E3 2002: ARX Fatalis preshow report

Fishtank Interactive will be showing its upcoming RPG at E3.

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Fishtank will have its upcoming PC role-playing game ARX Fatalis on display at this year's E3. ARX Fatalis is being developed by French developer Arkane Studios and is intended to be something of a spiritual successor to the cult RPG classic Ultima Underworld.

Like Ultima Underworld, ARX Fatalis will be a first-person role-playing game in which you must explore a huge underground dungeon. According to the game's story, you will play as a lone adventurer from Arx, a kingdom that has been evacuated and moved underground, since the sun has disappeared, leaving the rest of the world in darkness. Unfortunately, the move wasn't easy. The people of Arx migrated to a mine that was previously considered to be abandoned, though they were set upon by subterranean monsters like goblins and trolls. Your character awakens as a prisoner of these monsters with no memory of who he is and must escape and eventually discover his own identity. Over the course of the adventure, he must ultimately discover a means to rescue his people and restore the sun to the sky.

ARX Fatalis will have a distinctive mouselook control scheme reminiscent of Ultima Underworld. You will be able to control your characters in two ways, either by using your keyboard to move and your mouse to look or by using your mouse to click on different locations to move to. ARX Fatalis will also let you use your mouse to perform other actions, such as fighting and casting magic spells. Fights will take place in real time, and you'll be able to choose the strength of your attacks by pressing and holding the mouse button longer for a stronger, but slower, attack. The game's magic spell system will be based on magical runes that your character will recover over the course of his career, but to use magic, you'll be required not only to select which spell you'd like to cast, but to use your mouse pointer to physically trace out the pattern of the magic rune corresponding to your spell.

ARX Fatalis is currently scheduled for release this summer. We'll have more information from the show.

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