Ultima 7 Design Documents: Cities, Towns & NPCs

Courtesy of former Origin programmer Bill Randolph, and thanks to the tireless efforts of Joe Garrity of the Origin Muesum, the Ultima Codex is pleased to present these documents — which have been broken out into forty-six (46) images — which discuss some of the towns and cities which were planned for inclusion in Ultima 7. What’s more, these documents pertain to a very early version of the game, which is different in several ways from what was finally shipped. Not all of the NPCs or plot elements listed in these five documents, which were written in June and July of 1991, made it into the final cut of the game.

Download the documents:

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All five documents mostly concern three of the cities in the game: Vesper (which in some versions of the document is quite a bit different from Vesper in Ultima 7), Moonglow (a few differences can be noted), and Yew/Empath Abbey (few differences here; the plot even early on seemed to involve the Emps quite a lot). The NPCs document follows a similar structure. Keep an eye out, when reading through the documents, for notes indicating that particular NPC’s are based on real-life people; Tseramed, for example (who was originally to be called Kendem, it seems).

Over the course of about a month (less, actually), the designs for these towns and their plots went through at least five major or minor revisions.

Now, the images here, in JPEG format, are lower-resolution extracts from PDF scans of the original documents. They are legible, but not of particularly high quality, and thus are not recommended for printing; download the PDF files for that purpose.

Most importantly, though: enjoy! Pull up the images, download the PDFs, and pore over them. Search out every little detail, and enjoy a fascinating glimpse into the nuts and bolts of how Origin crafted a truly ground-breaking RPG. The Ultima Codex is indebted to Joe Garrity for providing these documents, to Bill Randolph for releasing them and making them available for us to see, to John Watson, and to everyone who worked at Origin Systems.

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