From now until May 31 at 10 a.m. Eastern—Sunday morning—you can grab Arkane Studios’ very first game, Arx Fatalis, for free. Just sign up for the Arkane Outsiders community hub at Bethesda.net, opt in to receive email communications from them, and you’ll receive a free license for Arx Fatalis through the Bethesda launcher. You’ll also get access to an electronic copy of the Art of Arkane art book.
The first-person dungeon crawler hit PC and Xbox in 2002 and 2003, respectively, and helped chart a course for the developer behind the hit Dishonored franchise. Although it lost out to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Arx was nominated for best RPG of the year by Computer Gaming World, alongside BioWare’s Neverwinter Nights, and received favorable reviews. Unfortunately, it was declared a commercial failure.
While it resembles Morrowind at a glance, Arx was heavily influenced by immersive sims like System Shock and Ultima Underworld (one of Skyrim director Todd Howard’s personal favorites).
Arkane founder Raphaël Colantonio recalls the game’s creation and influence on Dishonored in a feature at Bethesda.net’s Arkane blog. “We brought that niche genre to something that’s way bigger,” Colantonio said. “Dishonored is definitely one of the biggest immersive sims in terms of sales and public awareness.”
An Arx Fatalis 2 never saw the light of day, but Arkane’s ideas for such a project evolved into a kind of spiritual successor: the Ubisoft-published Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, released in 2006. Dishonored would arrive six years later in 2012.
— to www.forbes.com