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EA to redesign Ultima for China

Classic MMO to be developed by Mythic and Hong Kong's NetDragon

Electronic Arts is planning to release an updated version of classic Western MMO Ultima Online into the Chinese market.

The game - the original of which launched the careers of Richard Garriott and Raph Koster among others - will be redeveloped by teams at EA Mythic and Hong Kong-based NetDragon Websoft.

"We are delighted to further our relationship with EA through the development of Ultima Online," said Liu Dejian, chairman and executive director of NetDragon. "Capitalising on our ability to create a strong online gaming experience, we are confident that Ultima Online will be a success in China and will also achieve remarkable results in the other markets where we'll operate the game."

And Jon Niermann, president of EA Asia, added: "Ultima Online is a well known EA property and we're delighted to bring the game to fans in China, Hong Kong, Macau and India. NetDragon is a proven partner and we're confident in their expertise to build and operate a great gaming experience for players."

The move by EA is the latest in a bid to try and gain greater traction in the Asian market, and follows the success of FIFA Online in the territory in the past couple of years.

It will also be a direct rival to Activision Blizzard's World of Warcraft, currently offline but thought to be relaunching soon after issues with changing operators in the country.

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