Courtesy of former Origin programmer Bill Randolph, and thanks to the tireless efforts of Joe Garrity of the Origin Muesum, Ultima Aiera is pleased to present this document — which has been broken out into twenty six (26) images — which gives a summary of Ed del Castillo’s revisions to the plot of Ultima 9.
For those not entirely familiar with the development history of Ultima 9, Ed del Castillo was hired by Origin Systems — he had previously worked on the Command & Conquer series — as the Ascension’s producer after development on it was restarted in late 1997 (after development on Ultima Online had begun to wrap up). His revision of the plot departed from the “Bob White Plot” in many key respects, and actually is a bit closer to the version that ultiamtely shipped.
At least according to the Wikipedia entry on Ultima 9, it was del Castillo that wanted to fully exploit the possibilities of the new 3D engine that Origin were working with; the third-person perspective of the game can evidently be traced back to him.
And you can see this in the plot summary. Take, for example, the sequence in which the player would have controlled Raven as she rescued the Avatar from the dungeon Wrong. Raven — who, really, was an archetypical rogue-class character — would have used missile weapons and gymnastic feats to traverse Wrong, collect the Glyph from the Column, and rescue the Avatar. And yes, the Raven/Avatar romance was a plot point, although in this document it is much more subtle than in the final game.
There’s lots more to be found inside the document than just a single dungeon sequence, though…so, enjoy! Pull up the images, download the PDF, and pore over them. Search out every little detail, and enjoy a fascinating glimpse into the nuts and bolts of how the plot of the final single-player Ultima title evolved. Ultima Aiera is indebted to Joe Garrity for providing these documents, to Bill Randolph for releasing them and making them available for us to see, to Ben “Bandit LOAF” Lesnick for his invaluable insights, and to Ed del Castillo and everyone who worked at Origin Systems.