the Avatar here: You can also follow me on Facebook: And twitter: @RichardGarriott


Comments: 347 • Responses: 66  • Date: 

RazzleFrazzapan119 karma

Remember that time you got killed at the bank? Was that beta? Strange how the chaos of UO made it so unique.

Also, can I have 5 years of my life back?

(jk, thanks for all the memories)

RichardGarriott144 karma

Oh, so well! It was at the end of the Beta, giving a speech in Trinsic, a person named RAINZ cast a fire field around me. I thought I was immortal... but I had forgotten to set the immortality flag months previously.

SentientDust70 karma

So I always wondered... Why "Lord British"?

RichardGarriott87 karma

The summer I learned to play D&D, the group that introduced me to it made up nicknames for everyone else... They thought I had a British accent, which I don't, but since I WAS born in England the nickname for my characters became British, and then Lord British!

4e65726452 karma

What is your name?

What is your job?

How is your health?

RichardGarriott71 karma

Well played! My name is Lord British I am the Sovereign of New Britannia I am well, but our lands are in need of a hero. One who will fulfill the Dirae Prophecy!

Abstruse31 karma

Gonna give me something better than a stick and piecemeal leather armor to save the world this time around? :p

RichardGarriott54 karma

No. I will not meet you in your initial sojourn in the lands of New Britannia. You will have to earn or make the tools you will need! You will be helped by many whose allegiance is on our side, but some who are not. Take care!

Umlaut6944 karma

How big of a shock was it when you were killed in Ultima Online?

What ever happened to that guy?

RichardGarriott73 karma

RAINZ! It was a great shock to see my immortal self fall dead in the final minutes of the beta of Ultima Online. Only the next day did we discover the name of the foul villain, RAINZ who cast that fire field into the parapet in which I stood! His legendary status is secure, but sadly I know not where he is these days... else I would invite him to visit me in Shroud of the Avatar... I would love to return the favor!

RichardGarriott31 karma

Yes! My daughter Kinga is 4 and son Ronin is 2. They are growing up in a hands on museum of the amazing and the macabre! Plus as you might expect parents who take joy in showing them all we can and pushing them "just enough", as likely most parents do.

Kinga thinks skeletons and shrunken heads or normal in a home, that living in dirt floor homes speaking strange languages in our travels is just as great as her castle bed and has just learned how to independently properly interlock he giant LEGO bricks to make strong and stable structures I have previously been helping her with like ships and castles worthy of climbing on and jumping off of.

Ronin is just coming into his own, but knows his big sister loves him, and follows her around... Until he decides to take something from her...

alexandra_erin29 karma

The Ultima Trilogy had such a "kitchen sink" approach to fantasy, with time travel and space travel and technology (air cars, space ships, computers, etc.) and multiple sapient races to choose from. As the series went on, it seemed like the focus of what Ultima was narrowed and we got a human-only (or human-mostly) world, with mainly fantasy and realistic Medieval/Renaissance-ish technology. I know there was some exploration of what happened in the in-game mythology, but what guided the evolution of anything-goes-Sosaria into the more concrete Brittania, on a creative level?

RichardGarriott39 karma

The early Ultimas also had space travel, time travel, 2D environments, 3D environments, ALL in the same game! Creating multiple visual modes multiple races and multiples of many types of core things multiplies the work. Due to each mode getting bigger and harder to do, fewer and fewer go into the same game. Instead we build depth with variations that don't multiply the problem.

justscottaustin20 karma

Hi, Richard. I don't know whether you will remember me. The last time we spent any time together was actually at an old Origin party at some ranch or the other where I disrespected your ability to keep up with me during Ultimate. If you do remember, you will likely remember my full apologies on being wrong about that. Heh. And the subsequent tug of war... Rob says hi. I was the guy who kept coming in (rarely paid) to duct tape your network back together and plug those fuckin' Maya keys back in...

What is your feeling on AR vs VR and the NEAR future of video games? I see a lot of potential for a funded studio doing some very fun things with AR and zombies or TAG (The Assassination Game). Do you have any plans to bring us some truly timeless games with some new tech?

RichardGarriott26 karma

I am a HUGE VR fan and skeptic. I have tried most every VR tool since the early days. By all means the offerings today are VERY good. Yet, I see little in the way of a "killer app" to sell me on buying both hardware and a series of games to play with it.

That being said... the BEST example I know of today for VR gaming is "The Void". They have a Ghostbusters experience at Madame Tussaud's in NYC that is phenomenal!

justscottaustin7 karma

What about AR? Walking down the street with your mobile device/gun, and someone else is a zombie?

What about finding treasure chests as you walk through a city?

I see a lot of potential with the crossover of "low fantasy" and AR. brought up Ghostbusters on Reddit. Dude.

RichardGarriott13 karma

Ha! Haven't seen the movie. The VR experience is GREAT!

Not convinced about AR either. Again, no killer apps yet, that will drive the market and create a flow of compelling games to buy.

justscottaustin19 karma

Do you "still" own the lunar rover on the moon, or was that an urban myth? I always wondered, but I never had the courage to ask the guy who was behind my Favorite Games Ever (Ultima series) when I "knew" you.

Also, how is your brother?

RichardGarriott30 karma

I am still (along with my wife Laetitia) the worlds only owner of an object on a foreign celestial body. :) My brother Robert is happily retired and focused on his flying!

goodnewsjimdotcom19 karma

Hey, as a successful developer of the eighties and nineties, do you think you could have made it in the current indie mess we have now on mobile? The interface is very limited, and the market is crowded with four decades of video games people could choose from instead of your game. Yes the challenges of low ram and disk space is one thing, but it is also blessing that the game can be only so big too because everyone needs to play with that limiting factor. Do you think you could have made it from scratch today? Have you considered making a pseudonym to try?

RichardGarriott44 karma

I do NOT envy people starting today, there is a HUGE amount competition and other challenges. It was FAR easier when 1 person could make the whole game and few others to compete with. Yet, there remain huge opportunities today, but they must be faced with highly organized and dedicated effort!

nanonan16 karma

What's your favourite platform and game from the 1980's?

RichardGarriott37 karma

Apple ][ All the way! Still love it. Still have my originals running.

Abstruse15 karma

Has there ever been any serious push for a pen and paper RPG based on Ultima or Shroud of the Avatar?

RichardGarriott17 karma

Not yet! There have been some hobby projects, but nothing published.

RichardGarriott15 karma

I'd love to make my own Command & Conquer or Warcraft style RTS. I still like the original C&C the best, but would try to take its best in class strategy variations in strategy to a more fantasy setting.

I'd also love to remake "Dark Forest" with its "The Gruds are coming" and take the board game Speed Circuit into iOS apps.

But, frankly I am loving making Shroud of the Avatar!

Boredomis_real15 karma

Console or PC gaming?

RichardGarriott57 karma

PC - All the way!

RichardGarriott15 karma

Ultima IV & Ultima VII are my favorites! Ultima IV for introduction of "avatar" and virtues, Ultima VII for the detailed world interactions.

RichardGarriott14 karma

Games is still on the top of my personal agenda.

I hope my urban transportation work solves a real problem.

I will continue to work and play in space as I hope both to go many more times myself, and that will require dramatic cost reductions which enables us all to go!

Finally, I believe getting involved in politics, at least as an informed voter is a civic duty... So go out there, get informed, and vote!!!!

YOUcheckout14 karma

Can we have UO2? If it has the same mechanics as pre Trammel UO, I'll be very happy. Waiting for houses to decay, what a rush!

RichardGarriott6 karma

Come play Shroud of the Avatar, I think you will be happy!

sexrockandroll11 karma

What's your favorite thing about attending cons?

RichardGarriott17 karma

Sharing stories with and from players. This is the closest to "live performance" we get in game making. By talking and listening, I can see what stories and features seem to be resonating with the players, and which fall flat. Very fun, and very useful!

Dashrider11 karma

you stand in a dark damp stone corridor about 8 feet wide and 10 feet high, the walls and ceiling are supported by rotting wood buttresses that look like they could disintegrate if you were to even breath upon them. Ahead of you in the darkness you can make out 2 branching passages. one smells of rot, mildew and the passage of time the other has a faint light flickering down it. which path will you take and why?

RichardGarriott16 karma

I move carefully and quietly towards the light. Obviously, I do not wish to disturb the buttresses and the rotting passage hold less interest than the light!

GrueneWiese11 karma

Hey Richard : )

After the release of Ultima 9 you said in a german games magazine that you might be working on a game that's set in the modern world. In this you would not make a cameo as Lord British but as yourself, Richard Garriott.

What happend to this game and idea? Transformed this into Tabula Rasa?

RichardGarriott11 karma

That is what transformed into Tabula Rasa with me as General British

SunriseThunderboy10 karma

Welcome to my home town! Have you been able to see anything else of the city other than the Con itself?

RichardGarriott15 karma

Just the CON this year, but I have been coming since Dragon Con 1, and this is DC 30! So OI have had some time to explore. Love the city!

viol8er9 karma

I recently wondered what you were up to. Glad to see you're still working on games.

What games/game series that you're not involved with have recently done things that blew your mind and in what way were they different?

RichardGarriott14 karma

Oddly, while I prefer creating games on PC, and just started playing Cyan's Obduction on PC, much of may gaming has transitioned to mobile, for practical reasons, and I am enjoying it. On iOS I have loved games like: Spyder, Plants vs Zombies, Kingdom Rush, A dark Room, Monument Valley & now Pokemon Go!

RichardGarriott9 karma

I believe that TR coulda woulda shoulda been a great game, and in time, it would have been. A full post mortum would take too long here, but suffice to say, early false starts put us behind far enough that we succumbed to pressure to get it out early.

RichardGarriott8 karma

I believe we are bringing the next great role playing world. We are growing it over time with the money we can raise.

We are focused on innovative game play, social dynamics and supporting player driven creativity.

If you are asking where is the $100M in art and VFX.... You will have to wait till we earn the ability to pay for it. We will get there slowly but surely. Focused on what we think makes great gameplay first!

RichardGarriott7 karma

Nothing in the works. Open to ideas. EA would likely be "an issue".

_REDSTOOL_7 karma

I might totally be too late for this discussion but i always wanted to ask you if you're still a firm believer in the philosophy of Ethical Hedonism, or if your beliefs changed? I recall it was mentioned in an interview in the 90s i read somewhere on the WWW.

RichardGarriott21 karma

Yes, I am! For those who have not heard this. The Title is a bit provocative (on purpose), but I believe that the purpose of life is happiness (as is often espoused by Buddhism). I also believe that while pursuing happiness you should restrict your pursuit (hedonism) by a Ethical (do unto others as you would want done to yourself) behavior. If you do, I believe you are living a responsible happy worthy life!

RichardGarriott6 karma

Oddly. None. Last series that caught me was Firefly!

MakeAutomata5 karma

Hey Mr Garriott, what are some of your favorite, lesser-known automata?

Are there any automata makers out there we should be watching?

PS Also apparently I heard about you many times many years ago through Dr. Cat, long before I even knew you had an interest in automata!

RichardGarriott8 karma

Yes, I am an AVID collector of Automata, and new makers out there??? I would love to check out your work! Some of my favorite makers are Dug North, Pierre Meyer, Pablo Levazzari, Thomas Kuntz, and EVERYONE who worked for Cabaret Mechanical Theater!

RichardGarriott5 karma

Good question! We plan 5 "episodes" for Shroud of the Avatar, an about a yearly (or so) cadence. Each with a new landmass to be added and new stories that will range over both old and new areas.

After that... We will see.

RichardGarriott4 karma

Hate to admit it, but I watch videos far more than reading... That being said, I am a huge fan of Tolkien. After reading The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, I was compelled to dig into all of Tolkien's work, especially the back story work for LotR. But then I went back to the works he referenced that inspired him.

From this research I feel I learned a great deal I applied to my own craft!

Corydonn4 karma

Who are your five favorite rpg characters that aren't your own?

RichardGarriott7 karma

The games I loved enough to finish or close are: Myst, Command & Conquer, Medal of Honor, Battlefield 1942, WoW; then more recently on iOS: Spyder, Plants vs Zombies, Kingdom Rush, A Dark Room, Monument Valley.

DarthJodoc4 karma

With your world travels, family, & whatnot, not to mention your creation of languages for your games, have you become multilingual to some degree?

I recall from previous interviews/bios that your D&D teletype series were the product of high school classes that served as your foreign language credit.

RichardGarriott7 karma

I now know very little bit of Russian, needed for my space flight. But, my lack of early mastery of any new language really seems to be holding me back... or perhaps that's just an excuse... either way, I only know English... and even that I do not write well!

RichardGarriott3 karma

Just talk.

RichardGarriott3 karma

I'd love to, and hope I will, eventually collaborate with Warren Spector again. Plus there are many team members from programmers to artist to designers and composers I'd love to work with again. Harder to judge people I've not worked with.

RichardGarriott3 karma

As my kids get a bit older, yes, we will likely start haunted houses... But for a bit younger audience at first. So, it may be a few years before its right for you! :)

Earthboundfolk3 karma

Do you ever look back on your career and imagine how you would do things differently? If so, what would you do?

RichardGarriott5 karma

Sure! There were years I "wasted", bad calls I made (like Apple will defeat the PC) and games we shipped too early or poorly (Ultima VII or Tabula Rasa). But on the whole I am mighty happy. Hard to see how I could have known much better and very many times in the process.

RichardGarriott3 karma

Well, it had a number of early forms, each rejected by our publishers. My early drafts of "Project X" was the modern game you refer too most directly. It had features including the game reaching out by text and voice to threaten and spy on you in the real world. Once we were part of NCSoft, we partnered with Lineage developer Jake Song, and the game took on a more fantasy form. When Jake abruptly left the company, we abandoned the goal of Asian fantasy influence. So iteration 3, became the final form of Tabula Rasa. Two years and millions of dollars late, even as it started.

RichardGarriott3 karma

Yes my phonetic language project is by far my longest unfinished project. A variation became "gargish" in Utima VI, but I have yet to settle on a final form.

RichardGarriott2 karma

BASIC is Far easier than machine code. It was a tough transition but offered far greater power, speed and memory use. But as good as Ultima II was it was literally my first assembly program this I started over for Ultima III which was far better coded

RichardGarriott2 karma

I carry a dark lamp in my left hand, my trusty sword in my right. My backpack is filled with a variety of supplies but includes food, curing elixirs, tools, a tome of magic and a flute. I have a small coin purse with coins, gems and trinkets.

RichardGarriott2 karma

I think you are on to something... For one of those reasons, many current communities not as "tight". Perhaps Shroud of the Avatar's will be.

RichardGarriott2 karma

Keep is short and well trimmed.

RichardGarriott2 karma

The geocache called The Necropolis of Britannia Manor III has been a long term labor of love, most of which was accomplished by my team mates Dale Flatt and Melanie Green. It includes graves, crypts, solar powered lights and sounds, hidden clues, a back story and trail that requires crossing all of Austin, suggests secret drinks at bars just for catchers, and ultimately a locked tower overlooking my Austin property and codes to open it and see a final scare with quarter crushing keepsakes... Yeah, crazy.

Parenting... I am just as clueless as the rest, other than I know what a great job my mother did leading me on adventures in understanding and expression. I hope to pass on the same!

RichardGarriott2 karma

I feel that modern RPG's have slowly fixed problems in the old ways, but arrived at a point where they are far too often all the same and all too brain dead. "!" Marks for info NPC's that dump needed info into quest logs, logs that structure all quests into "go here, kill this, get that, return here, get this reward", and the endless level grind while min-maxing your DOT, does not a great game make!

I hope that with Shroud of the Avatar we have found better ways to solve these problems!

RichardGarriott2 karma

Thanks! Yes, I still own and live that lakefront medieval village, with ship, castle, theater and numerous cabin homes.

Groups from the SCA to Theater Troops, Boy Scouts and environmental groups all use it for events, as does my own company, and gaming and space industry groups.

RichardGarriott2 karma

7 as launched. Could easily have reached 9 in time.

RichardGarriott2 karma

Oh yes! Love, love, love them! Best, most irreverent, spot on roasting of my work from one who really enjoyed them, but accurately calls foul on issues with often rude and vulgar over the top rhetoric.

RichardGarriott2 karma

Allow you to risk more on Shroud of the Avatar, if you dare!

If not, sorry to have disappointed or lost you.

RichardGarriott2 karma

Love it! See other answer.

RichardGarriott1 karma

I do not know the international pricing. I'll try and find it for you.

PMmeGenius1 karma

If you could have one studio revive the Ultima franchise which would you choose? And don't say nobody! It's just for fun!

RichardGarriott1 karma

Portalarium! If not allowed... Then I would trust: Warren Spector, Harvey Smith, Raphael Colantonio, and very few others.

dinochow991 karma

I started playing the Ultima games just after Underworld Ascendant got announced, and they have consumed my life since then, as I slowly work my way through them. I will probably be contacting you in the coming months to report my feat. In the meantime, thank you for creating a world that is starting to feel like a second home. Although I wish you could have created a world that didn't have Iolo. Thieving unrepentant bard.

Until then, are you as excited for Underworld Ascendant as I am?

RichardGarriott1 karma


RichardGarriott1 karma


RichardGarriott1 karma

Games! I hope I have made and continue to make works worthy of the history of my early works that stretch back to about the beginning of the games industry!

RichardGarriott1 karma

C) Without regard to virtue, I use the wallet as bait, to draw out the cad, great him with a pleasant smile before I trounce the rouge!

RichardGarriott1 karma


younowaremyprisoner1 karma

I've been out of Austin and the loop for a long time - how do you celebrate Halloween these days? I always wanted to go to the haunted house / castle.

Which of the original 9 Ultima games do you think was the best?

RichardGarriott2 karma

The famous Britannia Manor Haunted Houses have morphed into all manor of special events from sinking the Titanic to The End of the World on my property in Texas. Scare for a Cure in Austin is the direct follow on to my work, using much of the materials techniques and staff of the Original britannia Manor. It still continues every year.

MyFavoriteThing1 karma

May we have more Autodual please?

RichardGarriott1 karma

Up to Steve Jackson!

RichardGarriott1 karma

I didn't. I built the company that went over to Russia and negotiated the ability! I manifested that destiny through hard work, planning and numerous failures!

In many ways, I am a principle shaper of the commercial space flight era we are now in! Check out details in my upcoming book "Explore & Create"!

RichardGarriott1 karma

Arthurian Legends was going to be a Worlds of Ultima retelling historical tales. Loved the idea, but didn't find the right team and plan at the time.

Lost Vale, is sadly, lost in most every way possible. Many of us have tried to find old design docs and failed.

RichardGarriott1 karma

I love it! Real testament to its power. However I feel it has strayed far from the paths of Lord British design! I'd help if they'd let me.