Richard Garriott’s Shroud of the Avatar greenlit in short order

Shroud of the Avatar: almost Ultima.

O, how the stars have fallen. If you paraphrase Lord British’s Wikipedia page concisely enough, you learn that “Richard Garriott built… his residence… in space”. But now the Ultima originator lives here to Earth, and has to push his game through Steam Greenlight like the rest of us.

Shroud of the Avatar spent just two days on the community service before it was accepted, however, and will be claiming a spot in Early Access in the near future.

Last year, Garriott’s pitch for an online RPG garnered over $2 million on Kickstarter – more than double its target. Additional rounds of Shroud of the Avatar crowdfunding have seen the game’s budget pile to a ceiling-scraping total of $4.8 million.

Momentum from that campaign has evidently carried over to Greenlight, where “overwhelming positive support” has resulted in “incredibly fast” approval from Valve.

“Thank you all so much for your support,” wrote developers Portalarium. “Stay tuned as we now work with Valve to get Shroud in the Early Access section of Steam as soon as we can.”

Early footage of Shroud was underwhelming – shonky and drained-looking in that way early 3D RPGs were, as Portalarium worked to glue its underlying MMO systems together. But when it reemerged at PAX this year, it became possible to imagine the 40 hour, Tracy Hickman-penned adventure expected in the first half of 2015.

Backers have been playtesting new builds since Christmas, and Portalarium plan to give them permanent access to the game’s client at the end of this year. Perhaps you’ll be testing your virtue in its beta on Steam?

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