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Ultima Online's lead designer is working on a new MMO from his new studio

(Image credit: EA/Origins)

Ultima Online is one of the most influential and enduring RPGs of all time, and its lead designer is coming back with a new studio over 20 years after it launched. Speaking to GamesBeat, Raph Koster says his new studio, Playable Worlds, has raised $2.7 million to develop a brand new sandbox MMO. Better yet, Koster has assembled an all-star team of developers to help make it happen.

Koster, who worked on Ultima Online as lead designer during its formative years and also served as creative director for Star Wars Galaxies, founded Playable Worlds and serves as the company's CEO. Working alongside him on the currently untitled MMO are Disney and Amazon technical boss Dorian Ouer, veteran comic book artist and game developer Mat Broome, industry engineering veteran Brian Crowder, and veteran game designer and science fiction writer Greg Costikyan.

Old-school full-loot MMORPGs fill a unique niche in the gaming community, but Koster says he wants to build an experience with broad appeal. "We want a world where all sorts of players can find a home," Koster says. "That means for players and people who are more casual, people who are really gamey and people who enjoy chatting. From mobile games to Facebook games, I do think that there are great lessons to be had from all of those different parts of our industry, and I want to apply them all.”

It'd be lovely to see a spiritual successor to Ultima Online. Although UO is still very much a thing in 2019 - which is astounding - its state is that of a dusty old relic reserved for purists and occasional nostalgia-hungry tourists. A modern day refresh with the same magic of freedom and community at its core would make my heart very happy. And before you ask, yes I play Legends of Aria, and it is also lovely.

It'll surely be a long wait for Koster's new MMO, so here are the best MMORPGs to play in the meantime.