This-morning, I had climbed a rise to take bearings on some landmarks, to see if I could figure their precise locations. One distant spire (what is it? A lighthouse? One of the primitive statues, perhaps? I do not know) was obscured by some trees, and I took a few steps sideways to try to get a better view.
That was a mistake.
Gog.com’s latest release is Pharaoh (bundled with the Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile expansion pack).
38 Studios (and its subsidiary Big Huge Games – Rise of Nations), developers of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (2012), has apparently effectively closed. Selling 1.2 million copies of the game across Steam, Origin, PS3 and Xbox 360 in 90 days just wasn’t enough to pay the bills (though it outperformed the expectations of publisher, Electronic Arts). The break-even point apparently was 3 million copies (or even more), according to Rhode Island Governor, Lincoln Chafee.
Everything seemed to be going well, with word that a bungled loan repayment had finally been made, it looked like 38 Studios would hang in there for another few months, and that the attention its woes brought to its game might spark enough sales to keep the lights on.
No such luck, apparently.
Citing 95% PC piracy rates, Ubisoft seems to be quitting the PC games market. The problem with games piracy statistics are manifold: Nobody actually knows what the piracy rates really are (though they seem to be likely to be on a par with console piracy rates – probably – since there’s certainly no shortage of console games piracy), and there are other factors involved like release-timing, product quality and pricing that all play their part.
Ubisoft’s PC versions of their games have become increasingly so slapdash and cack-handed that it isn’t really surprising that PC gamers simply don’t want to buy them. I don’t have to tell you that this does not make for a good business model for the PC games market, but someone should probably tell Ubisoft.
Arx Fatalis is actually really rather a cool game. Think Ultima Underworld, fully jazzed up and with a nifty story full of surprising twists. I might produce a review of it at some later stage.
Arx isn’t a new game by any stretch of the imagination, being more than eight years old, and it had persistent performance issues except in the lower resolutions and on some specific hardware. Nevertheless, a patch (1.21) suddenly appeared which fixes all of that – although it actually maybe feels a little fast now.
Apparently it is the final patch for Arx Fatalis, but it is accompanied by the source-code under the GPL 3 (with a couple minor exceptions).