Believe it or not, Arkane Studios has released a brand-new Arx Fatalis patch, bringing bug fixes and Windows Vista and 7 compatibility to the cult classic RPG.
A little bit of background for those who may be a bit confused about why a new, official Arx Fatalis patch is an awesome thing. Developed by French studio Arkane, Arx came out in 2002 - that's right, nine years ago - and made a big stir with old-school RPG fans as a "spiritual successor" to the Ultima Underworld games. It was weird, it was a little incoherent - it was very European, in other words - and it was far from a big hit, but as they say in the beer commercial, those who liked it, liked it a lot.
Nine years later, the game is available through GOG, Steam and Direct2Drive, but playing it on current systems can be a bit iffy. Which is why it's great news for those who haven't played it, and those who'd like to play it again, that Arkane today released the Arx Fatalis v1.21 patch. The new update improves stability under Windows Vista and 7, and also fixes a handful of bugs including HUD scaling at high resolutions, Nvidia performance issues, an EAX glitch and more. In other words, it's not just a bit of tweaking to get the game running on modern hardware, it's an actual, legit, bug-fixin' patch.
Great news, yes, but why release a patch for an obscure RPG that's almost a decade old? That I cannot answer, but I do think it speaks rather highly of Arkane's new owner, ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks that bought the French studio last year. Any media company that buys a studio and then lets it horse around supporting old, semi-successful games is okay in my book.
Arkane said this will be the very last Arx update it ever puts out, so it also released the game's full source code for fans who want to make future updates or mods themselves. Is that cool or what? The patch and the source are both available from arkane-studios.com.