Ultima 7 was released in 1992 and even today offers a world that many role-playing games cannot match. Almost every NPC has its own background story and personality, as well as a sophisticated daily routine. It is possible to move items around or take them with you, even if they are completely useless. The world still feels alive today, 28 years later. This game inspired Swen Vincke, founder of Larian Studios, to want to develop his own computer games. That and a lie from a friend.
It has to be the perfect game
This friend told of an alleged uncle who worked at Nintendo and would develop a game in which players could simply do whatever they wanted. Even if the lie was exposed, the idea of this game stuck in Swen Vincke's head. And finally in Ultima 7 he found it. "There was so much freedom," Vincke told PCGamer. "It was non-linear, and you had to interview characters to know what to do. You had a group that responded to what you were doing. It pretty much matched what my boyfriend told me about for so many years had previously told. "
Unfortunately, the principle of Ultima 7 was never continued. This evolution of RPGs ended in 1992 and even Ultima 8 took several steps backwards. "The interactivity of the environment, using it to solve puzzles, how it all merged with the illusion of walking around in a world," explains Vincke. "It's something that hasn't evolved. If you take Baldur's Gate, it had a lot of dialogue reactivity, but the world was very static."
Source: PC Games
So Vincke set out to develop games based on Ultima 7. He wanted to continue RPGs on this path again. But that was anything but easy. At the time, only action RPGs like Diablo were selling well. There were also problems with physics systems in 3D worlds. Therefore Larian developed his own engine for Divinity: Original Sin in order to be able to solve many problems himself.
With Baldur's Gate 3, Swen Vincke is now more and more achieving what he envisioned many years ago: a game that comes close to Ultima 7. But even BG3 is not quite the goal that Vincke envisions. "Maybe it's my imagination now exaggerating, but I remember scouring every single screen (of Ultima 7) looking for clues, and often there were," he says. "Players should always be rewarded for their explorations: that's a lesson we're teaching our designers today. I'm teasing the programmers: Well, you could do that in Ultima 7, I don't see why you don't do it with your team can do today. " And so there are always new features coming into play that come from Ultima 7.
But Swen Vincke wants to go beyond that and finally implement the vision of this game that his friend told him as a lie so many years ago. We'll see if he can do that with Baldur's Gate 3.
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