He’s been to the North Pole. He’s been to space. He’s been to the depths of the ocean. He’s been everywhere but in the development studio in his role as creative director for Shroud of the Avatar. Now MMO developer Richard Garriott is going on yet another adventure in the real world as part of an Antarctic expedition to locate a long lost ship.
The expedition, headed by British polar explorer and maritime archaeologist John Shears, will attempt to locate the wreck of the Endurance, the exploration vessel captained by Sir Ernest Shackleton that got trapped in arctic ice in the Weddell Sea on January 1915 and sank in November of that year. The entire crew of the ship survived the endeavor, camping on arctic ice and making their escape on lifeboats.
The expedition will utilize autonomous underwater vehicles known as Sabretooths to try and locate, survey, and film the wreck. The expedition’s greatest challenge will be the ice, which may force those searching for the ship to camp on the ice, drill holes, and deploy the Sabretooths that way. In any event, Garriott will have a grand ol’ time not working on the game that he stapled his name to.
As alluded to in the story’s lede, this isn’t the first time Garriott has been on wild adventures, as he has previously been to the North Pole, took a ride to the International Space Station (where he smuggled a Star Trek actor’s remains aboard), and most recently dived the Marianas Trench.
Of course, veteran MMORPG fans know that Garriott has become a controversial figure in gaming over the past few years. While he is frequently lauded as a founder of the genre thanks to his pioneering work on Ultima Online and later efforts alongside NCsoft prior to the lawsuit, his most recent MMO, the Shroud of the Avatar, was a bit of a flop; it was widely criticized for cutting promised Kickstarter features, excessive crowdfunding, missing KS rewards, obfuscating its corporate leadership, closing its offices, and failing to file legally required SEC documents relating to the company’s equity crowdfunding. In 2019, Garriott’s company Portalarium sold off SOTA to its lead dev; press inquiries and efforts to secure explanations for equity crowdfund investors have been met with stonewalling and insults, but SOTA is still being developed and Garriott does still occasionally participate in the game.
Lord British in the news again! This time for searching for a ship lost for 105 years.https://t.co/ltCJ8A1GqA
— Shroud of the Avatar (@catnipgames) July 7, 2021