|Original Release Date||Publishers||Designers||Composers||Platforms||Storage Method||Game In Series|
|November 11, 2003||Cyan Worlds, Ubisoft||Cyan Worlds||Tim Larkin||Windows||CD-ROM||Spin-Off|
|Original Technical Specifications for Windows||Processor||Operating System||Hard Drive Space||RAM||CD-ROM||Graphics||Sound||Other|
|800 MHz Pentium III or faster||Windows 98 SE or higher||2 GB||256 MB RAM||4x||32 MB video card (nVidia GeForce 1 or better, ATi Radeon 7000 series or better)||Microsoft DirectX 8.1 compatible or better (EAX 3.0 recommended)||DirectX 8.1|
There are no technical specifications for the Macintosh because Uru: Ages Beyond Myst was never released for Macintosh OS.
While Myst III: Exile was busily being programmed, shot, and edited, Cyan Worlds had its hands full with yet another game. This one, they decided, would be called Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, and it would be a spinoff of the Myst universe, dealing more with the D’ni and their history rather than Atrus’ story. Moreover, the player would play themselves with the aid of an animated avatar and with it explore new ages. The game was set in the present day, meaning that all of the events of Myst became set in the past and that the player, despite what Cyan Worlds had claimed to begin with, was not the mysterious stranger that helped Atrus. This once again divided Myst fans into two more camps – the older fans, who clung stubbornly to the idea that they themselves were the Stranger, and the newly-formed Explorers, who believed that their characters were in an entirely different boat from the stranger or even descendants of him or her. Older Myst fans developed myriad ways to make themselves the Stranger and yet still fit with the series’ new timeline, while yet others saw the Uru universe as an alternate branch of the Myst universe proper. Still others embraced the idea of a group of Explorers looking at the ruins of D’ni, but insisted that the events of Myst took place in the present day as well. The varying beliefs caused an unbelievable amount of confusion in the fandom, resulting in even more of a conflict than Exile’s controversial developing choice had caused.
Uru was a far different story than that of the Myst series. In Uru, the player arrives at a place in New Mexico called The Cleft (This was Atrus' childhood home and also the area where an entrance into the city of D'ni supposedly is), seemingly called to go there by a mysterious force. In the meantime, a group called the DRC or the D'ni Restoration Council, has reopened the path to the D'ni cavern and is exploring the city. The player soon encounters an archaeologist named Jeff Zandi who invites them to explore the city for themselves; later the player meets a much older Yeesha (A young woman in this game) who explains what happened to the D'ni and asks the player to help rebuild the city. The player then must find and activate seven Journey Cloths which open up a link to an age called Relto, which becomes the player's home age. The plot is unresolved at the end, but continues through the two expansion packs and the online game. Uru also introduces us to the Bahro, a race of sentient creatures with strange powers, including the ability to link to any Age at will. Their story is continued in Myst V: End of Ages and Myst Online: Uru Live.
The game began development after Cyan finished Riven. It was first codenamed DIRT (D'ni In Real Time), then codenamed MUDPIE (Multi-User DIRT, Persistant Interactive Exploration) before the title was announced officially as Myst Online. Cyan Worlds later renamed the game to Uru, from an ancient Sumerian word meaning 'city'. Interestingly enough, the word also has a homophone in Sumerian that means 'deep' - thus the title of the game means "Deep City". RAWA also added the word ooroo, which means 'community', to the D'ni lexicon in order to answer fan questions of what the title meant. Rand Miller considered Uru a very different experience from Myst and not an RPG in the normal sense, saying that "there is not leveling and skills and monsters and experience in any artificial sense. The 'leveling' is finding and exploring and owning new Ages that are released regularly; the experience is what you really learn while exploring that will help you later—not points on a scale." Uru was released as planned, but the online componant was delayed. A beta was released, and fans and journalists alike were allowed to come join in and playtest the game, but the game never came to be and was soon cancelled.
Meanwhile, many of the Uru Live beta testers were
allowed to keep their servers, called shards, running so that fans could still
play some sort of version of Uru. The endeavor was called Untìl
Uru. No new content was released suring this time; the shards were merely
places that the fans could socialize. Cyan Worlds did open an official shard
of their own, called D'mala, but it was an invitation-only shard. The future
for Uru Live seemed bleak, but then in April 2006, Gametap announced
that it was relaunching Uru Live as Myst Online: Uru Live.
The game went live in February 2007 and was a success - for a while. In February
2008, Gametap announced that the game was going offline for good in April.
Cyan Worlds did manage to reacquire the rights to the game and had planned
to relaunch the game as MORE, or Myst Online: Restoration Experiment,
but this also failed and Cyan Worlds handed the codes for Uru Live
over to its fans as an Open-Source project.
The single-player Uru: Ages Beyond Myst was very different from the gameplay of the Myst series. Where Myst had a first-person perspective, Uru had a third-person one. Where Myst was pre-rendered, Uru was in real time. Where Myst had a save function, Uru instead had save points, called Journey Cloths, to mark their progress in the game. Uru also allowed for avatar customization - for the first time, players could feel like it really was a graphical representation of themselves roaming the Ages instead of a faceless, genderless stranger. Some things, however, such as Myst’s inability to kill the player, was kept. Even if the player fell off a cliff, their avatar would automatically 'panic-link' back to their Relto rather than kill the player. The game had a plot that answered questions that Myst fans had been asking since the game began - Who were the D’ni? What was their culture like? What did their famous city look like? - making the game very popular with Myst fans and a small cult following of gamers, but relatively unpopular with the regular gaming crowd. This failure caused Cyan Worlds some very serious financial problems.
At this point, Cyan Worlds still had unused content meant for Uru Live sitting on their computers. This was bundled into two expansion packs - Uru: To D'ni and Uru: The Path of the Shell. The first, To D’ni, released the unseen Uru Live content and was available for online download, focusing on expanding the past of the D’ni. The second, Uru: The Path of the Shell, was released in stores and expanded the Uru universe proper, adding new never-before-seen ages and a few more new features. Myst and Uru fans were pleased, but this unfortunately did not help the ailing Cyan Worlds. Unlike its famous sibling series, the Uru franchise came in like a lamb, selling only 450,000 units compared to the Myst series’ millions. This poor selling point eventually drove Cyan Worlds to lay off all but the barest bones of its employees due to a lack of finances.
If you need help with Uru, I’ve provided two links to walkthroughs. Please note that this does not cover the no longer existent Uru Live. One is a low-spoiler walkthrough from the Universal Hint System. The other is a full walkthrough. As with the walkthrough links I’ve provided for other games, I highly recommend the UHS walkthrough and not the full walkthrough, as the UHS walkthrough gives clues away gradually. It may be frustrating now, but trust me – finishing it yourself if a lot more rewarding than using a walkthrough the whole time. I’ve also included links to UHS’s To D’ni and Path of the Shell walkthroughs, just in case you need those as well.