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Trivia / Ultima IX

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  • Christmas Rushed: EA wanted to get Ultima IX released in time for Christmas with huge chunks of content cut or dummied out, seeing Ultima Online and the in-development Ultima Online 2 as larger money makers than another single player game.
  • Creator Killer: The game was received with disappointment by fans upon release, and this — combined with a development ridden with problems — is seen as responsible for driving Origin to closure. See Executive Meddling and Troubled Production for examples.
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  • Executive Meddling: The development team wanted to make this as great a game as the fans deserved, and it shows in the large three-dimensional world they created, and the reintroduction of the companions and Virtues after VIII left them out. However, most of the development staff was reassigned to Ultima Online or left the company displeased with the management, forcing them to start the game over twice and thus having to drastically cut corners and content to get the game out by the deadline. Or, as Spoony so neatly put it:
    Spoony: And then Electronic Arts happened, again!
  • Real Life Writes the Plot — The reason why the Avatar opens the Stygian Abyss by summoning Pyros, rather than the originally scripted Slasher of Veils. Because of the development schedule being cut, and the fact that they'd already created a CGI Pyros for an unrelated cutscene in the original plotline, it worked out much quicker to just stick him in the cutscene where the Slasher would have been summoned, and alter the dialogue accordingly.
    • For those who don't know why this is bad... Pyros is not supposed to exist anymore. He's gone, and his essence was consumed by the Avatar back in Ultima VIII.
    • Even worse- in the game "Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss," you actually destroy the abyss.
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  • The Other MartyMichael Dorn originally recorded the Guardian's dialogue for this game. Due to the amount of Executive Meddling however, the storyline ended up being radically altered, and Dorn was too busy with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to record the new dialogue. As a result they ended up having to bring back the Guardian's original voice actor, Bill Johnson.
  • Troubled Production: Lead creator Richard Garriott originally planned to have IX pick up exactly where the previous game left off (the Avatar confronting the Guardian on the latter's homeworld). However, after realizing that the fanbase likely wanted a return to the series' roots, he scrapped the idea. Then, as described under Executive Meddling, when development was underway, Electronic Arts moved most of the team over to work on Ultima Online, this held development in limbo for a year, which meant the graphics of the game become woefully outdated due to rapid development in graphics technology, and Origin had to scrap the whole game had and start over from scratch in new engine. Then several key members of the Origin left due to displeasure with the management, which co-incided with EA breathing down Origin's neck with a unnegotional deadline for the game, which at this point had been under development for almost 5 years. Origin had basically no choice but to rush the game out, cutting the story down to a bare bones minimum and shipping with a large number of bugs unresolved.
    • And things didn't end there either: When pre-production on what was to become Ultima X: Odyssey was underway, EA cancelled all of Origin's other planned projects (including Ultima Online 2) and forced a relocation of Odyssey's development from Austin, Texas to California, leaving developers who couldn't make the move due to family issues out of work. This subsequently led to the project being scrapped altogether, and Origin eventually being disbanded a short time later.
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  • Vaporware: In-game, the Avatar can watch a preview for the cancelled Ultima Online 2 MMORPG.
  • What Could Have Been — There are screenshots in existence of the early build of the game, which would have been viewed from above (like the other games in the series), but still featured environments and characters which were rendered in 3D. The decision to rework the entire game engine into effectively being a third person shooter was made by the game publishers because 3D games were popular.
    • Just check out this website, which details the rather exhaustive development process.
    • Dummied Out content includes remnants of the original plot, unused maps, and removed cutscenes.
    • Richard Garriot originally intended the origin of the Guardian to be completely different - rather than being The Avatar's dark aspect, he would have been the three Shadowlords combined into one entity. Interestingly, this would have tied this back to the first game far better- the Shadowlords were created from the shards of Mondain's gem, a plot point in Ultima I. Mondain and his influence remained extremely important figures throughout the series- Big Bad in game one, his girlfriend was the big bad in Ultima II, his son in Ultima III, and the shards of his gems formed the Shadowlords in V. And he has influence over the Gargoyles' religion in Ultima VI. Having something related to Mondain would have been a perfect way to end the series.
    • Also the Bob White Plot.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Codex of Ultima Wisdom, and Wikia Codex of Editable Wisdom.
  • Word of Saint Paul: According to the Bob White plot, The Time Lord was the last of an ancient race known as The Ultima. The Ultima would create an Avatar of Virtue whose counterpart, the Avatar of Corruption would arise, until a great war raged across the Void. On the brink of annihilation, the last Ultima was left to battle his dark brother, until merging to become one being. Gaining wisdom, the being realized there were no absolutes, but that each choice was judged on its own context, as virtue was a means and not an end, and created the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom as a guide, showing how the path of Ascension can be attained by all.
  • Writer Conflicts With Canon: According to Richard Garriott, Spark grows up to live happily ever after, marrying a nice local girl, having two kids, and raising goats, contradicting Spark's appearance as a dead Paladin.

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