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Ultima IX: Redemption (U9R) was an attempt to create a replacement for Ultima IX, the disappointing climax to the Ultima series. U9R features a completely new story, set after the events of Ultima VII. The storyline, written by Direhaggis and in part by the project leader Corv, spans both U9R and its future sequel, Ultima X: The New King.
The game uses the Morrowind engine, but except for the engine itself and some models, the content has been custom made for the game.
In July 2010, the game was progressing rapidly. Exterior worldbuilding has been finished, and the main narrative is nearly complete. Current areas of production include interior world building, side quests, and generating non-critical NPCs for remaining areas.
However, as of June 2016, the official website appears to be a featureless website aside from a textured background, and the discussion forums are gone. Further, since this very Wiki page hasn't been updated since 2010, it can safely be assumed that the project has sadly been abandoned.
History behind the project Edit
Although plans for Ultima IX: Redemption have existed since 1999, there have technically been two vastly different attempts to produce the game.
The first project originally started shortly after the release of Ultima IX 1999/2000. The game was to use the Dungeon Siege engine. Its goals were to create multiple endings, the ability to travel to worlds the Avatar had encountered previously, and more. Plans to use the Dungeon Siege engine were scrapped early on in mid 2002. The first U9R team finalized pre-production and agreed to use the forthcoming Morrowind engine. The finalized plot of the first project was never released but still exists in the Titans of Ether archives (see below).
The development by the first U9R team, never officially named, was generally slow. Management problems, tepid team recruitment, conspicuously frequent "hard-drive failures," and low retention were consistent problems. The master file was also prone to inexplicable errors in-game.
In late 2003, the team leader, Avatus, suddenly disappeared. He had wiped the FTP server with no explanation, erasing nearly all of the work produced. Chlorthos Dragon, a co-writer of the main quest and musician, took control of the group along with another team member. The team did not recover from Avatus' departure, however, and production came to be at a standstill.
In late August 2004, Chlorthos was contacted by Corv, the team leader producing Ultima X: The New King. Corv struck a deal where the old Redemption team would be incorporated into the Ultima X: The New King team, forming the "Titans of Ether" (ToE). The new team agreed to make U9R first, followed by The New King as a sequel. The vast majority of the old Redemption team either left or simply disappeared, with the exceptions of Chlorthos and a relatively new writer, Direhaggis.
The old data, master file, and almost all of the concepts from the first Redemption team were deemed to be unusable. The only exception were NPC dialogues written by Direhaggis and some portions of the U9R premise. The Titans of Ether thus started with a completely new foundation, introducing more streamlined concepts and expanding the gameplay options available in U9R (e.g. mini-games reminiscent of the Final Fantasy series, intra-party conversations, multiple methods of solving quests, ambiguous moral decisions, etc.).
While the team size and composition varied between 2003 to 2006, the size of the team has stabilized in the last few years. Production has moved briskly ever since then.
Compared to Ascension, the Britannia of Redemption will be a far more conservative approach, ensuring that long-time fans of the series will feel at home in this Britannia.
While the war had changed some of the settlements, the land itself will be modeled mainly after Ultima VII and Ultima VI, so that its shape will be familiar to long-time players and fans alike. For example, places like the Isle of Fire or Ambrosia will reappear since they existed in Ultima VII. Additionally, lost places like Bordermarch and Windemere reappear after having vanished for some time. The shape of the islands is that of Ultima VII.
New areas will also be presented, both below and above ground to utilize more of Britannia.
It is a dark time in Britannia. 17 years after the Avatar had left for the Serpent Isle, 5 years after the Artakans, the army of the Guardian, had invaded Britannia. The war had been bloody, and the Guardian's troops seemed to have been unstoppable. Lord British is now a prisoner, the ways of Virtue forbidden territory. The land conquered and declared a colony that from now on has to follow the word of their new master, the Guardian.
But as much as the invaders want to appear unbeatable and unstoppable, holding the land in a stranglehold of rules, laws, and inquisition to maximize their control, unrest is brewing. Conquering the land was easy, but to actually get permanent control over it proves far more difficult than first thought. Then strange comets appear at the sky, heralds of big changes to come, disturbing the mages of the occupation force.
It is the Britannian year 380, and the Avatar finally returns after breaking free of the prison of Pagan. But this is not the land the hero remembers; right from the beginning being confronted with a massive monument of the Guardian. Now the Avatar is faced with his last and biggest challenge: to give Britannia its freedom back, cleanse the land from the invaders and once and for all deal with the Guardian.