In yet another treasure from the Mythic Archives, we get a glimpse into some of Electronic Arts’ cancelled plans to clean up, modernize, and streamline Ultima Online’s interface and appearance.
The style guide acknowledges that Ultima Online is, in many respects, the “king of the MMOs…the founder of the online gaming kingdom.” But it also laments that, “like Theoden of Rohan…it has to be lifted from its torpor…lifted back onto its horse, and feel its steel in its mighty grip as it rides, once again into glorious battle.”
UO Next, then, aimed to enhance Ultima Online based on lessons learned from projects such as Lord of the Rings (possibly the MMORPG, which would have been in development at the time, albeit not at EA) and Ultima Online 2. Interface, in particular, seemed to be a big issue for the project; it proposed significant overhauls to the Ultima Online UI, although it also focused on revamping many of the game’s graphical assets (wall pieces, etc.).
The first twenty two (22) pages are probably the most interesting; the remainder are just lists of game assets. Still, pull them up and enjoy! UO Next never saw the light of day, so have some fun imagining what might have been.