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Richard Garriott’s Shroud of the Avatar gets publishing help from Travian Games

That clockwork dragon looks like a handful for this part of intrepid adventurers.

Shroud of the Avatar has been chugging along in its Early Access testing state since 2013 as Richard “Lord British” Garriott’s gang at Portalarium heads toward a planned 2017 release. And now the modern embodiment of his landmark Ultima role-playing game series has some new help for overseas publishing — along with a complete story.

The Austin, Texas-based game studio announced today that Germany’s Travian Games will handle publishing duties for Shroud of the Avatar in Europe, Central and South America, the Middle East, and North Africa. The company is self-publishing in North America. The deal not only helps Portalarium distribute Shroud but maybe even pushes the project over the finishing line, as Garriott had to turn back to the crowdfunding spigot back in June.

The studio said it’s now raised $11.8 million, claiming it’s the second-highest crowdfunded game behind Star Citizen, another effort in which one of gaming’s legendary designers is going back to his roots with the help of their fans.

“The agreement included a licensing fee that we will allocate as needed between development and publishing,” a spokesperson said over email.

Games in Travian’s portfolio include the railroad sim Rail Nation and Crowfall, another crowdfunded MMORPG.

Portalarium is promising a huge world for players to explore and create their own tales in, but it also has a 40-hour main story created by Garriott and noted fantasy author and pen-and-paper RPG designer Tracy Hickman (Dragonlance, Dragonships of Vindras). The studio confirms that it’s complete, and it “includes a series of moral dilemmas and ethical choices” that are a hallmark of Garriott’s work on Ultima.

“This is all built on top of a sandbox where players can indeed ‘tell their own stories’ as well,” the spokesperson said.

And Early Access players can now play the entire first episode of the main story, too. To date, Portalarium said that people have logged more than 3 million hours of playtime during Early Access. The rest of Shroud remains in its beta state, and the studio said it still needs work on some skill trees and crafting recipes (among other things).

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