Ultima: A Legacy Reborn KIA


Goddammit. I was really looking forward to this.


Yeah I made a post about that last night and kept thinking “man, I’m glad they did that. But someone is going to turn up dead.” hehehe. I think they made the right move.

Whoops, sorry, didn’t see your post.

Que? Ohh, no, I didn’t post it here. It was elsewhere. You’ve still got “First post!” rights here, hehe.

This doesn’t surprise me; I was actually surprised that all these Ultima remakes were still publicly announcing themselves for so long without EA cracking down. What about the pending V/VI remakes with the Dungeon Siege engine? Or are they so far from being realized that EA doesn’t consider them worth bothering with…?

Well, a good RPG by any other name is still… a good RPG. I tried out the tech demo a year or so ago and it looked promising. Problem is these homecooked games tend to move along at a glacial pace, but I wish them all the best.

Applicable plug presumably to pump my post count:
It’s woefully out of date now, March 2002, but I spoke to EA about what they’re going to do about all this. I also spoke to Garriott in that article and, unsurprisingly, he’s fer it, not agin it.:


Speaking of remakes…Is that Bard Tale game still in the works?

[Garriott’s] fer it, not agin it.

EA’s Jeff Brown’s response:

As for Richard Garriott’s approval, that’s like getting permission from Toto to remake The Wizard of Oz.

Since the Wizard of Oz is now in the public domain, Toto’s approval would actually be more than sufficient. But it’s still funny.

Jeez, that’s much better than the quote he gave me:

“If you’re planning to make a show about a good-looking female CIA agent and call it ‘Alias 2’, you might want to touch base with ABC first.”

Anyway, that’s very telling. Comparing Garriott’s role in the Ultima series with the contribution the yap-yap dog made to the Wizard of Oz film. Where’s this quote from Erik?

Where’s this quote from Erik?

From the link in the first post of the thread.

I think Garriott’s attitude is funny. “Sure, sure guys! Feel free to remake all these games whose copyrights belong to the company that slowly gutted Origin, turning the Ultima franchise from the pride of CRPG’s to a sad jumping-puzzle-laden bug-ridden joke. Go for it! I’m behind you 100%! It’s no skin off my nose!”

After all these years, nobody fucks with da British. :twisted:

For no apparent reason that I can discern, “Bards Legacy” has been renamed “Devil Whiskey” and can be found here.

I couldn’t find an explanation of why they renamed, although I bet that EA threatened to sue them. For an indie game like that, it doesn’t really matter whether the game is called “Bard’s Legacy” or "Bard’s Tale, if the corporate lawyers say they can’t call the game that, you probably shouldn’t try unless you have your own set of corporate lawyers.

Hey Stefan! Are you a corporate lawyer? Or are you just a normal lawyer? I don’t want to have to stop liking you. ;-)

I just don’t see why they should care, unless they are planning to do something with the license. Now in the case of Ultima, I get it. There is still UO floating around, and people could get confused, etc. But Bard’s Tale? Has there been a new one since '84 or so? If I were a company, I would say go for it, and then if it did well, I would take it and sell it, or note the interest and create a new game in the series.

I think it has to do with having to keep on top of that kind of thing all the time. If they let someone make a Bards tale remake now but then ten years from now the IP owners decide to do a real remake and try to shut down the indie remake one could argue that they gave up some of their rights by letting it go the first time. Or it just makes it that much more difficult to protect. As you can tell I’m no IP lawyer :)

I remember when a friend of mine did a Zork related project and Activision freaked. Eventually he got on a conference call with a couple of their lawyers and a producer(Laird Malamed) who said that they hadn’t given up the series because they were working another title in the series. Needless to say they won out, hehehe.

Of course, what EA/Origin COULD do would be to support the developers doing this project in exchange for allowing EA/Origin to copyright the new work. There would be no IP issues then. The developers do the work, EA distributes the program as a goodwill gesture to gamers in order to get some good publicity.

Problems there, though, are that:

  1. EA would need to QA the game if it had their name on it.
    That costs $$$.
  2. EA would get stuck with support requests for the game. More $$$,
    and bad will if EA says “you gotta contact the developers.”
  3. You can’t quantify “goodwill” financially, so the bean counters
    would never go for even the minor expenditure.

I’m certainly not above being annoyed at EA decision making. But in this case, I can see why they had to protect their IP rights.

(Of course, the developers could just rename the lead character to “Lord Skittish,” throw in a few bad jokes, and claim it’s protected under parody laws. :-)

I’m not sure that would actually work. For some odd reason–I suspect it’s a part of the judiciary’s general inability to understand digital media structures–games generally haven’t had the same kind of first amendment protections applied to them that are routinely applied for more traditional media (television, movies, music, theater).

It will probably take a landmark case to change that, but given the amounts of money that are at stake, I don’t see many people pushing towards that conflict.


EA is not the only company to go nutty with name rights recently, after all Blizzard made the new Vin Diesel movie change it’s name of “El Diablo” before it could be released. So really, in that light, Blizzard could sue every church in Mexico and most older hombre’s that fear the devil.

Devil Whiskey however, that’s just bad…

Is this true? It just seems outlandish to me. IMO nobody gets to own the word “Diablo” anymore than they get to own the word “Devil.”

[url=http://www.killermovies.com/e/eldiablo/articles/2285.html]VCD Quality has posted screenshots of a screener film released by New Line Cinema for production purposes.

The movie first working title was “El Diablo” and now has been moved to “Untitled: Vin Diesel Project” due to a lawsuit being filed by computer game company Blizzard Entertainment, creator of the Diablo computer games.

They argued that they had trademarked the title “Diablo” and intended to make a motion picture based on their game. The case was briefly ruled in favor of Blizzard, but was quickly overturned.

Sad but true.

Yeah, it was definitely true:


I’m not a lawyer, so grain of salt and all that, but…

I believe the key is that Blizzard plans on making a movie at some point. The thing with these battles is that there is no strict standard to go by; Diablo is a “weak” applications of trademarked name because it was a pre-existing term, but that doesn’t mean Blizzard can’t enforce trademark, it just isn’t as “strong” as a made up name.

Right, and as the overturning showed, it’s all about perspective.