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Origin Systems was founded in 1983 by brothers Robert and Richard Garriott, their father Owen Garriott, as well as Chuck Bueche. Bueche and Richard Garriott had previously made Ultima 1 and Ultima 2 with Sierra online, but terminated their contract while in the middle of negotiations regarding the release of Ultima III and founded Origin Systems. The motto of Origin Systems was "We Create Worlds". Its games were well recognized for well written plots and attention to detail. They went on to publishing several more Ultima games as well as the MMORPG Ultima Online. Other notable franchises created by Origin are the Wing Commander series as well as the Crusader games. With the publication of Ultima Online they attracted the attention of EA games, who saw potential in the game, going on to buy Origin Systems. Electronic Arts disbanded the studio after cancelling some of the upcoming games being developed by Origin.

Origin Systems had a special branch called Origin Skunkworks which created flight sims. The branch eventually split off to continue creating flight sims.

Richard Garriott later founded Destination Games, which was then bought out by NCsoft, where he has also found great success in the position of Executive producer for MMO titles City of Heroes and City of Villains, as well as releasing a MMO of his own design, Tabula Rasa in 2007, but to no great success.

Many other employees of Origin Games have gone on to bigger and better things.

The Ultima series still enjoys a cult following, with hobbyists creating a program that will run some of the games, such as Ultima 7, in Windows XP, as it is a DOS game. The program also allows users to create their own worlds with ultima engines.

In 2011, the Origin Systems name and logo was reappropriated by Electronic Arts for their online games distribution platform, simply renamed, Origin.

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