The developers say they had no idea of Ultima II at the time, but after seeing it, got his point, so they redrew all the tiles, added joystick support, and cleaned some things up.
All that cracks me up considering all the influences in his work.
If I'm being totally honest with myself, when comparing it to Ultima I and II, and even parts of III, this is a better game. It's not a great game, but it has an interesting pacing, more cohesive story, and didn't feel as if it was a bunch of other fantasy stuff.
He also had a problem when EA published Deathlord, and canceled a partnership with them 5 years before they eventually were bought out by EA entirely.
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