Ultima Online to receive engine update

Wednesday 23 August 2006
Massively multiplayer PC RPG workhorse Ultima Online (currently in its ninth year, so possibly older than the newest generation of gamers) is to be given a sweeping overhaul next year in the Kingdom Reborn expansion. Most obvious is a graphical upgrade: while UO won't be moving out of its old school, isometric 3D look, soft lighting and smoothed visuals will make it less eye-searingly retro.

Developer EA also promises "many, many more suprises in store" for players, although the hardcore UO community has previously shown a downright crotchety response to surprises. Whether Kingdom Reborn can bring lapsed or even first-time players into the game is another matter - currently just over a hundred thousand subscribers remain, unlikely to trouble the six-million-strong World of Warcraft monster.

A detailed list of Kingdom Reborn's contents is to be revealed before the end of the year, and possibly a clearer indication of when in 2007 it will be released.

Above: Kingdom Reborn's new look, which the more cynical among us might say is almost on par with 2001's Dark Alliance on PS2