I played Ultima from the beginning. Well, not from the beginning per se, 'cos I was still relatively young, but I recall when Ultima IV was released, and I bought a boxed set of 1-3 at the same time.
And then V, and VI, and VII, and VII:2, and the tragedy of VIII … but I firmly believed that IX would be worth it.
When they swore it would be out at the end of 1998, I spent that summer working 80-hour weeks to both raise money for college and buy a computer that’d run it. I ended up with a P2-400, and swooned with delight … and the game was delayed another year.
Then they swore the game would be out at Christmas 1999. I bought a GeForce 1 the week they were released, and U9 at the same time, and … stopped after a week.
All of the reasons mentioned above frustrated me, but what absolutely killed me was the linear nature of the game. Ultima 5, 6, 7 - the ‘golden age’ of Ultimas, in my opinion - were open-ended. Yes, they gave you general guidelines to follow, but if you wanted to head over to Skara Brae instead of delivering the magic foobar to Trinsic, you could. 9 was too limiting. City, dungeon, city, dungeon, blah, blah, blah.
I keep telling myself I should go back and finish it out of respect for all of the years of Ultima I’ve played, just to finish the story, but I can’t. I just can’t do it.
I’d rather play Ultima 6 again. (And I haven’t solved the mystery of Quentin’s ghost - I’m going to go google for that now and see if I can’t get some more info . . .)