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Origin Systems, Inc. (sometimes abbreviated as OSI) was a computer game developer based in Austin, Texasmarker that was active from 1983 to 2004. It is most famous for the Ultima, Wing Commander, and Crusader game franchises.


The company was founded in 1983 by brothers Robert and Richard Garriott, their father Owen and Chuck Bueche after Richard had terminated his contract with Sierra On-Line to publish the third part in Richard's Ultima series, Ultima III: Exodus.

In September 1992, Electronic Arts acquired the company.

In 1997, they released one of the earliest and most successful graphical MMORPGs, Ultima Online. After this title, Electronic Arts decided that Origin would become an online-only company after the completion of Ultima IX in 1999. However, within a year's time, in part of Ultima IX's poor reception [46304], EA canceled all of Origin's new development projects, including Ultima Online 2, Privateer Online, and Harry Potter Online. Richard Garriott left Origin shortly after and founded Destination Games in 2000.

In later years, Origin mainly existed to support and expand Ultima Online and to develop further online games based on the Ultima franchise such as Ultima X: Odyssey, originally to be released in 2004 but later canceled. In February 2004, the studio was disbanded by Electronic Arts.

Notable employees

The 1980s version of the Origin Systems logo
The 1990s version of the Origin Systems logo
Origin employed many young game developers over its tenure who have since gone on to leading roles in numerous game development companies, especially in Austin. Among its prominent employees were (alphabetically):


Origin's motto was "We Create Worlds" and its games were known for their well-realized plots and the amount of detail furnished. OSI was always ahead of the curve in terms of cutting edge graphics and game versatility.

The original Wing Commander, for instance, came with a booklet purporting to be a shipboard magazine named Claw Marks, written and published by the crew of the Tiger's Claw (ghost-written by Aaron Allston); it provided the player with a number of irrelevancies (such as an interview with the star of a popular televised wartime drama) as well as convenient statistics and user guides for ships, weapon systems, and information regarding pilots and tactics on both Terran and Kilrathi sides and also hints on a rich background history.



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