An Austin, Texas, court has awarded Ultima creator Richard Garriott $28 million over what it determined was his forced departure from NCsoft in 2008.

At the time of his departure, a letter was posted on the Tabula Rasa website saying he was leaving the company due to his interest in spaceflight (Garriott spent 12 days in space as a space tourist). In his legal complaint letter, Garriott said that although he approved the letter, in hindsight (after conversations with NCsoft's head of North American studios, Chris Chung) he felt the letter was actually a set-up to try and prove that Garriott left of his own free will. Garriott says he never wanted to leave the company, and that he was forced out. This distinction is important, because Garriott's assertion was that he lost $28 million in stock options simply because NCsoft claimed he left voluntarily versus being fired.

"I am extremely pleased with the jury's decision," said Garriott in a statement. "The facts were clear that my departure from NCsoft was not voluntary. I am very pleased with the final award." Lawyers for NCsoft, meanwhile, say that they "will be considering all options for next steps in the legal process."