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Arx Fatalis XBox Developer Diary part 4: Changes in the Xbox version
Sia' Garrett' Manzari, 2003-10-22

Arx Fatalis is a 3D first person dungeon crawler RPG by Arkane Studios, which has been released for PC last year and is currently in the process of being ported to the XBox. In this monthly series of developer diaries by Arkane Studios we will get to know about this process...enjoy the fourth entry:

Alright! The game is nearly finished! It is totally crash free and running very smoothly.

This Dev Diary will be a bit special. We'll try to have a look back on what we have changed on our final version of Arx Fatalis XBOX, since the PC release, and we'll talk about design choices.

Let's have a look to our final interface.

Combat Mode/Action Mode

One of the problems with Arx PC was the way you had to switch between combat mode and action mode. You couldn't open a door while fighting; you couldn't use an object while fighting, etc... It was a bit confusing.
We've redesigned Arx interface to fix this problem.
Now you won't have to worry about the mode you're in. While in combat, you can still open doors, use objects from your inventory thanks to the new inventory ring we've added, etc... It makes the gameplay more fluid.

The inventory:

Many players told us the inventory was too small and it was quickly filled by the beginning of the game. So we've decided to remove the additional bags concept. You won't have to find or buy bags to expand your inventory. From the beginning of the game, you'll have a bigger inventory so you won't have to sort your objects every five minutes.

The shortcuts:

On PC, we had a shortcut for the mana and the life potion, to use them quickly during battle. To make this function more customizable, you can now set two shortcuts on any of your objects. For instance, while in the crypt, set a shortcut for the wooden stakes. Then, when you come across a zombie, just direct the crosshairs over the corpse and press the shortcut to hit the zombie directly. This function prevents you from losing time searching an object in your inventory.

Object combination:

Once more, to make the game easier and friendly, we've changed the way the combination of objects works in the game. First of all you have an inventory ring you can access at any time, even while in combat, in addition to the main inventory screen.
Now, when your crosshair is over an object, open your inventory ring. It will directly open on one of the objects which can be combined with the object your crosshair is focused on.

For instance, if you have your crosshair centered over a door, open your inventory ring to have it automatically select the key to open this door.

The spell system:

As explained in previous articles, the magic system has been tweaked in order to replace the mouse with the Xbox directional pad. But, in order to make the game customizable, and to let gamers play it as they'd like to, we've also added an instant "Arcade Magic" mode. Just press X and you'll be able to choose which spell you'd like to cast without doing the runes combos.
Nevertheless, to reward players who will use the original magic mode, the original mode will give them access to secret spells which can be only cast by doing runes combos with the directional pad.


Many players told us they were lost at some points in the game. So we've added some speeches and log book entries to give clearer directions about the quest, about what you must do next. We hope this will prevent gamers from asking themselves "What am I supposed to do now?" and will let them have fun and only fun.

Gameplay Hints

Gamers who have played the original Arx will note some other miscellaneous additions to the game. First of all we have added hints on the loading screens. Arx Fatalis is full of details and nice scripted situations. But through different forums, we have realized most of these things have not been seen by the gamers.

When we had scripted this situations and funny interactions, we wanted to keep them kind of secret and let the player discover them on their own. But the fact is: most of the gamers simply didn't know they could do it. So this time to be sure nobody will miss anything, we've added hints on the loading screens. We hope even PC players who will replay the games will discover interesting and funny things they haven't done or seen yet.
For instance, cast a fireball on a chicken to get a roasted chicken, use "ignite spell" after a fireball to make it bigger etc..

On the art side, the levels maps of the games have been also totally re-drawn and they are really nice now :)


Another thing we noted when reading players feedback on Arx PC, is that some monsters were definitively too hard to beat. When playing a game it's really not fun to die ten times fighting the same creature. So we've checked all of our monsters, and we've made the deadly ones a bit weaker. And, to be sure the game won't be too hard for anybody we have also added a difficulty option to lower NPCs stats (damage, armor, hit points etc)

Also, many players reported us they've finished the game with more than 10.000 gold coins. At the end, the fact is it may not have been really challenging to buy new objects. So we have lowered the amount of money you get by reselling items. You will still earn gold by doing this but less than with the original version, which makes the game more challenging regarding gold and items buying.

In addition, also enjoy these 7 brandnew screenshots

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Average Reader Ratings: 7.63 (8 votes)
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