We are extremely excited to announce that Starr Long (known to some of you by his online personas of Lord Blackthorn or Darkstarr) is joining the Shroud of the Avatar team! Here is the full press release that was issued today:
Starr Long Joins Shroud of the Avatar Development Team at PortalariumStarr to team with Richard Garriott on crowd sourced game; Duo collaborating for the first time on fantasy RPG genre since Ultima Online
AUSTIN, Texas, July 5, 2013 — The last time Starr Long and Richard Garriott teamed up to create a fantasy role playing game (RPG) was 1997. That game, Ultima Online, quickly became the first commercially successful massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) and many credit the duo with reinventing the RPG with that ground breaking product. Now Garriott and Long are preparing for yet another collaboration to reinvent the genre, this time on Portalarium’s™ Shroud of the Avatar™ PC based game. Starr Long was announced today as the project’s executive producer.
The announcement was made during RTX 2013, currently taking place at the Austin Convention Center. Garriott is a guest speaker at this year’s event. He is showing a demo of Shroud of the Avatar during a special presentation at 4:30 pm CDT, Saturday, July 6, in room 19 of the convention center. The entire presentation will be live streamed on RTX Live. Additionally, Garriott will be formally introducing Starr during his talk.
Starr is a 20-year veteran of the gaming industry. He started his career at Austin’s legendary Origin Systems studio where he worked directly with Garriott to produce and create Ultima Online, which continues its position today as the longest running massively multiplayer online game ever. In 2010, Ultima Online was inducted into the Online Game Developers Conference Hall of Fame, becoming the first MMO to be so honored. Starr later helped co-found Destination Games with Richard and Robert Garriott (the company was soon acquired by NCsoft) and as producer he again collaborated with Richard Garriott on the futuristic MMO game, Tabula Rasa. In 2008 Beckett’s Massive Online Gamer magazine named Starr Long as one of the Top 20 Most Influential People in the massively multiplayer online industry.
Starr’s move to Portalarium comes after spending the last four years as executive producer at The Walt Disney Company where he oversaw the Disney Interactive studio responsible for Pirates of the Caribbean Online, Pixie Hollow and Toontown. While there he was the executive producer of the Disney Parent App on Facebook, eight learning mini games in Club Penguin (including Pufflescape, the second most popular mini-game in that virtual world), Club Penguin mobile, five Disney Connected Learning games on iOS (ranked in the top 5 educational games) and the Disney Connected Learning Platform.
“I am thrilled to be moving back to Austin to partner with Richard on his next fantasy role playing game,” said Starr. “Richard’s ideas for remaking the genre are well aligned with where the industry is today in terms of technology and design. It is really exciting to know that we are creating Shroud of the Avatar with the idea of bringing back the concepts and principles that Richard used successfully in making his Ultima series. With all of that said, what I most look forward to is working directly with the community to make the product they want, which is the real power of crowd funding.”
“If people enjoyed the leadership that was in place when we were creating Ultima Online, they’ll be very happy with the team we’ve put in place for Shroud of the Avatar,” said Garriott. “Starr Long is a longtime colleague of mine, and he is absolutely one of the visionaries in this space and his track record shows it. I know he’s ready to roll up his sleeves and jump right in to help us make the next epic RPG. This news sends a clear signal to our fans that the game they’ve been waiting 15 years to play is that much closer to reality.”
Pretty awesome news, eh!! We hope you’re as psyched about Starr joining us as we are! This team just keeps getting better and better! You can check out Starr’s bio on the SotA Dev Team Bio page.
Check Out the Latest SotA Demo at RTX Live!
We’ve been super busy the past couple of months working on major milestone; to have several of the core game mechanics working together, with new, original artwork from our expanding team of exceptional game artists! We were shooting to accomplish that milestone in time for the RTX 2013 event in Austin, TX on July 6th, and we managed to pull it off! Be sure to check out the live stream on RTX Live of Richard Garriott showing the SotA demo at 4:30 pm CDT, July 6 (or, if you happen to be at the RTX event, the demo will be in Room 19 at the Austin Convention Center).
New Darkstarr Rewards Available to All Backers That Pledge Before July 31st!
In celebration of Starr Long joining the SotA Dev Team, we are memorializing his Darkstarr online persona with several new pledge rewards available to all backers that pledge prior to July 31, 2013:
- All Tiers ($25 and higher) – The Darkstarr Salute! A special emote that only backers can master and teach to others.
- Founder Tier ($65 and higher) – The Darkstarr Cloak! A special cloak for your in-game avatar to wear, proudly displaying the unique Darkstarr symbol, identifying you as a backer of the game.
- Virtual Collector Tier ($110 and higher) – The Darkstarr Metronome! For those of you planning to play virtual instruments this mechanical metronome could be very useful! Set this in-game decoration next to your instrument and turn it on!
- Citizen Tier ($550 and higher) – The Darkstarr Moondial! A special in-game, yard decoration which will track the heavens day and night! Very useful when planning strategies in-game, as astronomical events which drive some story aspects will be easily determined with this device.
All of you that have already backed SotA (which is pretty much everyone reading this KS Update) will receive these Darkstarr rewards for your pledge level, or anytime you upgrade your pledge. However, new backers after July 31, 2013 will not be eligible for the Darkstarr rewards (so be sure and tell your friends that haven’t pledged yet to do so before July 31st)!
If You Haven’t Already Done So, Please Register on SotA and Link Your Kickstarter Account!
You can stay on top of all the latest game development news by registering on our website, https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com. And if you have not already done so, please be sure to Link your Kickstarter Account, so we can ensure that you receive all of your backer rewards as soon as they are ready to roll out!