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Ultima Online Lord Blackthorn's Revenge Ships

by Thomas on Feb. 12, 2002 @ 9:36 p.m. PST

Origin Systems, and Electronic Arts development studio, today announced that it has begun shipping Ultima Online Lord Blackthorn's Revenge, the latest version in the award-winning Ultima Online (UO) series. The game introduces 30 new monsters designed by Grammy and Emmy-winning Producer and Director Todd McFarlane, creator of Spawn, McFarlane Toys and Spawn.com.

Origin Systems Ships Ultima Online Lord Blackthorn's Revenge

Latest Installment of Longest Running Online Subscription Game to Feature More Than 30 New Monsters Designed by Todd McFarlane, Creator of Spawn

In Ultima Online Lord Blackthorn's Revenge, players face evil forces that have aligned their powers in an attempt to take control of Britannia(TM). Integrated into the fiction is Lord Blackthorn, an evil tyrant who controls most of the new, fantastical monsters. Present throughout UO's five-year history, Blackthorn, in a quest for power, has undergone a transformation that has left him half human and all evil. His forces lend a dark, edgy twist to the game.

``Ultima Online has been a huge online hit since its inception in 1997, and the game gets more innovative with each new version,'' said Ben Noel, vice president and chief operating officer of Origin Systems. ``The new creatures and features added to Lord Blackthorn's Revenge make it a game that will appeal to our existing fan base as well as attract a whole new group of players to the genre.''

As players progress through Ultima Online Lord Blackthorn's Revenge, they will discover McFarlane's new and exotic monsters. Players will encounter monsters throughout the world, but will not meet all of the creatures immediately. Their appearance is triggered by specific game events that are part of the ongoing storyline. While all 30 creatures are included on the game disk, they will be introduced over time, often through dynamic episodic fictional content releases. In essence, the fictional content releases will weave new storylines into the game every four to eight weeks, injecting even more action and excitement into the UO world on a continuous basis.

UO's monsters are challenging to defeat because their artificial intelligence (AI) is oriented toward strategic combat tactics as opposed to simple skill gain. For example, players will have to discover which combat or magic tactical combination works on a given species of monster. As players immerse themselves in the game, they will constantly discover new game elements unfolding, as part of fictional episodes. In most cases, players' actions will determine the outcome of in-game events. For instance, if a group of monsters is trying to overpower a town, the players can band together and push the monsters back. However, without a strong player response, the town can be lost to the monster.

In addition, a new Virtue System will be woven into UO, adding depth to the dynamic storyline. The system allows players to be rewarded or denied virtues based on their choices and behavior during the game.

New UO players will quickly become engrossed in the latest version of the game with the assistance of an intuitive help feature and stronger starting character templates, which allow new players greater opportunity to strengthen their skills and abilities early in the game. Players will discover more than 30 new items to craft, collect and trade in the world of Ilshenar -- the backdrop for Ultima Online Lord Blackthorn's Revenge and location of Blackthorn's castle. In addition the game supports the MP3 file format, allowing players to change the music in the game. Players simply substitute their own MP3 compatible music files in place of those in the game.

Origin(TM) is also extending the UO world via a line of six action figures being released simultaneously by McFarlane Toys. The figures will be available in mid-February at retail toy and game stores. In addition, the new Ultima Online Lord Blackthorn's Revenge game box contains both a limited edition mini-collectable McFarlane toy figure of Lord Blackthorn and a comic book based on the game's prequel fiction produced by Todd McFarlane Productions. Both the collectable and comic book will be available while supplies last. Ultima Online Lord Blackthorn's Revenge carries a suggested retail price of $29.99 and a monthly subscription fee of $9.99. New players will get the first month free.

Ultima Online has 225,000 subscribers and is played in more than 50 countries located in every time zone.

About Todd McFarlane

Todd McFarlane is known as the creator of the best-selling comic book of all-time, Spawn. McFarlane is the creative force behind McFarlane Toys and the founder of Spawn.com. In addition to Spawn, the company produces action figures of sports, pop culture and cult horror icons from movies, music, comic books and video games. For more information about Todd and the McFarlane group of companies, visit http://www.spawn.com.

About Electronic Arts

Founded in 1982, Electronic Arts posted revenues of more than $1.3 billion for fiscal 2001. The company develops, publishes and distributes software worldwide for the Internet, personal computers and video game systems. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS(TM), EA GAMES(TM), EA SPORTS BIG(TM) and EA.COM(SM). More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://www.info.ea.com.

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