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Origin Systems

From Academic Kids

Origin Systems, Inc. (sometimes abbreviated as OSI) was a computer game developer based in Austin, Texas that was active from 1983 to 2004. It is most famous for the Ultima and Wing Commander game series.

Contents

History

The company was founded in 1983 by brothers Robert and Richard Garriott ("Lord British"), their father Owen and Chuck "Chuckles" Bueche — after Richard had terminated his contract with Sierra On-Line — to publish the third part in Richard's Ultima series, Exodus: Ultima III. Chris Roberts, another OSI employee, created the original Wing Commander in 1990. In September 1992 Electronic Arts acquired the company from Richard Garriott.

After the success of the MMORPG Ultima Online (released in 1997), EA decided that Origin would become an online-only company after the completion of Ultima IX in 1999. Richard Garriott left Origin shortly after and founded Destination Games in 2000.

Origin was the home of game designer Andy Hollis from 1993 to 1999. Hollis retired for several years, but returned in 2003 and served as executive producer and COO.

In later years, Origin mainly existed to support and expand Ultima Online and to develop further online games based on the Ultima franchise like Ultima X: Odyssey, originally to be released in 2004, but later cancelled. In February 2004, the studio was disbanded by Electronic Arts, although EA retained the Origin starburst logo for special occasions.

Characteristics

Origin's motto was "We create worlds", and its games were known for their well-realized (if not always creative) plots and the amount of detail furnished into the game's stories. The original Wing Commander, for instance, came with a booklet purpoting to be a shipboard magazine named Claw Marks, written and published by the crew of the Tiger's Claw; it provided the player with a number of irrelevancies (such as an interview with the star of a popular televised wartime drama) as well as convenient statistics and user guides for ships, weapon systems, and information regarding pilots and tactics on both Terran and Kilrathi sides. Claw Marks was actually a fairly rare commodity on eBay before it was re-released as part of the Kilrathi Saga packaging.

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