Ultima Online: Spirit of Virtue

These images were taken by Withstand the Fury Dragon in February of 2013, at the behest of Paul Barnett at Mythic Entertainment. They showcase some concept art (and mockups) for a proposed overhaul of Ultima Online that Origin Systems evidently put together around the same time that the Age of Shadows expansion was under development.

Tentatively entitled Spirit of Virtue, this project would have likely done away with Ultima Online’s Classic Client. The basic idea behind Spirit of Virtue, as Ben “Bandit LOAF” Lesnick of Cloud Imperium Games explained to me, was to enhance Ultima Online with an Ultima 9-style game engine; whether this would then have taken advantage of the 3D capabilities of the Third Dawn client, or else would have migrated the game to a wholly new client, is unknown. Some of the screenshot mockups and concept art bear more than a passing similarity to Ultima X: Odyssey, as well.

As far as Ben is aware, Spirit of Virtue never made it beyond the conceptual/pre-production stage. Even so, it is a hitherto unknown chapter in the history of Ultima Online, and the Ultima Codex is indebted to Paul Barnett at the team at Mythic Entertainment for allowing it to be shared with the world.

Alternatively, Spirit of Virtue may have been an early name for Ultima X: Odyssey. That, at least, is what Chris “Binky” Launius speculates may have been the case. Meanwhile, Stephen Emond had this to say about the project in Ultima Online: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide: 2013 Edition: “Despite sharing some similar features to Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa, Ultima X is not the “Project X” he had planned after Ultima IX. See the “Ultima Worlds” section for additional information. The game was also briefly referred to by UO players as “UO 2.0” although that turned out to be another project entirely (which was also cancelled). More persistent were the players who mistakenly referred to it as UOX. One alternate name that may have been used internally for the game early in its production was “Ultima Online III: The Spirit of Virtue“. In December 2003 two wallpapers bearing that logo were mistakenly released (and quickly removed).”

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