The original Ultima VI: The False Prophet was released by Origin Systems* in 1990. It featured a new isometric engine with 256 colors, greater sound, and a seamless world where the towns and castles were integrated on the same scale as the wilderness. It was a groundbreaking venture, something synonymous with all Ultimas.
* Origin Systems was acquired by Electronic Arts (EA) in 1992, but EA then ultimately disbanded the studio in 2004.
The story is fairly simple: twenty years after Blackthorn and the Shadowlords have been eliminated from Britannia (see Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny, or Ultima V: Lazarus, our sister project), the Avatarreturns to find a land at war with the mysterious gargoyles. While the Avatar searches for the means to free Britannia from the tyranny of its enemy, he learns that the gargoyles are trying to preserve themselves from a prophecy that forewarns the end of their world – a prophecy that can only be averted by the death of the Avatar. This cautionary tale preaches tolerance and diversity while enriching the mythos of the Avatar and the consequences of his actions.
The game was non-linear; so non-linear, in fact, that the plot was difficult to follow. Some threads were dropped altogether.
I still consider it as one of the biggest flops Origin had ever made, but many would disagree. It was the first Ultima that did not use a 2D, overhead map, but rather an isometric view. It was certainly much more advanced, technologically, than the ones before it, but the pretty graphics inhibited, rather than enhanced, the imagination. The view window was much too limited in size, and together with an unfriendly user interface, they were responsible for a lot of frustration. In this game, you are fighting the Gargoyles, who came out of the underworld as it was destroyed by Lord British being released from prison in Ultima 5. As the game goes on, it transpires that the Gargoyles have a non-evil purpose (I’m not telling!), and you eventually work with them on a compromise that will satisfy all. It sounds pretty grand, and it is a shame that its own engine ruined a game with such potential. – GamesDomain
The purpose of the Ultima 6 Project is to keep the character of the original Ultima VI alive, and to bring the graphics, music, and interface up-to-date. We have also enhanced many of the existing story lines to take advantage of a more sophisticated game engine, and took this chance to tie up many of the loose ends in the original game, improve continuity, and generally provide fan service to those who remember the original.
Below are links to essential Ultima VI bits of information:
- Nuvie: The outstanding open source program that lets you play U6 on various GUI operating systems.
- Wyvern’s U6 Walkthrough: The one and only. This one’s been around and available online since the original game out.
- U6 Sound Driver Help: Want to hear the full MIDI sound for U6? It can be difficult to do on today’s computers. Nodling helps you figure it out.
- UO’s U6 page: Maintained by the Ultima Dragons, this is now Origin’s official site for U6. Beware: annoying MIDIs abound.
Original U6 box text
Journey once again to Britannia, land of magic and adventure. Uncover the mystery of the gargoyles in this exciting sixth episode of the award-winning ULTIMA saga.
All New Graphics and Sound Technology!
• Stunning full color graphics and vivid animations
• Captivating original music scores
Cinematic Storytelling at its Best!
• A classically written ULTIMA saga of fantasy and myth
• Illustrated by leading graphic artists and animators
Simulation of a Living Fantasy World!
• Thousands of colorful places and characters to discover!
• Hundreds of fascinating conversations and puzzles
• A fully interactive world where everything has a purpose – bells ring, clocks tell time, cannons fire; IF YOU CAN TOUCH IT, YOU CAN USE IT!
Hours of Non-Stop Entertainment!
• Immediately begin playing and enjoying
• Long-term play value; you may never see it all!