In the “We’re Not Saying A Damn Thing About Ultima 9” publicity tour, Richard Garriott is hitting all the usual suspects giving interviews on his Next Big Things, the still deep in production X and the somewhat closer to release UO2. Here’s comments from his Well Rounded Network interview:

While he’s not directly involved with Ultima Online 2, Garriott says he’s keeping an eye on things and is thrilled with what he’s seen so far. Todd McFarlane (Spawn) is designing all the creatures for the game, which Garriott describes as simply amazing. To accommodate McFarlane’s detailed drawing style, the graphics engine on UO2 has been given a hearty dose of steroids. Ultima Ascension offers breathtaking visuals. Garriott says UO2 will blow the current game away, utilizing T&L lighting, and deforming meshes.

So, instead of getting 5 FPS, we may get 2 FPS. But only with a Voodoo 4.

But what’s REALLY scary is THIS quote:

And, for the first time, you’ll be able to earn a real-world living in an online world. UO2 will allow players to run virtual shops, selling products that can be used in the game to other players for actual greenbacks. “I want to put the ability to put real money in a virtual world,” he says, with a proud smile on his face.

You know, this is quite possibly the most clueless statement ever made by any gaming industry figure. I mean, did he just buy ten pounds of crack while he was in Times Square? Because that’s about the only way I can explain someone actually advocating making a RL living off of UO2. You think we’re seeing duping scandals NOW. Wait until a PK keeps someone from making a weekly paycheck. No, better yet, wait until someone figures out that the GMs make $10 an hour.

For an example of how screwed up money can make an online game, look at Simutronics’ Gemstone III. There a brain trust figured out that instead of having players sell things on eBay, they could make more money by cutting out the middle man. Everything is for sale on Gemstone III. Just have your Visa or Mastercard handy.

You know, somehow I suspect I’m not going to be a stop on the Lord British Magical Mystery Tour. Which is a shame, cause he’s obviously got the GOOD drugs.