Uru: Ages Beyond Myst
|Publishers||Ubisoft, Gametap, Cyan|
Windows: Nov 11, 2003 (NA)|
Windows: Nov 14, 2003 (EU)
|Genres||adventure, puzzle, massively multiplayer online game|
Uru is a spinoff of the Myst series, first released in 2003 as Uru: Ages Beyond Myst by original series developer Cyan. Unlike the rest of the Myst games, Uru is set in the present day, and chronicles the effort to rebuild the recently-rediscovered D'ni civilization buried deep beneath the New Mexico desert. The restoration effort is led by the D'ni Restoration Council, but explorers let into the underground cavern by Jeff Zandi find that Yeesha has her own plan to effect a more spiritual restoration.
Originally, Ages Beyond Myst was intended to be the standalone introduction to a Massively Multiplayer Online Game called Uru Live, which Cyan would support with regular content and story updates. It launched as an open beta called Uru Live: Prologue alongside the standalone Ages Beyond Myst release. Unfortunately, the game's publisher, UbiSoft, canceled the online game and shut down the Prologue servers in February of 2004. The remaining content that was already close to completion was repackaged as a set of two expansion packs: To D'ni and The Path of the Shell. To D'ni was released several weeks after the online game was shut down as a free download, and The Path of the Shell was released several months later as a retail purchase. A compendium edition, Uru: Complete Chronicles, included the original game and both expansions, and was released at the same time.
In 2006, video game subscription service GameTap approached Cyan to revive Uru Live, this time as Myst Online: Uru Live. The game launched in February of 2007, with new content rolling out each month. In May, GameTap and Cyan began to package these releases as "episodes" that would condense that month's story material into a one-week period in an effort to improve engagement. The September update was billed as the "Season 1 finale", after which no new content was released. After several months of silence, Cyan announced that GameTap had decided to cancel the game, and the servers were shut down in April of 2008.
In 2010, Cyan re-opened Myst Online: Uru Live as a free-to-play game commonly referred to as MOULa ("Myst Online: Uru Live, again"), and later open-sourced the game's engine. While several community-developed software updates have been applied since MOULa's launch, there has been no new content created by Cyan since the GameTap cancellation in 2008, and none is planned.
Uru Prime refers to the initial storyline of Uru, and the only one packaged in Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. It is so named ("prime" as in "first") because it was to become the first of many major story arcs in Uru Live. The The Path of the Shell storyline could be considered the second major arc.
As the content had not originally been intended for single-player use, adjustments had to be made to the storyline. These changes were undone when the content reappeared in Myst Online: Uru Live.
To D'ni is the first of two expansion packs for Ages Beyond Myst. It makes some parts of the City available online, including the Bevin and Kirel neighborhoods and the Great Zero and wraps them in a DRC-related storyline. At its end, it also shows a glimpse of the Great Shaft.
The To D'ni expansion pack was originally released on March 22, 2004 as a free download from Gigex.com shortly after the demise of Prologue, and was later included in with the Uru: The Path of the Shell expansion pack, and in the Myst Uru: Complete Chronicles bundle.
All locations released in the To D'ni expansion pack are available in Myst Online: Uru Live.
The Path of the Shell
The Path of the Shell (typically abbreviated TPotS) is the second and final expansion pack for Uru, released on July 7, 2004. It was available through paid download as well as bundled together with Ages Beyond Myst and To D'ni in Uru: Complete Chronicles.
Its tagline, "the gathered will tell the path of the shell" was central to an Internet grassroots campaign both from fans as well as several Cyan employees, as publisher Ubisoft had reserved virtually no marketing budget for the product.
The Path of the Shell features a slightly revised codebase, supporting an increased list of graphics cards, especially some additional Intel integrated chipsets.
Complete Chronicles combines Ages Beyond Myst and the expansion packs To D'ni and The Path of the Shell. It is essentially a re-release of the Ages Beyond Myst box, with both expansion packs integrated. Released on July 7, 2004, shortly before Myst IV: Revelation, it was given little exposure or marketing, with virtually no advertising.
Like in the expansion packs, references of the cancelled Prologue online component have been removed.
The included Ages (not including different parts of Ae'gura) are: Cleft, Relto, Gahreesen, Teledahn, Kadish Tolesa, Eder Gira, Eder Kemo, Ae'gura, Bevin, Nexus, Watcher's Sanctuary, Er'cana, Ahnonay Cathedral, Ahnonay, Myst Library and K'veer.