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Uru: Ages Beyond Myst
Preview by Philip Roland
Developer: Cyan Worlds
Publisher: Ubi Soft
# of Players: Unlimited
Genre: Adventure
ESRB: Rating Pending
Online: Yes
Est. Release: Q3 2003
Date Posted: 5-22-03

Myst was one of the most successful PC games of all time, and now it seems that there's an MMO Myst title on the way. Pretty much the basis of Myst, however, was that it was a mental game, a game centered on solving puzzles. So essentially, an MMO game based on the Myst series would result in a large group of people trying to solve puzzles together. It leads one to question whether this concept could actually work online or not. For example, will puzzle solving with a large number of people work as well as with only one person, or a few people? Will people have the patience to work with other gamers to solve the puzzles? At the moment I'm not sure.

Basically, what we know about Uru is this. It will contain both a single player mode and a massive multiplayer online mode. The single player mode will be fully featured and in the style of the original Myst games. It's great to see a new Myst game that's not a re-release of the original, and this single player mode will probably be enough in itself to buy Uru. That's great and all, but what about this online multiplayer mode? That's where the big questions begin to come up.

Like I said, after hearing about Uru it leaves a person wondering if all of this will work very well, or if it's really necessary. The million dollar question is, does such a concept warrant having an MMO world to put it into action? Could this be accomplished using other tactics, such as merely releasing expansion packs with new puzzles and Ages to explore? Expansion packs are the deal of the day, with a slew of them released for many different games. If the main selling point of Uru is the open ended nature of the game, with endless Ages to traverse and countless puzzles to solve, then all of that could be taken care of with regularly released expansion packs. As for the community aspect of it, that could be achieved through message boards, a chat room, and/or a web site dedicated to bringing the Uru-playing gamers together. The whole community element could be introduced, and without having to pay a monthly fee to experience it.

Despite the nagging questions surrounding Uru, it has great promise. If it's goal is to create an online world representative of Myst, surreal and immersive, then it should suceed. It's just that I'm still not sure how the premise is going to shape up, and if the online mode is going to be worth the monthly price one will have to pay.

-- Philip Roland is still looking for the 'Free Food Age'.

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