A birthday celebration often calls for gifts, but in Arkane Studios’ case, it is the one giving away presents this year. Celebrating 20 years of making games, the Dishonored and Prey developer is making sure to reward fans as well. The very first game the company ever made, Arx Fatalis, is now free to download for a limited time.
A world in need of saving
While it is indeed free, you will need to jump through some hoops to get your hands on Arx Fatalis. First off, you will need to sign up for the Arkane Outsiders newsletter. Second, you’ll have to claim the game through the Bethesda launcher, so you can only play it there. That could be a deal-breaker for many people, but hey, it’s still another free game to add to the backlog. This limited-time offer will end on May 31 at 7:00 a.m. PT.
With it being the first game developed by a new studio back then, Arx Fatalis is not without its critics. However, it was certainly good enough back in 2002. The first-person roleplaying game takes players on “an amazing journey into the fantasy world of Arx.” As is with most fantasy worlds, Arx is embroiled in turmoil due to a violent war.
With the sun disappearing and the world plunged into eternal darkness, most communities now live underground. Supplies are running low, and tensions are rising higher. The likes of trolls, goblins, rat-men, and humans all struggle for survival. And you can trace all of these troubles back to the emergence of the evil that is Akbaa, the God of Destruction. Your job in Arx Fatalis is straightforward enough: eliminate Akbaa and save Arx from his reign of terror.
Like most RPGs, Arx Fatalis comes with everything you would expect from the genre. You’ll create your hero and master skills, use powerful magic, and resolve the crisis in your way. The game combines “intelligent storytelling with nonlinear gameplay and challenging puzzles, and every choice you make in the game could have drastic impacts on the world.” Like most of Arkane’s later games, players are free to choose their own path and playstyle, and different endings await.
Not bad for a game that arrived 18 years ago. Not bad at all.