Name: Richard Vogel
Role: Senior producer, Origin Systems
Based on his work with the groundbreaking graphical MMO Meridian 59, Richard Vogel was recruited by Electronic Arts as launch director to help shepherd Ultima Online toward the finish line. From there, Vogel’s self-imposed mission became to make UO the best MMO it could possibly be. Little did Vogel know that taking the gig would rocket his career into the game development stratosphere.
With Meridian 59 the only comparable product on the market—an MMO developed by Archetype Interactive and published in 1995 by 3DO—Electronic Arts sought to bolster Origin System’s ranks with not only forward-thinkers and innovators from the game industry, but also with those who’d had a hand in launching Meridian 59.
When phone calls were placed to developers who fit the bill, Richard Vogel’s phone was one of the first to ring.
“I heard about this project for a few years while I was working on Meridian 59,” Vogel said. “I was asked by EA to come in and get the project ready for launch. When I went down to interview, I played the game and met the team. Origin was about creating worlds and they already had a great reputation as a game developer.”
Hearing good things about a game is one thing. For Vogel—who was already a fan of Origin’s previous Ultima, Crusader, and Wing Commander games—it was playing UO for the first time that filled him with excitement.
“I fell in love with UO,” Vogel said. “I saw how this game could change gaming forever. I knew it was special. I had never seen a game push so far in terms of creating a living, breathing virtual world.”
Read more of Richard Vogel’s story in Braving Britannia: Tales of Life, Love, and Adventure in Ultima Online.