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Saturday, April 13, 2024

EA removes Ultima Underworld and Syndicate from GOG

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I cannot overstate how cool this was in 1993.

Ultima Underworld and Syndicate are foundational games in their respective genres: Underworld is one of the finest dungeon crawlers ever made, and Syndicate was a groundbreaking (and extremely cool) real-time tactics game. They’re also very old, released in 1992 and 1993 respectively, which means they can be difficult to get running on modern hardware.

The versions currently available on GOG make that process easier, but they won’t be around for much longer. GOG announced yesterday that, at the “publisher’s request,” Ultima Underworld 1 and 2, Syndicate Plus, and Syndicate Wars will be delisted on June 28.

The publisher of all three is Electronic Arts, leading to speculation that EA is looking to reclaim its older games as Origin exclusives (the Ultima games and the original Syndicate are both available there), and fainter hope that it’s a first step toward something new in one or both series. That seems a little less than likely to me, although I’d certainly be thrilled to see it happen.

People who already own the games on GOG will continue to have access to them. Those who don’t have until Monday to make it happen, and the good news for anyone considering a purchase is that they’re on sale right now for $1.50 each—less than the price of a decent-sized bag of chips.

We took an hour-long tour of Ultima Underworld with designer Paul Neurath back in 2014. Enjoy the whole thing below.

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