It looks like EA and Bioware are teaming up in the MMO ring yet again with their just announced Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar. You’ll be able to play as a fighter or mage as you jump into Britannia in this free-to-play MMO coming to the PC and iPad later this year. Ultima Forever will feature “accessible RPG gameplay” as well as “trademark Bioware storytelling” in addition to cross-platform play that lets you pick up and play whenever and wherever you’d like. If you’d like to register for future beta events, you can head over to the game’s website, but you won’t find much in the way of information there just yet.
It’s interesting to see EA and Bioware hit the MMO market again. Ultima Forever is being developed by the guys at Bioware Mythic, based in Virginia, whereas The Old Republic was/is being worked on by Bioware Austin, so it’s not like the same development team is trying to keep up with both titles. Do keep in mind though, this is the third MMO EA will be publishing in the space of a year. Huge corporation or not, that’s an significant investment. Given that The Old Republic has had some pretty severe subscription drops recently, and it’s too early to tell if The Secret World will manage to keep a significant player base, it seems pretty risky to drop another MMO, free-to-play or not.
Then again, now that The Old Republic is free-to-play up t0 level fifteen, this could be a title that EA and Bioware are using to see just how far the F2P model can go. Given that there is 30+ years of history behind the Ultima title, it’s a pretty well known brand, not unlike Star Wars, in a way. It may be that the success or failure of Ultima Forever will dictate where EA and Bioware go with their MMOs in the future.