During the Development of Ultima 4, Origin Systems had two other games in development, AutoDuel and Moebius: The Orb of Celestial Harmony. Both came out in 1985, along with Ultima 4, giving the company 3 games published that year. Both of these non-Ultima games had elements inspired from the previous Ultima games as well as from the ongoing development of Ultima 4. In today’s post, I want to focus on the Moebius game.
While I don’t have alot of Moebius: The Orb of Celestial Harmony files, I do have a few neat things that I am excited to share with you. Below are some of the Box Art images, including the front cover of the Sequel to Moebius, Windwalker, that came out in 1989. I also have a copy of one advertisement for the game as well.
The game was produced by Origin Systems and designed by Greg Malone. Yes, this is the same Greg Malone who worked on Duke Nukem 3D. The game was released late in 1985 after some delays, probably due to Origin working on multiple games at the same time. Versions for DOS and other platforms came after its initial release.
Moebius has gameplay and graphical elements that any Ultima fan will recognize. But what struck me always was how at the time Moebius innovated by having a top down over world map but a side view kung fu combat view. As a game it also helped push Origin’s graphics to a whole new level, even better then Ultima 4, in many ways. So much so that some hail the game as a graphical prelude to Ultima 6. Some tiles in the game, when in the over world view, overlap a bit (unlike the tiles in the previous Ultima games and Ultima 4). This gives some illusion of a 3D effect. Some people over the years point to this as an early start to a 3D isometric view. Also, while characters are depicted using only their top halves in the over world, characters are very much recognizable rather than little pixel men of Ultima 4.
I also have available Questbuster newsletters from 1984, 1985, and 1986 that mention Mobius. The one from 1986 even has a review of the game. One thing that caught my eye in digging through archives is how this game cost $59.95 back in the day. Today, games that go through this same full development and then release (no early access, no beta, etc) that Moebius and other games from this era, often have the same price. As Kenneth reminded me today, if you figure in inflation, games are cheaper now then back in the 80s. We truly have things good. I have also included the one Questbuster I have that includes a mention of the Mobius Windwalker Sequel briefly as well. Click Here to Download!
I hope you enjoy this info as much as I did in sharing it. For more stuff, check out Pix’s posts on Moebius on his website as well as his posts on Windwalker. Joe Garrity of the Origin Museum has some original advertising artwork, the *prototype* of the Moebius headband, and some other development documents. For gameplay video of the game, check out the YouTube series done by highspeeddub. If you wish to try the DOS version of this classic game, I am including the link to the embed on the Archive.org Moebius: The Orb of Celestial Harmony DOS version article.