GDC to Honor Ultima Creator’s Lifetime Achievement

Video game pioneer Richard Allen Garriott will be honored with this year’s Game Developers Choice Award for Lifetime Achievement at GDC in San Jose, Cailf. Best known for the Ultima series of games, the exec producer of NCsoft North America Garriott will be recognized for helping to usher massively multiplayer online role playing games to the mass market.

‘Garriott almost single-handedly brought the role-playing game experience to

glowing life,’ remarks Jamil Moledina, director of the Game Developers Conference. ‘Given his ongoing role in evolving the form to its current massively multiplayer online incarnation, we are proud to honor him for his lifetime achievement.’

Jason Della Rocca, exec. director of IGDA, adds, ‘Garriott’s creative vision and ability to push questions of morality via his game designs has paved the way for other game creators to explore all aspects of the human condition.’

Son of Skylab and Spacelab astronaut Owen K. Garriott, Richard Garriott took an interest in computers at an early young age, learning programming in high school and producing his first published game, Akalabeth, at the age of 19. While attending the University of Texas at Austin, he began developing Ultima, one of the most successful, longest-running game series of all time. Garriott and his brother began publishing their own games thruogh their Origin Systems Inc., which was acquired by Electronic Arts in 1992. In 1999, Garriott, his brother and Ultima Online producer Starr Long started up Destination Games, which eventually merged with NCsoft, where Garriott now produces MMORPGs. His long-awaited Tabula Rasa is expected to launch sometime this year.

‘It is a high honor to be counted among the legends who are previous recipients

of this award, such as Will Wright and Eugene Jarvis,’ says Garriott.

Known in the industry as Lord British, the gaming icon was also recently made the ninth inductee in the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame.

Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement award are selected by the Choice Awards Advisory Board, a diverse group of developers from across the globe. In addition to Wright and Jarvis, past recipients include Mark Cerny, Gunpei Yokoi (posthumous) and Yuji Naka.

Produced and hosted by the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and presented by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), the 6th annual Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, March 22, at the San Jose Civic Auditorium.