Summoner (video game)
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Cover image of PC version of Summoner.
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2
Summoner, developed by Volition, Inc. and published by THQ, is a third-person role-playing video game. It was released on October 26, 2000 as a launch title for the PlayStation 2 and was subsequently ported to Microsoft Windows and Mac OS.
After the bankruptcy of THQ in December 2012, the Summoner franchise was acquired by Nordic Games, who have since published Summoner on GOG.com on February 25, 2014 and the Steam Digital Distribution platform on March 12, 2014.
In addition to the main storyline, there are over twenty side quests that may be completed.
The Summoner's combat system is a hybrid system incorporating real-time and turn-based combat, with characters essentially "taking turns" to attack during real-time gameplay. Included within this system is a unique "Chain attack" mechanic, in which players can extend their "turn" by performing special melee attacks at the appropriate time. If done correctly, players can "chain" these special attacks into long sequences, inflicting far greater amounts of damage than they might otherwise have. These special attacks can also have special effects such as inflicting status effects, damaging an enemy's action points or inflicting more health damage than normal. Characters can also acquire and use a variety of special abilities and spells, expending "action points" in order to use these abilities. The game's Summoning mechanic allows the player to conjure monsters that will serve as additional party members, allowing the player have a 5-character party instead of a 4-character party. These monsters have their own spells and abilities that they bring into combat, but will go rogue and attack the player's party if Joseph is defeated in combat.
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Joseph is a simple farmer from the village of Ciran, who is also adept at the art of summoning. It is revealed in flashback that as a boy a man named Yago gave Joseph a magical ring. When a band of raiders attack Ciran, Joseph uses the ring to summon a Demon of Darkness to save the village. Although the demon defeats the raiders, it also kills all villagers and totally destroys Ciran. Torn between grief and hatred of his new power, Joseph discards the ring and swears never to invoke his powers again.
Joseph resettles in the small village of Massad as a farmer, which is eventually besieged by the forces of Orenia, a continent ruled by Emperor Murod. Murod's four Riders - Ghost, Phoenix, Serpent and Tiger - and army seek a boy born with the mark of the Summoner. After fending off soldiers and escaping by river, Joseph journeys to Lenele, the capital of Medeva. Joseph attempts to enter the royal palace to speak to his former companion, Yago (now an advisor to the King), but is taunted and rebuffed by the guards. A disguised individual notices his difficulties and offers her assistance. Introducing herself as Flece, an agent of the local crime lord, Tancred, she suggests that they infiltrate the palace via the sewers.
They are successful, and Yago advises them to travel to the island of Iona, where the Abbot of the Monastery holds the Ring of Light: an item Joseph will need to move against Murod. Yago also gives Joseph the Ring of Darkness, which he discarded as a boy. On Iona they meet with the Abbot and Rosalind, the daughter of Yago. Although reluctant to aid Joseph as Yago once abandoned her mother to search for Joseph, she is ordered by the Abbot to accompany them into the Catacombs beneath the Great Library, where the first kings of Medeva are entombed. After battling undead warriors, the group find the tomb of Iona, the dead consort of Vadagar, god of the Earth. Also present is Sir Carados, a long lost knight and builder of the Library. Carados has gone insane, and believing he is Vadagar, attacks the group. After his defeat Joseph recovers the ring of Light.
After defeating the Ghost Rider, the trio return to Lenele. Together with Yago the group meet King Belias, Queen Galienne and the King's brother, Sornehan. King Belias commands Joseph's childhood friend Jekhar - who now hates him for inadvertently causing the destruction of Ciran - to join the group and journey to Saanavarh, the stronghold of the Khosani people. Yago advises that as the Khosani forged the rings they will have valuable advice and also possess the ring of Fire. After successfully passing several trials, the group gain the ring of Fire are informed of the history of the rings. After warding off an attack by the Phoenix Rider, the group travel to the swamp of Ikaemos. Once an ancient empire, Ikaemos was destroyed by their god's anger. To save his people from drowning, the Priest King froze his people in stone. The group find and negotiate the temple of Ikaemos, destroying the Priest King and obtaining the ring of Stone.
After a failed attempt by the Serpent Rider to kill the group, they return to Medeva to find Lenelle overrun by the Orenian forces, who were given access to the city by Sornehan. Locating Yago in the Old City, he instructs Rosalind and Jekhar to accompany the Queen to Iona for her safety, while Joseph and Flece travel to the temple of Urath. The pair arrive just as Belias is murdered by Murod' General Pijian and Sornehan crowned by a reluctant Hierophant. Joseph and Flece drive off the Tiger Rider and meet Yago in the Forge of Urath. Yago then instructs Joseph to wear all four rings and place his hand into the Forge to unite the rings. Despite Yago's guarantees that Joseph will not be harmed, his hand and the rings are destroyed - an act that frees the demons of Fire, Light and Stone. Yago reveals himself to be possessed by the demon of darkness, Machival. Machival advises Joseph that he accomplished this with the help of Flece and that he is now an Orenian prisoner.
Months later, Flece, realizing that she had been tricked by the demon of Darkness, travels to Orenia to locate Joseph. Flece discovers that Murod is using Orenian slaves to construct a replica of the legendary Tower of Eleh. Originally made by the Children of Ghuval to siege Khossos, Murod likewise wishes to storm heaven and become lord of all creation. Using her clandestine skills, Flece finds and frees Joseph from the tower. Flece and Joseph escape and flee to the lakeside village of Wolong and meet a local healer who states how Joseph's hand can be restored. After obtaining several minor aids, Joseph is told he must now seek and ingest a rare plant located in the caverns above Wolong, and then plunge his hand into a sacred underground pool.
They reunite with Rosalind who explains that there are in fact eight rings of summoning, and that the final four rings are in Orenia. Joseph, Flece and Rosalind journey ascend a mountain overlooking the village and enter the caverns. After defeating multiple foes they locate the plant required and find the healing pool, successfully restoring Joseph's hand and retrieving the Ring of Water. The trio return to Wolong, and after defeating General Pijian and his troops encounter Aoqi and her Jade Temple troops. Aoqi reveals that she is the missing daughter of Emperor Gaodi, who was usurped by Murod. During a royal visit to Medeva, Aoqi fell in love with King Belias and they had an illegitimate daughter, Sihua. Aoqi reveals the treachery of Queen Galienne, who ordered Sihua to be killed by Tancred. The thief, however, could not bring himself to murder the child and raised her as his own. The group then reunite with Jekhar, who forgives Joseph, gives him the Ring of the Four Winds and states they must now seek the Ring of the Forest.
The party then visit the forest of Liangshan, a now-poisoned wasteland that was once occupied until a battle between a demon and a dragon. After defeating the native Oni, the Phoenix and Serpent Riders and a small force of Murod's soldiers, Joseph claims the Ring of the Forest from a priest. The party return to the Jade Temple, defeat Murod's soldiers, the Ghost and Tiger Rider, and then fight an intense battle with the Emperor himself.
After defeating Murod and retrieving the Ring of Jade, Joseph and his companions return to Medeva, now devastated by the Four Demons. Prince Sornehan and Queen Galienne, using the power of the Nhuvasarim, now rule Lenele. Expecting Joseph and Flece, the pair and their allies are actually defeated by Rosalind and Jekhar. The party then return to Saanavarh, and after assisting the Khosani with several other missions use three of the newly forged Summoner rings to recapture the Demons of Fire, Light and Stone. Returning to Lenele, the party then confront and recapture Machival. Wearing all eight Summoner rings, Joseph then falls into the forge and is reborn as the god Urath. The threat ended, Flece becomes Empress of both Orenia and Medeva as Sihua, Rosalind and Yago return to Iona to rebuild the monastery and Jekhar remains to rebuild Medeva.
Joseph - The main Protagonist, Joseph is the titular summoner. Born with the Mark of the Summoner upon his hand, joseph has the power to summon monsters using ancient rings of summoning. He forsook this power at a young age when his attempt to save the village of Ciran from bandits resulted instead in it's destruction, but he is forced to take up the rings of summoning again when Orenian troops attack his home, seeking the one who bears the Mark.
Flece - Flece was brought up as an orphan in the "Old City" district of Lenele where crime was prevalent. She now works for Tancred, who has crowned himself "King of Fleas" and controls illicit commerce in Lenele. Later in the game, she is revealed to be the daughter of Princess Qifeng of Orenia, and King Bellias of Medeva, thus making her the heir to the thrones of both Orenia and Medeva. She appears once briefly in the sequel looking for Rosalind of Iona.
Rosalind - Estranged daughter of Yago. She is a novice of the Order of Iona, an order of monks dedicated to the study of Aosi, the "language of Creation." She originally joins Joseph's quest reluctantly by order of Abbot Laurent, but in the end is the one who compels Joseph to accept his destiny. She plays a minor but important part in the second game and seemingly appears to Maia, the sequel's main character in a dream sequence. Later Maia and her father, Yago, learn that she was consumed by the Destroyer of Eleh aided by its agent Krobelus. The Tempest takes her form and Rosalind is no more.
Jekhar - Joseph's childhood friend, Jekhar lost his family when Joseph destroyed Ciran. Now a soldier in the army of King Bellias VI, he hates his former friend with a passion and hopes to exact the vengeance he has longed for. However, he is ultimately ordered by King Bellias to aid Joseph in his quest, despite his protests.
Murod - formerly the leader of the society of the jade temple, Murod betrayed the emperor, murdered his family, and seized the throne of Orenia. Murod has enslaved his people in order to rebuild the tower of Eleh, a mythical construct that was supposedly used by the gods to conquer Urghal and murder Ghuval, their creator and the creator of the world. He invades Medeva in order to find and capture the summoner, hoping to prevent a prophecy from the jade temple that says a Summoner will defeat him.
Sornehan - Sornehan is a member of the royal family of medeva, a former novice of the Order of Iona, and the brother of King Bellias VI. As all of King Bellias' children have met with tragedy (tragedies that some believe Sornehan is responsible for), he is widely seen as one of the main contenders for the position of Bellias' heir, with his main competition being the Duke of Tarhimun. During the course of the game he aids the Orenians in their siege of Lenele and usurps the throne of Medeva.
Galiene - The Daughter of the previous Duke of Tarhimun, her marriage to King Bellias VI brought an end to the Medevan civil war of 577 Vorhno Medeva. Now the Queen of Medeva, she is revealed to have been one of Sornehan's allies and conspirators in the usurpation of the Medevan throne.
Pijian - Pijian is a General of the Orenian army, and is responsible for leading the siege and conquest of Lenele. He attempts to foil Joseph once he escapes from the Tower of Eleh.
Yago - A former monk of the order of Iona, Yago has made it his life's work to study the lore of the summoner. Eventually, he chose to leave the order, violating his vows so that he could find the Summoner and teach them how to use their powers. During the course of this journey, he fell in love and sired a daughter, Rosalind, only to later abandon them in order to resume his quest. He ultimately succeeded in finding the current Summoner, Joseph, in the village of Ciran and gave him the Ring of Darkness. After Joseph abandoned Yago and tossed the ring down a well, Yago travelled to Lenele, where he was met by Sornehan. Sornehan recognized Yago and gave him a home in the palace and a place of prominence as his adviser.
Four Riders - The Four Riders are beings of unknown origin who serve as Murod's most elite troops. They are speculated to be minions of Laharah who served her during the Second Araenugeth.
Four Demons - Creatures which have existed since the end of the Third Araenugeth, the four demons are responsible for many of the horrors of the Chaos of Ten Thousand Years. Each Demon is associated with some fundamental element, with Machival being the demon of darkness, Luminar the demon of Light, Titus the demon of stone, and Pyrul being the demon of fire. Each demon was imprisoned within a ring of Summoning in the waning years of the Chaos, and they are loosed again during the events of the game.
Four Dragons - Like the Demons, these creatures have existed since the end of the Third Araenugeth. They are the moral opposite of the demons, and during the Chaos of Ten Thousand Years they warred constantly against the demons and their abuses. They too were imprisoned in rings of Summoning during the waning years of the Chaos, but knowledge of them and the rings that imprisoned them was lost to the Khosani, the people who crafted the rings of summoning.
- After completing the game and viewing the credits, a computer animated version of the Dungeons and Dragons sketch titled "Summoner Geeks" plays automatically.
A sequel, Summoner 2, was released in 2002.
- Summoner for the PS2 received a 74 out of 100 from 16 different reviews at Metacritic.
- Summoner for Windows received a 78 out of a 100 from 14 different reviews at Metacritic.
THQ Bankruptcy and IP Acquisition
On December 19, 2012, THQ filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy  and its properties were auctioned off in individual lots. The Summoner franchise, among other THQ properties including Darksiders and Red Faction, were sold to Nordic Games. Nordic Games have subsequently re-branded and published Summoner to the Steam Digital Distribution Platform.
- "Summoner PS2 Reviews:". Retrieved 2007-10-15.
- "Summoner PC Reviews:". Retrieved 2007-10-15.
- "THQ Is Dead. Here’s Where Its Games Are Going:". Retrieved 2014-03-13.
- "THQ's franchises and studios to be auctioned off on a "title by title" basis:". Retrieved 2014-03-13.
- "Going once, going twice! Gearbox picks up Homeworld in THQ auction:". Retrieved 2014-03-13.
- "THQ auction results: Nordic Games takes Darksiders, Red Faction; 505 Games is Drawn to Life:". Retrieved 2014-03-13.
- "And Everything Else From THQ Went To… Nordic Games?:". Retrieved 2014-03-13.
- "Now Available on Steam - Summoner, 20% off!:". Retrieved 2014-03-13.
- "Steam Publishers - Nordic Games:". Retrieved 2014-03-13.