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[W]Pix's Savage Empire Patch

24th May 2020 by Dino

Some news surfaced earlier this month at Pix's Origin Adventures: Ultima Patcher 1.67 has been released with a new Savage Empire patch and a few other minor fixes. (The relevant news item at The Ultima Codex brought this to my attention.) Here's how Pix described the changes in his news post:

Pix wrote: "I was approached by “Death Strike” about adding a patch for Savage Empire to the Ultima Patcher. Apparently, the GOG version of the game contains a bug which disables the alternate ending but a later fixed version was released on the compilation CD with 7 Cities Of Gold (anyone who has ever spent time hunting for Ultimas on Ebay should be familiar with this particular CD). They created a patch to update the GOG version which I’ve added to the Ultima Patcher."

The readme included with the patch gives a little more detail:

README.txt says: "There appears to be two versions of Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire available.

"The first and most widely available is version 1.6. This is the version available from GOG.

"The second is version 2.1 and appears to be from a later release from Electronic Arts, possibly from a compilation of their games.

"You can check your version in game by selecting "About The Savage Empire" from the main menu.

"This patch upgrades Savage Empire from version 1.6 to version 2.1.

[...]

"Tristia's dialogue no longer loops until she is rebuffed. This allows the player to reach the alternative ending.

"Other than the above, the differences between the two versions are currently unknown."

Now, this is particularly interesting due to recent events. In October 2019, a visitor to Dino's Ultima Page noticed that the Savage Empire Credits in Dino's Guide to The Savage Empire list a different version (2.1) to the game distributed by GOG (1.6). The version of Savage Empire I had always played was indeed the one from the EA compilation CD, as mentioned by Pix.

A few months later, I dug deeper, identifying which files had changed. Thanks to help from Eric Fry of Nuvie, we found that four dialogues had some differences, including Tristia's. I briefly mentioned the two different versions on 25th January 2020 and updated the Savage Empire Guide accordingly.

Pix's news sheds some more light on the differences between the two versions. Looking back at Tristia's dialogue, I see that in the 1.6 version there is a missing keyword, and I wonder whether that causes the bug that Pix describes. The 2.1 version fills this hole, and adds a couple of keywords for the same dialogue option.

The existence, let alone details, of these two different versions is still very much unknown, and we have yet to figure out the full extent of their differences. If you noticed anything in the games that you'd like to add, please get in touch!

© by Daniel D'Agostino 2002-2020