Uru fans celebrate its resurrection

Myst-based MMOG Uru Live set to live again on GameTap; devoted following credited for revival.

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The resurrection of the online fantasy game Uru Live is already going better than expected.

Some 500 players are participating in a beta of the game, which formally launches this holiday season on Turner Broadcasting's GameTap game network, and 7,000 more testers are waiting to join them. For them, the rebirth of Uru Live--which brought the celebrated Myst franchise into the realm of massively multiplayer online role playing games--is a chance to once again immerse themselves in a game about which many feel unusually passionate. The popular game was once left for dead.

"There was a part of me that didn't want to get too excited for fear it would be taken away again," said Keith Lord, a 24-year-old Web and graphic designer from Eastington, England, about the return of Uru Live. "In the end, I decided to forget that part and just enjoy what we have been given back."

That Uru Live has life at all is probably surprising to some. The game had a strong fan base before it was shut down during beta on February 9, 2004 due to a lack of financial resources. Left with no official place to play the game, many players stayed together in an unsupported freeware version of the game called Until Uru, made available by its developer, Cyan Worlds.

Big game companies like Electronic Arts and Activision should take note: Communities of gamers increasingly say they won't let their favorites go quietly into the night, and small companies like GameTap are trying hard to tie into that fandom, said gamer Eleri Hamilton (her game name). Ultimately, Hamilton said she thinks the reemergence of Uru Live could carve new ground for smaller developers.

"I think it's something the gaming industry in general should take note of," she said. "Here was this game that was killed by a large publisher (and) that the fans kept the torch burning (for) two years until GameTap picked it up. I think what GameTap is planning, with reaching out to the smaller game companies that don't match up to the big publisher bottom lines, is going to shake up the industry."

Now Uru fans and developers are looking forward to the comeback. "There are a number of factors now that I think will help it be successful," said Ron Meiners, who for the last few months has been working as a contract community manager for GameTap. He was an Uru Live community manager at Ubisoft, which published the original game. "In many ways, it was ahead of its time. There's more broadband penetration now, and a lot more mainstream understanding of what an MMO is, due to World of Warcraft, Second Life, and other virtual experiences."

There are also a number of changes to the game. GameTap has implemented a new physics engine that governs movements in the game's virtual space and has new sound support for Uru Live. While there are still bugs in the system, there should be no problems with the scheduled holiday launch plan, Meiners said.

To Josh Draper, 25, a laundromat operator from Conway, AR, the new Uru Live does a good job of replicating the look and feel of the original. He also lauds some of the changes GameTap has made, such as making it easier for newcomers.

"It's become easier and faster to get to interact with other players," Draper said. "In the old version, you had to complete a solo area before you could do that, but now you can start playing with others almost immediately."

Meanwhile, Meiners said GameTap is considering adding all-new elements of user-created content to Uru Live, and that by doing so, the network is hoping to leverage the creative capabilities of the playing community. Such a move makes sense, since many of today's most popular online games heavily depend on letting users contribute much of the content. That serves two main purposes: It keeps in-world content continually fresh, and it means development costs are lower.

"We're still working out how this will work, but people could create clothing, objects, or even entire new worlds," said Meiners. "The Myst games are based on travel to new worlds and the solving of challenges there. The community created a few of those...Part of the whole mythos was the creation of whole new worlds as an artwork, and we're working on enabling the community to engage in that."

That means the new Uru Live universe could well be populated with buildings, trees, sculptures, landscapes, oceans, and other user-created objects, all of which, GameTap developers hope, will enhance the in-world environment.

"The worlds created for Uru can be quite fantastic and very beautiful," Meiners said. "So this opens tremendous doors of creativity and challenge."

Meiners said he's heard concerns from some members of the Uru Live beta community that the influx of newcomers via the larger GameTap subscriber base could prove an issue in what has been a somewhat insular environment.

"We know we need to grow a lot to be successful," Meiners said. "But some people aren't sure what effect that will have on the community."

Hamilton also downplayed that concern. "I think it's good to push Uru past the Myst fan niche market," Hamilton said. "Initially it might be challenging integrating some of the rougher edges of MMO society, but I think that will mellow."

Discussion

39 comments
shreddyz
shreddyz

author's last name Terdiman? lol he must have been teased

PhbDNi
PhbDNi

Myst, especially URU LOL is more than a game, it is a total immersion in freedom, individual and communal, in a World (Worlds?) Dreams, intelligence and humility. No violence, no weapons, only the reflection, "smart" intelligence, spirit of adventure make this "game" the best I have ever experienced. It is the most beautiful Phoenix that revived Myst these ashes through Uru Live On Line. Phb, Member of DRC (5442).

_Sam_
_Sam_

I haven't heard of this game before

awarriorofgamin
awarriorofgamin

ive never heard of this game ill have to check it out

robroymcgregor
robroymcgregor

This is great News I was an original member of URU Live before it shut down in 2004.............................this is indeed a resurrection of the Phoenix. I also own all of Cyan's Myst Games, incredible too, URU being the king of Kings, twas a sad sad time for all URU fans spread across the globe, now our individual hopes have risen again can't wait to get back in, well done Gamtap. Regards Rob

Skeet1983
Skeet1983

I am glad gamers won't let the beloved MYST series die. Like Atrus himself said: "The ending has not yet been written."

mszv
mszv

Uru Live is not US only. If Gametap is not available in your part of the world, you will be able to directly subscribe to Uru Live. If Gametap is available in your part of the world, then you go through Gametap.

ivanxuereb
ivanxuereb

"Oh no, EA, looks like the little guys are gonna take over, hopefully.... if this game is good, EA might even try to buy them... those bastards!!!!" They are? Damn, more games that I'll *have* to boycott.

gozalo
gozalo

Oh no, EA, looks like the little guys are gonna take over, hopefully.... if this game is good, EA might even try to buy them... those bastards!!!!

cubkyle
cubkyle

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

cjcr_alexandru
cjcr_alexandru

I didn't played Uru. I'm not really into adventure games. I've played Syberia 2 and, well.... it gave me some headaches. :) Anyway I'm interested how well an adventure game will translate into an MMOG.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

I know a lot of peopel didn't like Mystor its' sequels, but I found them entertaining. Sometimes all a good game needs is a story. And in other NDA news, the new FFXII looks awsome.

Russell
Russell

"Persons who do not live in a country where GameTap is available [currently only US] will be able to subscribe directly to Uru Live outside of GameTap but players who enter this way will not receive any of the extra benefits offered by GameTap." Facts please, gentlemen.

Ajibusa
Ajibusa

I'll gladly subscribe to GameTap if they add Earth & Beyond to their catalog. Especially if they added the new classes.

ivanxuereb
ivanxuereb

It's NOT US only. I repeat: NOT US only. They're working on an international system. Spiderfreak: Myst? Crappy? You don't seem to have played many Doom clones and sequels, THOSE are crappy. Less story, more killing. Flamingcoconut: You just broke your mother's NDA. Bad boy :P In future don't post any information on the beta, regardless on how insignificant it may seem. NDAs shouldn't be broken until lifted (Uru Live's will be lifted at around 2010).

tonyleo01
tonyleo01

I love The Longest Journey, Dreamfall, and Indigo Prophesy, but I just don't get this game. It's not like I'm stupid or anything but this game just doesn't make sense to me. it's like they give you little to no clue about what you have to do. I'm happy for all of you that love this game nether less :)

orangebrat
orangebrat

>>>Its nice to see a franchise revivals such as myst, Myst never went away. Counting Uru LIve, there have been 4 Myst games the last 3-4 years. That doesn't include theUru expansions or any ports.

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

Intersting. But how in the world do you make a Myst MMOG? I mean do you like run around and help each other solve puzzles lol?

KandyKornMan
KandyKornMan

ive played the uru game and both expansion packs.it was a cool game not the same as myst but still had the same type of gameplay to it.lets not forget the awesome graphics this game had and the music was great as well.

blackdamage
blackdamage

Uhm, that's good for all those people sticking around with the game that long. Maybe there is justice in the world after all. Too bad it's US only. But hey, I'm not one to play online anyway. And Gametap doesn't exactly tickle my fancy.

doomsoth
doomsoth

Wow...SpiderFreak, you have no taste in games. Anyways, this has been around on the Uru Live forums for months.

Flamingcoconut
Flamingcoconut

actually i believe there is a way for non game-tap subscribers to join. My mom playes this game and she's in the beta

Dolacide
Dolacide

Never heard of this game before.

runbmp
runbmp

Its nice to see a franchise revivals such as myst, Sam and Max, and maybe... just maybe, we can see full throtle ressurected again.

bossjimbob
bossjimbob

Oddly enough, I was playing Myst III: Exile on Xbox last night. Interesting game.

titledlive
titledlive

I am actually really excited for this. I am going to join Gametap just for this game.

tidusjeff
tidusjeff

It would be nice if gamertap was UB compatible if so then it's stupid not to bring it to osx like all the other myst titles.

SpiderFreak
SpiderFreak

All the Myst games since Riven have just plain sucked. Nothing can ever compare with those two games. And, hate to say it, but Uru was probably the worst. I'm honestly glad they've ended the Myst series so that I don't have to endure another crappy game. SF

BlackMageJawa
BlackMageJawa

God, I've been waiting years for this... now finally I can- oh, wait US only. BASTARDS!

huskerdupooh
huskerdupooh

that is awesome...but im more interested on sam and max on gametap woot woot

John_of_Fire
John_of_Fire

Glad to see these people will get what they have been waiting for. A lot of people seem entranced by the Myst world. I hope this works out for Gametap.

SoulSlayer_
SoulSlayer_

Man I sure hope Europeans will get access to Uru Live too cuz Gametap is US only.