Portalarium: The First Triple-I Studio

Posted: August 6, 2014 in Commentary, Shroud of the Avatar

Everyone is familiar with the concept of triple-A studios. Now let me introduce to you a new kind of studio, the triple-I studio.

Triple-I stands for:

  • Incompetent
  • Ineffective
  • Inefficient

Now let’s go over why Portalarium fits this description perfectly.



Do you really think old-school game developers that suddenly resurface after years and years of obscurity have the skills to survive in the current games industry? Change is rapid in this industry, and skills not only atrophy, but also become outdated. I don’t care how many years someone has been in the industry or how many games they’ve shipped. If they’ve been away for 10+ years, either because of the pursuit of other interests or a waning career, their skills are largely irrelevant.

Richard Garriot is the prime example. He has not had a successful game since the mid 1990’s. After his second high-profile failure in a row since then, Tabula Rasa, he was not heard from again for many years until the events that lead to his current project, which we all know as Shroud of the Avatar. He apparently still thinks he has what it takes, but his former CTO and Portalarium co-founder thinks he’s full of shit and the results speak for themselves–the game is clearly lackluster when viewed from any angle.

Next up, Chris “Dippy Dragon” Spears, technical director at Portalarium, who worked with Richard Garriot on the failed Tabula Rasa game and a small number of other games no one has ever heard of, has put his incompetence on display many times. By the way, I don’t even know why I have to ask this, but why is a technical director fumbling around trying to make maps when Portalarium supposedly has environment artists and world builders? His chosen moniker of “Dippy Dragon” is quite appropriate within this context.

Last but not least, Gina Dionne, AKA “FireLotus,” is the community manager at Portalarium. She is yet another staffer pulled from the failed game, Tabula Rasa. Again, the results speak for themselves. One need only spend 5 minutes on the Shroud of the Avatar forums to realize their community management is inept. If you’re still not convinced, stop by InsaneMembrain’s blog which continues to chronicle the saga as it unfolds.



The original goal Richard Garriot had was to create a spiritual successor to the Ultima series and The Ultimate RPG.

Now let’s look at the definition of the word ineffective.
  1. not producing any significant or desired effect.

Clearly, Shroud of the Avatar meets this definition, as does its development team.

What about Portalarium’s other games, Port Casino Poker and Ultimate Collector? Yes, those too were failures according to the originally stated goals.



As of the date and time of this post, the Shroud of the Avatar campaign stats indicate that $4,611,854 has been raised to fund Shroud of the Avatar. Have you ever seen a game raise so much money on Kickstarter yet look so awful and be so hollow and empty over 1 year later, almost nearing its originally forecast release date?

Just look at the long list of employees and compare it with what actually is being produced. With so many employees and so little being produced, and what little is being produced being of such low production value, the value for the dollar just isn’t there. This same money would have definitely been better spent elsewhere, perhaps on a smaller and more skilled development team instead of one that doesn’t even pull its own weight.

And there you have it: Portalarium, the world’s first triple-I game development studio.

“Forsaken Virtues” is right.

  1. Reblogged this on insanemembrane and commented:
    Another very well written article from SotA Sucks!

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