When Shroud of the Avatar’s Richard Garriott discovered a mysterious wreck off the coast of Hawaii in 2015, he, a team of researchers, and his six-member team boarded the ship to explore the site. They discovered the ship had been carrying over 20 tons of silver when it sank, and while the wreck has been located on the seafloor, the team has yet to fully assess the cargo.
Strange things can happen when you start taking risks. Richard Garriott, the founder of Shroud of the Avatar, is an adventurer by trade who has always been open to different kinds of challenges. Now, he has found one that will take him into a whole new world.
He was at the North Pole. He was in space. He was in the depths of the ocean. He was everywhere except in the development studio in the role of creative director of the game Shroud of the Avatar. Now MMO developer Richard Garriott is embarking on a new adventure in the real world: he’s taking part in an expedition to Antarctica to find a long-lost ship.
An expedition led by British polar explorer and maritime archaeologist John Shears will try to locate the wreck of the Endurance, a research ship led by Sir Ernest Shackleton that became trapped in the Arctic ice of the Weddell Sea in January 1915 and sank in November of that year. The entire ship’s crew survived by camping on the polar ice and landing in lifeboats.
The expedition will use autonomous underwater vehicles called sabretooths to attempt to locate, study and film the wreck. The biggest challenge of the expedition will be the ice, which may require the researchers to camp on the ice, drill holes and use the Sabretooths that way. Either way, Garriott will have a great time when he’s not working on the game his name is attached to.
As the title of the article states, this is not Garriott’s first wild adventure: He’s been to the North Pole, taken a trip to the International Space Station (where he secretly brought the remains of a Star Trek actor back on board) and recently dove into the Mariana Cave.
Of course, MMORPG veterans know that Garriott has become a controversial figure in the gaming world in recent years. Although he is often considered one of the founding fathers of the genre thanks to his pioneering work on Ultima Online and his subsequent efforts with NCsoft before the trial, his last MMO, Shroud of the Avatar, was a failure; it has been widely criticized for removing promised features on Kickstarter, excessive crowdfunding, lack of KS rewards, unclear corporate governance, closing its offices, and failing to file the required SEC legal paperwork regarding the crowdfunding company’s shares. In 2019, Portalarium soldSOTA to its lead developer; questions from the press and attempts to get an explanation from the crowdfunding investors were met with pinches and insults, but SOTA is still in development, and Garriott is still occasionally involved with the game.
Lord British is in the news again! This time looking for a ship that’s been missing for 105 years. https://t.co/ltCJ8A1GqA
– Shroud of the Avatar (@catnipgames) 7 July 2021