The Ultima series of games is created by Richard Garriott under the pseudonym Lord British and published by Origin Systems as a "trilogy of trilogies".
The predecessor to the series is a simple dungeon hack "Akalabeth".
The first trilogy is "The Age of Darkness", where the player adventures in a land named "Sosaria", and battles the warlock Mondain, his consort the sorceress Minax and their demon spawn Exodus.
The second trilogy is "The Age of Enlightenment", where the player becomes the Avatar by upholding the eight virtues. The stories are much more developed, and deal with issues such as the legislation of morality and social tolerance.
The last is "The Guardian Trilogy", where the Avatar faces his greatest challenge in the form of the Guardian, and is forced into morally vague decisions at times. The final title in the series, Ultima: Ascension, was released in late 1999.
In addition there are the Worlds of Ultima series and the Ultima Underworld series. There is also a multiplayer spin-off series, Ultima Online
, which is thriving.
Released in 1983, in Ultima 3: Exodus, the Avatar scours Sosaria for the means to vanquish the evil offspring of Mondain and Minax.
In the 1982 release, Ultima 2: Revenge of the Enchantress, the Avatar travels through time and space to fight Mondain's apprentice and consort, Minax.
The first game in the second Ultima trilogy, Ultima 4 marked a RPG revolution with the introduction of the Eight Virtues of the Avatar. In addition to questing for items and statistics, character development required conversing with townspeople and taking consequential actions while seeking elevation in all eight virtues.
The original 1985 PC game was freely released in August 1997, and fans have created an accompanying Ultima IV Upgrade.
The final installment in the Ultima series, Ultima 9: Ascension was released for the PC by Origin Systems in November 1999. Fixes for serious bugs were released in the coming months.
This is the only single player Ultima to use a hardware accelerated 3D engine. It is generally thought of by long time fans to be something of a disappointment.
The original Ultima, released in 1981 and featuring a quest against the wizard Mondain.
A 1994 release, Ultima 8: Pagan marked a change in the Ultima Series with the use of a single-character isometric pseudo-3D interface with arcade-style controls. It is not commonly regarded as one of the better games in the series.
Origin's Ultima 7 introduced the Avatar's conflict with The Guardian. It consists of two separately released games: Part I: The Black Gate and Part II: The Serpent Isle, both released in 1992. The Forge of Virtue is an expansion pack for Part I; The Silver Seed is an expansion pack for Part II.
Ultima 6: The False Prophet continued the Avatar's journeys and introduced the Gargoyle race. Released in 1990.
In the 1988 release Ultima 5: Warriors of Destiny, Lord British is missing. Blackthorn, his second in command, has driven Britannia to abandon the virtures. Three apparitions roam the land, the Shadowlords. The Avatar must retrieve Lord British and once again save Britannia.