The Richard Garriott Interview: Bonus Material
Part II of Eight Virtues in a Duffel Bag: The Richard Garriott Interview is live today, so go check it out. It picks up where Part I left off - with the room full of killing children. The interview was supposed to be a discussion about the Ultima series and Ultima VII in particular, but towards the end it veered off into other territory.
While that stuff didn't fit very well in the context of all this Ultima talk, I wanted to share a couple of questions (and answers) about space travel and the Worlds.com lawsuit and some other odds and ends.
Crispy Gamer: So what are you doing with your time now? Are you taking some time off or planning something exciting?
Garriott: I'm extremely embroiled in the privatization of space travel. Technically I am now a Space Adventures employee. My job title is Astronaut, and I'm now helping them work with other companies that are out building rockets to take people to space -- and that's everyone, from people you know well, like John Carmack of id Software -- who's got a company called Armadillo Aerospace -- and Elon Musk of PayPal fame, who's got a company called SpaceX, etc. I'm a big believer in both the importance and viability of taking people into space and lots of other people in our industry seem to be getting into this these days as well. While by no means is my time in gaming done, I'm spending time on this while it's fresh to me.
Crispy Gamer: What do you think of the Worlds.com lawsuit against NCsoft?
Garriott: To be honest, I have not read the details of the lawsuit, but my instinct on it is that it is similar to Amazon.com's early claim to "one-click buy." I personally find it very frustrating when people try to claim fundamental patents on self-evident ways to interact. So, without having read the legal briefs, I think it would be harmful to our industry if they win this. I sure hope that facts show that they don't have a proper claim. This is less to do with NCsoft and more to do with the good of the industry. The thing about NCsoft is that it's big enough to be relevant and small enough not to be World of Warcraft. Clearly the rest of our industry is watching carefully, and most publishers probably hope that NCsoft prevails.
Crispy Gamer: Basically this lawsuit is a screen test -- if they win, they are going to go after everybody.
Garriott: Exactly what they will do, I completely agree.
Crispy Gamer: Have you considered working on any other mediums -- like creating small games for the iPhone, Nintendo DS or PSP?
Garriott: It's crossed my mind, but I'm not compelled to go to those other platforms. Just like Ultima Online helped redefine the way we distribute game content and the way we interface with players, I would rather think of ways to reinvent that model to bring greater success even to new types of play styles and relationships with players.
Crispy Gamer: Why do you think there haven't been too many console-based MMO's?
Garriott: One of the reasons I like developing on the PC versus consoles myself is the higher resolutions, and input devices like mice and keyboards. I think of consoles as a great place to play short-term games like shooters, or games where you have multiple people in the same room playing together, but I don't think of consoles as the best medium to play MMOs. I've never played an MMO on a console mostly because the depth and detail-orientated playing that I like to doesn't work as well on a console as it does on a PC. I'm a big PC fan as a developer and as a player.
A couple of other notes - this interview was conducted prior to the Richard Garriott vs. NCsoft lawsuit, so I didn't ask him about that. On another front I asked Garriott about a long-held myth that the Guardian in Ultima VII represented EA's power over Origin. He assured me that this particular story is some kind of urban legend.