Arkane are now owned by Zenimax Media, a large multinational corporation – which means the studio’s soul will be crushed, its imagination will be quashed and it will never, ever perform a single kind act for its fans again. THAT’S WHAT CORPORATIONS DO. Flee! Panic! Cower!
Oh. They’ve, uh, just released the source code for its revered 2002 RPG Arx Fatalis (a game they once hoped to call Ultima Underworld III, but were stymied by Dark Powers). Also, a last-ever patch designed to make the game play hot-diggity-damndy-dandy on Windowses Vista and 7. In other words, they just made a dead game live again, for no reason other than that they wanted to. Guess those corporate types are alright after all!
Both downloads are here. Get ’em while they’re hot.
Needless to say, the source code is not the same as the game assets. It’s the engine they’re offering you for no-pennies, not Arx Fatalis itself – which you can nab from Steam or GoG for around $4.99 and $5.99 respectively, and eBay for whatever luck hands you. And, by all accounts, you really should pick it up. We don’t see the like often these days, etc.
The source code release, meanwhile means you can a) create whole new campaigns or games based on it, theoretically and b) you can tweak, fix and update Arx Fatalis itself by fiddling with it. In Arkane’s own words, “this patch will remain the very last Arx Fatalis update released by Arkane Studios” – so anything from hereon in is you, bucko. Yeah, you with teeth.
The unexpected v1.21 patch will cost you a svelte 7.9MB, and is available in Englisher, Frencher, Spanishee, Germanian, Italitastic , Russih and all of the above flavours.
Here’s the changelog for the new patch in full, which I’m going to directly copy and paste because paraphrasing them would be exceptionally boring and add no new information. To my enduring shame I haven’t played Arx Fatalis, but it’s been in the RPS draft post called “Possible Games To Write Retros About?” for about twelfty years. One day. One day. Maybe tomorrow, actually.
– Improved overall game stability under Microsoft Windows Vista & Windows 7.
– Fixed blinking effect that may happen when starting a new game.
– Fixed HUD scaling when display resolution is higher than 1024×960.
– Fixed EAX option: value is now saved when leaving the option menu.
– Fixed an issue with the game locking-up when opening player inventory.
– Fixed length of cinemascope bars displayed during cinematics.
– Fixed some performance issues with a few Nvidia GPU (see Notes).
– If you experience in game framerate drops or stuttering, please give a try to the “Enable Rendering Fix” option in the Video settings.
Thanks, Arkane, Tharkane.
For some excellent insight in the game itself, here’s Kieron’s Making Of piece from centuries ago. Also, here’s the intro, for nostalgiomancy’s sake:
Welcome back, Old Game. Pray tell, lovelies, what do you expect this fine source codey gift to lead to?