|Distributor(s)||Valve Corporation (Steam), Good Old Games|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
|Media/distribution||CD, DVD, Steam download, GoG.com download|
Arx Fatalis is a partially open source first-person role-playing video game for the Xbox and Microsoft Windows, released on November 2002 by Arkane Studios, a video game developer based in Lyon, France.
The design of Arx Fatalis was heavily influenced by games from the now-defunct Looking Glass Studios, especially Ultima Underworld. Arkane Studios have stated that Arx Fatalis was intended to be Ultima Underworld III, however they could not obtain a license for the UW name.
Arx Fatalis (lat. "fatal fortress") is set on a world whose sun has failed, forcing the above-ground creatures to take refuge in subterranean caverns. The action in Arx takes place in one of these large caves, where inhabitants from all races such as Trolls, Goblins, Dwarves, Humans, etc. have made their homes on various levels of the cave. The player awakens inside a prison cell and, after making his escape, eventually discovers his mission is to subvert and imprison the God of Destruction, Akbaa, who is trying to manifest itself in Arx.
Arx Fatalis has a somewhat open-ended gameplay style, allowing the player to allocate skill points for the character type such as spellcasting, weapons and armor, stealth, and so on. There are several side quests that can be undertaken. Simple crafting involves enchanting ammunition and weapons, making a fishing rod (fishing pole + rope), keyrings (key + ring), dough (flour + water), pies (dough + rolling pin + optional apple+ optional bottle of wine), powder (bone/plant + pestle and mortar), and potions (powder + empty bottle + still). Some food can be cooked: dough -> round of bread, chicken drumsticks, fish, pies, and ribs (meat). The main plotline is fairly non-linear with the player collecting the various items to forge a sword required to defeat Akbaa in a final showdown. Additional goals come up such as dealing with the rebels of Arx, the snake women and The King of Arx. The player can resolve the conflict between them all and experience several different endings to the conflict with different consequences somewhat effecting the story.
There is no dialogue system in Arx Fatalis. Rather, the player is able to make choices through actions which lead to different consequences. There are also multiple ways to finish quests and the player can progress through the game in several different ways. For example, the player can use force to kill enemies and break down doors, or they can use stealth and avoid enemies.
One of the intuitive interfaces in Arx Fatalis is the spellcasting system. Using the mouse and the Ctrl key, runes are drawn in mid-air with mouse gestures, which must be correctly drawn, in order to successfully cast a spell. The player can find or buy different runes as gameplay progresses, combinations of which unlock new spells.
This gestural interface was simplified in the Xbox version to account for the limitations of the joypad. Each direction of the directional pad corresponds to a different mouse direction and different combinations of directions are entered with the directional pad to draw runes and correspondingly cast spells. A queue of up to 3 spells can be cast in advance, ready to be activated at the press of a button. There is also an instant magic mode that allows the player to simply select the desired spell they want to cast from a list of learned spells during gameplay.
In addition, Arx supports a stealth mode that is active when you see the stealth icon on the interface. In stealth mode, usually when a player is in dark or shadowy areas, non-player characters cannot see them.
Source code release 
- Brett Todd (2002-03-21). "GameSpot Preview". GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- Nick (2011-01-14). "Arx Fatalis source code, patch released!". bethblog.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
- Humphries, Matthew (2012-04-21). "Arx Libertatis: cross-platform port of Arx Fatalis released". www.geek.com. Retrieved 2012-11-17. "What’s interesting about Arx Fatalis is that development of the game started up again last year. Arkane Studios released patch 1.21 and with it open sourced the engine. That led to an new project called Arx Libertatis, which aimed to update the game to be played on multiple modern operating systems including Windows and Linux."