We ask ourselves that question, but last night I ended up in perhaps the weirdest place of all. It started with the setting of what I had been writing about the last two days. I saw some kind of palace in Tartarus. The design was based on circles and levels. One circle was the arena, one circle the food hall and one circle the baths. The man in charge (Nikolaos) was above all others, almost like a smaller circle, but shaped like crescent moons. The food-hall and baths led to barracks where the others stayed. One of several palaces in Tartarus, well protected by his personal guards and order troops. The bathhouse had a spherical roof. With small holes it was like a black roof with the holes giving light like the stars do, yet the stars were shown in different ways. One was like a cone shell, yet I heard it being called Libra. It was confusing. And that was when weird went towards absurd. I was suddenly in front of a castle door, not a real door, but like those heavy carton doors like in a trade show. The doors were from some castle (also in carton), when you entered you saw a spectacle, carton people, real people (visitors) and There was the mayor (Richard Garriott) and he was in his mid 20’s. It was the launch of a game, the relaunch of Ultima 1, yet there were things out of place. I saw ‘Return of the spectres’ which was Ultima 5. There was a window with the Avatar fighting (all in cardboard) with the saying ‘Sartre me, Sartre you’ like a taunt. There was a large playing card in another window. It was Iolo, with some kind of crossbow hidden in his right arm. There was an inn (an actual inn) and people were drinking goblets of beer and sausages were served. On the upper floor I saw a woman around 25, long blond hair looking gorgeous, seemingly portraying Jaana champion of Justice, next to her a raven haired Mariah the champion of honesty. Ginger Julia champion of sacrifice was playing the flute.
The scene was weird, like I was both in the future and the past, but I had never seen a trade show that held such a scene, or such a display of a castle, so I was wondering where it was all coming from. Still the idea to relaunch Ultima one, and set Mondain the wizard as a champion of the spectres (Hate, falsehood and cowardice) they were portrayed in names by Astaroth, Faulinei and Nosfentor. It could very well work, especially if the world you go through is a lot like what Bethesda has done in Oblivion and Skyrim. On the other hand in a similar shape it might be a great fit for the Nintendo Switch.
It is clear that the series need more work, but what happens when we set Tartarus on a neutral stage. We are told that Tartarus is where the dishonored and the evil go, but what if that is not entirely correct? What if Tartarus is a place that holds all those who were unworthy to enter the Elysian Fields? That implies that there is a whole range of grey that is added to the dark and the black. A stage where Nikolaos opts for two solutions, the first to rebuild tartarus, but in another stage to see what to do with those unworthy of tartarus. A stage of creating a way to separate the two groups? It is interesting, and in that he would need champions and task masters. Champions of weapons, of shields, of physicality and of sustenance. In perhaps one of the most brutal environments, how to reason with those who lost the will or ability to reason? It makes for an interesting puzzle, one I would like to solve.