Richard Garriott: ‘If crowdfunding failed, my career was over’

Ultima creator Richard Garriott has said that his four-plus decades of working in the games industry would have come to an end had the crowdfunding campaign for Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues failed to hit its target.

Pitched as a follow-up to his hit ‘90s RPG series Ultima, Avatar raised more than $1.9 million on Kickstarter in early 2013.

When we started down the crowdfunding path, I looked at it with great trepidation,” Garriott told us. If crowdfunding didn’t work, my ability to go back to a big publisher and say: ‘help, back me building the spiritual successor to Ultima’ when the community wouldn’t support it, when I was taking it directly to them, would go way down.

If this didn’t work, I actually thought this literally could be the end of my career. At least for making the thing I really want to make.”

In the wake of other successful crowdfunded RPG revivals, such as Wasteland 2 and Pillars of Eternity, Garriott suggested that publishers may look to work more closely with independent creators who establish themselves through crowdfunding.

It’s unfortunate that if you’re doing a Monument Valley or an homage to your previous work, the big publishers won’t support you,” he observed.

Once we prove that this works, they might want to come in. We’ve talked to big publishers about doing this and they weren’t interested because it didn’t fit the formula. If this is successful, then they’ll want to talk to us.”

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