Founded in 1983 by brothers Richard Garriott (Lord British) and Robert Garriott, their father Owen, and Chuck Bueche (Chuckles).
Chuck was a high school friend and university roommate of Richards and was introduced to computers and programming by Garriott back in 1981.
Before Origin Chuck had started his own company Craniac Entertainment (which still exists today!) and had a few titles published by Sierra On-Line. (you’ll find “Chuckles” written on many fine game covers).
Ultima III – Exodus was the very first title to leave Origin Systems headquarters in Austin, Texas in 1983, following the success and reputation with earlier Ultima titles, Origin survived the video game crash the same year.
Chuck was tasked to port Ultima III from the Apple II system to the Commodore 64. Besides porting Chuck designed and programmed titles like Autoduel and A.D. 2400.
Chuck also featured as one of the characters in the Ultima games as Lord British’s court jester known simply as “Chuckles”.
Chuck Left Origin Systems in 1988, by that time the company had 15 developers in Austin, and 35 other employees in New Hampshire.
Computer games and much more
Wing Commander, the biggest space combat franchise to ever hit the home computer, saw it’s first flight in 1990 spawning many sequels, spin-offs, and even animated television series, a feature film, a collectible card game, a series of novels, and action figures.
The first Wing Commander featured stunning VGA graphics, fast-paced space arcade action, and player progress and was highly acclaimed. Wing Commander was designed. directed and produced by Chris Roberts, who joined Origin in 1986, after returning from England, where he grew up.
-Before Wing Commander, Chris created Times of Lore in 1988 and Bad Blood in 1990.
Chris was involved in the first four installments of what would become the Wing Commander franchise – producer on Wing Commander 2 and Director on 3 & 4, before leaving Origin in 1996.
Strike Commander was, after numerous delays, released in 1993 – also designed by Chris Roberts. Strike Commander was a combat flight simulator with impressive and innovative 3D graphics and used both Gouraud shading and texture-mapping on both aircraft-models and terrain, an impressive feat at the time. Significant plot elements were presented through in-game cut-scene animations, a hallmark storytelling vehicle from Chris Robert’s previous Wing Commander titles.
The Strike Commander project took more than four years and over a million man-hours on background development.
A lot of the technology developed and used on Strike Commander went on to be used in later titles like Pacific Strike.
Just as a quick note (since we are not talking Ultima which he is probably most known for), Loubet did the artwork for the following titles shown below:
- Wing Commander & Wing Commander II
- Wing Commander: The Secret Missions
- Wing Commander: Secret Missions II
- Strike Commander
- Crusader: No Remorse
- Tangled Tales
- Bad Blood
- Knights of Legend
- Times of Lore
I was and still are a huge Origin fan, unfortunately, I sold most of my Origin collection 5 or 6 years ago (still regretting it to this day). Below is what is left of my sealed collection, not counting Ultima’s, which will have a post of their own in the future.