MMO Rumours: New version of Ultima Online? SOE closing studios?

A couple of fairly major rumours have been doing the rounds over the last day or so.

1. Based on the fact that EA is recruiting one (1) MMO programmer for an unannounced project, there’s a rumour that they’re planning a remake/ sequel to Ultima Online. If it’s true and sticks with the strong worldbuilding focus of the original game, this could be very interesting indeed.

But chances are that any updates will neuter whatever made UO fascinating to players at the time.

And incidentally if you want to try the original Ultima Online, there’s a 14 day free trial. I would also like to give Mythic props because this is the first official newbie guide I’ve seen that offers advice on how to choose a shard/server.

2. And the other, less happy rumour is that Sony Online Entertainment is closing studios and laying off a third (!) of their staff. That’s a lot of staff. Wish them all well if it’s true.