A great eBay auction has concluded, surely to rank among the great eBay auctions of all time. A prototype box for the The Lost Vale has been sold for the whopping sum of $1,923. You can view the auction details here.
Origin developed The Lost Vale as an add-in for Ultima VIII: Pagan. In the tradition of The Forge of Virtue (Ultima VII) and Silver Seed (Ultima VII Part 2), Lost Vale would have added a new adventure complete with extra monsters, artwork, land area and story to the game. Citing low sales for Ultima VIII, Origin opted to cancel the project near the end of its development cycle. Many believe that a functional version of the game still exists - it is considered perhaps the Holy Grail of Ultima fans.
There is a very similar story for Wing Commander fans: in 1995, Origin developed Wing Commander 2 for the SNES. The port featured a different style of more action oriented gameplay and a series of fascinating changes (including Ferrets with two VDUs and full color comm images). Unfortunately, business sense prevailed - in 1995, the SNES was on its way out, and the especially large game would have used a particularly expensive to produce type of cartridge. Wing Commander 2 was completed, shipped to Pony Canyon in Japan and never seen again.
Congratulations to the new owner of an empty box! Here's to hoping we all find our missing games someday.