Electronic Arts today launched Ultima Forever, the latest attempt to revitalize the venerable Ultima franchise. Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar is an iOS game based loosely on Origin Systems' Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar. It is a mobile game with a 'free to play' business model; the game itself is a free purchase while various enhancements are available as microtransactions. Despite this, the title has an impressive lineage: it has been in development for three years by a team of dedicated Ultima fans at Mythic Entertainment.
There's just one more catch: today's Ultima Forever release is a soft launch which makes the game available only to users in Canada. iPhone, iPod and iPad users in Canada can begin playing now, while everyone else must wait for a date in July (which will be specified at next months' E3 conference.) If you're in Canada, you can pick up your copy via iTunes.
Most interesting for Wing Commander fans, beyond EA's unexpected interest in revisiting a classic Origin franchise, is that the game supposedly includes a quest with a damaged Kilrathi ship, referencing the one found in Ultima VII. As soon as it's discovered by Canadian players, we'll provide more information!