The Collectible ULTIMA


"...Then came a glorious change to the people of the land. Spoken only in hushed whispers, the leaders of a religious rebellion first made the words of the Guardian known to the public. This Guardian talked to them within their minds, foretelling of a dark time when a champion of tremendous evil would try to enter their world. This Destroyer would turn the very forces of nature - the elements of earth, water, air and fire - against them, raining destruction across the land. Only by offering worship to those very elements could the people hope to dissuade them from assisting the Destroyer..."

-- from The Chronicles of Pagan

Pagan was a radical departure for the Ultima series. You, as the Avatar, wander the face of an unknown planet after being banished by the Guardian. There are no friends, no companions in your party, none of the familiar magic to aid you - nothing familiar at all. Instead the game is riddled with difficult ethical dilemmas and moral compromises. And the problem-solving aspect was changed as well, placing more of an emphasis on physical obstacles and puzzles. With moving platforms, sinking stones and lots of rapid-twitch clicking, it wasn't long before the "Super Avatar Brothers" comments began. But the game did have its high points, including a terrific 3D engine (later used as the basis of the Crusader games), excellent music, and yes, plenty of exploration. And a later patch issued by Origin in 1995 addressed many of the playability issues raised by fans. All things considered, Pagan is a worthy addition to the Ultima legacy, albeit a little different.

Ultima VIII: Pagan Ultima VIII:
  • Platform: PC (486+).
  • Publisher: Origin Systems, Inc., © 1994.
  • Characteristics: UPC 17814-82011. EA 10016. 3.5".
  • Included: Pagan nylon map; The Chronicle of Pagan book; Pentagram coin.
  • Original List Price: $79.95
This is the original version of Pagan. Note that the other Pagan boxes are all slightly different.

Pagan Speeck Pack Pagan: Ultima VIII
Speech Pack
  • Platform: PC.
  • Publisher: Origin Systems, Inc., © 1994.
  • Characteristics: UPC 17814-82811. EA 10017. 3.5".
  • Original List Price: $19.95
As with the speech packs for Wing Commander II and Pacific Strike, this add-in disk provided speech for some of the "major" characters in Pagan (Khumash-Gor, the Guardian, and the Titans, particularly), but not full-speech capability. The steep premium for such a small addition to the game made this item relatively unpopular. I'm not sure how hard this item would be to find, but then I haven't seen many people looking for it either.

Ultima VIII, CD Edition Ultima VIII:
CD - Hard Drive Edition
  • Publisher: Origin Systems, Inc., © 1994.
  • Characteristics: UPC 17814-82015. EA 10044. CD (1).
  • Includes: Same as above.
When Pagan originally came out, the stores reported that Origin had said a CD version would be released "within a few weeks". I purchased Pagan on 3.5" disk the day it was released, and the very next day, the CD edition was in the same store. Note that this version still installs to the hard drive; it comes on CD, but isn't playable from the CD. I've had someone tell me that the maps in the disk and CD versions were different, but given that the two literally came out within days of one another, that seems unlikely. Perhaps later runs of the map, 1995 or later, were different somehow. This version included the speech pack data, but sold on the street for only $5 more than the disk version alone. Note that the box for the CD version was slightly different; the 3.5" version had a stone pentagram in the middle, while the CD version had a black square with the Guardian's hand and the Avatar, with a flaming pentagram in the background.

Pagan: Ultima VIII
Publisher's Choice
  • Publisher: Origin Systems, Inc., © 1994, 1996.
  • Characteristics: UPC 14633-05604. CD (1).
  • Includes: Same as above.
  • Original List Price: $19.95
In 1995, Origin released a patch (v2.12) for Pagan which fixed several plot defects and playability issues. Later, Electronic Arts re-released Pagan with the patch applied as a separate product. The box for this version changed slightly again; flames only, no pentagram. Yes, this version had a cloth map too.

Ultima VIII, CD Classics Gold Pagan: Ultima VIII
Electronic Arts CD Classics Gold
  • Publisher: Origin Systems, Inc., © 1996.
  • Characteristics: UPC 14633-05572. CD (1).
  • Includes: Reference card only.
  • Original List Price: $14.95
Electronic Arts re-released Pagan again, in a small box, with only a reference card. Documentation is included on the CD in Acrobat format.

Pagan: Ultima VIII
Electronic Arts' Classic Gold, again
  • Publisher: Origin Systems, Inc., © 1997.
  • Characteristics: UPC 14633-05951. CD (1).
  • Includes: Installation guide only.
  • Original List Price: $14.95
Well, they've done it again, for some reason. Bigger box this time. No map or trinket or anything, just a big box. Whoopee, isn't this fun? And although someone has recently reported seeing an Ultima IX preview chest in the game, I've checked the filestamps on this CD and none are later than mid-1995.

Pagan: Ultima VIII
The Lost Vale

Here's a product that wasn't meant to be. After the release of Pagan, Origin intended to develop an add-in module called The Lost Vale. Co-directed by Lisa Smith and (I think) Mike McShaffrey, Lost Vale was a pre-planned item - there are several references to it in both the Pagan documentation and the game itself. The project was cancelled not long after it began, presumably due to Pagan's poor sales. Origin did make available a set of screen shots for a while, but when they reorganized their web site in October, they removed all of their old Ultima files.

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