Richard Garriott was born in Cambridge, England on July 4, 1961. Soon after he was born, Garriott moved with his family to Nassau Bay, Texas. His father is Owen K. Garriott, a world famous astronaut who spent 2 months in Skylab, the first American space station. Garriott attended Clear Creek High School where he took an interest in computers and started designing video games. It was here that he gained the nickname Lord British because he was born in England.
Garriott toyed with game development until 1980 when he designed his first commercial game, Akalabeth. Akalabeth was released for the Apple II and was one of the first RPGs to ever be developed for computers. The game was published by California Pacific Computer Company. From the sales of Akalabeth, Garriott was able to pay to enter the University of Texas at Austin, where he joined the fencing team and the Society for Creative Anachronism, a historical reenactment club.
Just a few months after Akalabeth, Garriott released Ultima. Like Akalabeth, Ultima was a series of RPGs and was a pioneer for RPGs on the PC. Garriott released Ultima for the Apple II and it was published, like Akalabeth, by California Pacific Computer Company. Ultima II was released in 1982 again for the Apple II and published by Sierra On-Line. When Ultima III was released in 1983, Garriott founded his own publishing company Origin Systems, which would eventually evolve into one of the most influential game developers of all-time.
Origin took over full publishing for Ultima games with Ultima IV in 1985, Ultima V in 1988, Ultima VI in 1990 and Ultima VII in 1992. After Ultima VII, Electronic Arts bought Origin Games, though game development wasn't effected. The Ultima games continued until Ultima IX, when the series finally ended.
In 1999, EA canceled all of Origin Systems forthcoming games, including Privateer Online and Harry Potter Online. This caused Garriott to resign from Origin. Garriott went on to found Destination Games in 2000. Destination Games then partnered with MMO developer NCsoft where Garriott became the lead developer of MMORPGs at NCsoft. During this time, Garriott developed MMOs Lineage II, City of Heroes, and Tabula Rasa.
Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa was the first game to feature Garriott's name in its title, and he appeared in game as General British, leader of the Allied Free Sentients (AFS), the player faction in the game. Despite this outward stamp of authorhood, Garriott only became involved in the title later on in its development, after it had been through several design iterations.
Richard Garriott formed Portalarium, Inc along side Stephen Nichols, Fred Schmidt, and Dallas Snell in September 2009. Portalarium's main focus is on casual games across multiple platforms including but not limited to: the iPhone, Android, facebook, and Myspace. The companies first game is titled Sweet @$! Poker and is available as a Windows app and on the facebook platform.
On October 12, 2008, Garriott flew to the International Space Station. Part of his duties was to transfer logs of humans' DNA to the station. In July 2008, NCsoft held a contest where the winners would have digital versions of their DNA stored on a hard drive and stored in space. Garriott is also rumored to be a rocket engineer.
From Gamespot: "Garriott also now holds the distinction of being the first American to follow a parent into space. His father, 77-year-old Owen Garriott, spent 60 days aboard Skylab in 1973 and 10 days aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1983."
For more information on the mission, visit his website.
Departure from NCsoft
On November 11, 2008, not long after his return to Earth, Garriott announced his departure from NCsoft via its official website. Later, however, Garriott claimed that the letter was forged as a means of forcing him out of his position and that he had had no intention of leaving. This led to a dispute over whether his exit was voluntary or forced, and whether stock options were properly handled. In July 2010, a Texas jury sided with Garriott and awarded $28 million in his lawsuit against NCSoft for not appropriately handle his departure in 2008. An appeals court affirmed the verdict.
At South by Southwest 2010 (SXSW) a documentary titled, " Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission" debuted. The film documents the birth of private space travel, and the first father-son astronaut family.
In 2011, Garriott was married, graduated with a doctorate from Queen Mary University London and legally changed his name to Dr. Richard Garriott de Cayeux (took the new last name from his wife).