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Advent Rising is an action-adventure third-person shooter video game developed by GlyphX Games and published by Majesco Entertainment. The game was released on May 31, 2005 for Xbox and on August 9, 2005 for Microsoft Windows. Its story was created by Donald and Geremy Mustard and featured a script written by science fiction writers Orson Scott Card and Cameron Dayton; the full orchestral soundtrack was done by Tommy Tallarico and Emmanuel Fratianni. As of September 14, 2006, Steam began offering Advent Rising for download.
Demiurge Studios (Xbox memory optimization)
|Writer(s)||Orson Scott Card|
Michael Richard Plowman
|Engine||Unreal Engine 2|
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, third-person shooter|
Much-hyped Advent Rising was the first in a planned trilogy which also saw the development of a game that would take place alongside Advent Rising, called Advent Shadow for the PSP. Despite a large advertising campaign including promotion in cinemas, the game's retail performance fell far short of expectations. By the end of 2005, Majesco had completely revised its business plan to focus towards handheld games and canceled plans for future Advent Rising games.
A five-issue spin-off comic book series was produced and ran from October 2005 to November 2006. Plans for novel tie-ins by Orson Scott Card never came to fruition. In June 2006, Donald Mustard posted a statement on the website of his new venture, Chair Entertainment, stating that he "would be happy to finish the Advent series if the opportunity presented itself", but confirmed he does not currently hold the rights to do so.
The game begins with Gideon Wyeth; the protagonist, escorting a group of human ambassadors from a space station to a meeting with an alien race called the Aurelians. At the meeting, the Aurelians tell the humans that they view them as gods and then warn them of another race of aliens called the Seekers who intend to destroy all humanity. Shortly thereafter, the space station is attacked by the Seekers. Gideon manages to board an escape pod and lands on the planet Edumea below.
On the planet, Gideon aids the Marines in their battle against the Seekers, but soon learns that the planet will shortly be destroyed by a meteor shower. The planet is evacuated, and Gideon accepts an invitation from the Aurelians to board their ship. After learning that humans have untapped mystical powers, he begins training with the Aurelians.
As Gideon is training, the ship is attacked by the Seekers. Gideon and some of the Aurelians evacuate to the Seeker vessel, though it is on a crash course with the Aurelian homeworld. Gideon and the remaining Aurelians find the planet overrun by Seekers. After liberating the planet, they travel to the Galactic Council to seek their help in combating the Seeker assault on humanity.
When the Council calls the Seekers to explain themselves, a being materializes in the Council chambers claiming to be a “true” human and a god. The being, a Koroem, takes full responsibility for the human genocide and claims that it ordered the Seekers to exterminate humanity because they were physically imitating the Koroem.
A battle ensues after the Koroem wounds one of the Aurelians, but it is ultimately killed when Gideon uses a previously unknown mystical ability. This opens a portal that Gideon is dragged into. He finds himself on an ice planet, where a horned creature dubbed "The Stranger" appears and says, "Come with me, human. There is much to be done." It then beckons Gideon to follow.
- Gideon Wyeth (voiced by Will Friedle) — The main character of the game. He is a member of one of the last human outposts.
- Ethan Wyeth — Gideon's hotshot older brother. Because of his celebrity following the Independence Wars, he is assigned the role of pilot for the mission of first contact with the Aurelians. He used his connections to instate Gideon as his co-pilot.
- Olivia Morgan (voiced by Vanessa Marshall) — Gideon's fiancé, a scientist assigned to Luriam space station.
- Marin Steel — A decorated pilot from the Independence Wars, she encounters Gideon as he attempts to escape Bahr Han on her ship. She is captured by the Seekers and unsuccessfully imprisoned on the island of Teran, having developed her own psychic powers.
- Kelehm Farwaters (voiced by Dwight Schultz) — A ninth-tier Garhgon (an Aurelian religious caste), he has trained himself in the telekinetic arts. Kelehm belongs to "the old faith" which states that the discovery of humans is part of a prophecy and the Aurelians will gain greater psychic power through them.
- Enorym Tenspur (voiced by Michael Bell) — Ally to Gideon and the most highly trained of the Aurelian elite fighters, Enorym serves as a commander of the elite Felidic warriors. Enorym leads an assault on a Seeker ship shortly after Gideon learns how to use his psychic powers.
- Bud - A troublemaking Marine that starts a bar fight with Gideon and later challenges him and Ethan to a training match. After losing, Bud fires a blaster at Ethan. The player then has the choice of either using a stungun to disable Bud or picking up a blaster and killing him, which determines whether his squadmates help you or abandon you in a later gameplay segment.
- K'Chell — A Seeker ambassador who interrupts the planetary ruling council and demands that the Aurelians hand over Gideon and Marin. When Kelehm refuses, K'Chell kills him, then escapes to the ansible to inform the Seeker armada.
- Sevan — A council member on Aurelia, he leads a rebellion to give the humans to the Seekers and avoid retaliation. After staging a coup, he co-opts the council, gives Marin to the Seekers, and puts Enorym on trial for treason.
- Banath — Originally serving as Enorym's best warrior, he is revealed to be a double agent for Sevan. Having planted a Seeker ambush inside the ansible, Banath becomes visibly angry after Enorym orders him to escort Marin back to the Aurelian capital. He returns with a dropship manned by other rebels after giving Marin to the Seekers and announces his betrayal by killing one of Enorym's warriors. Gideon kills Banath shortly after Enorym is put on trial.
|Advent Rising Original Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by|
June 28, 2005
|Genre||Video game soundtrack|
|Label||Sumthing Else Music Works|
The Advent Rising Soundtrack of the game was released on June 28, 2005, under record label Sumthing Else Music Works. The music was composed by Emmanuel Fratianni and Michael Richard Plowman, whilst the additional music and orchestrations were performed by Laurie Robinson and Tommy Tallarico.
|5.||"Greater Lights (feat. Charlotte Martin)"||3:52|
|9.||"The Rise Of Aurelia"||2:01|
|10.||"Edumeas Last Stand"||2:04|
|12.||"The Aurelian Movement"||2:21|
|14.||"The Human Movement"||2:09|
|17.||"Midst Of The N'Kul"||0:34|
|19.||"Fiery Arrival On Aurelia"||0:55|
|22.||"Mastery Of Self"||2:20|
|23.||"Return To Humanity"||2:16|
|24.||"The Seeker Movement"||2:09|
|27.||"Greater Lights (Jay-J's Shifted UP Mix)"||3:58|
The game's overall story was created by Donald and Geremy Mustard. The dialog and screenplay, however, was written by Orson Scott Card and Cameron Dayton. Card's influences are noticeable in the terminology which has been carried over from Ender's Game. The terms "vids", "Buggers", and "ansible" are all references from his critically acclaimed novels (though the term ansible was coined by Ursula K. Le Guin, and was not actually added to the script by Card himself, but by Donald Mustard).
Following its Xbox release, Advent Rising received mixed reviews from critics whose scores ranged from a high of 4.5 out of 5 (GamePro) to a low of 5 out of 10 (EGM). Reviewer scores averaged at a 68 on both GameRankings and Metacritic, while user scores averaged at 7.5. The most common complaints were the large number of bugs which caused a range of problems including freezing. Another common complaint regarded the difficulty in using the flick targeting system.
Advent Rising's visual design choice was noted by several reviewers, pointing out that the characters all appear fairly elongated, although it has been said that this was a deliberate stylistic choice.
Upon the release of the PC version of the game a month after the Xbox counterpart, Advent Rising was slightly better received, earning a 72 on GameRankings, a 70 on Metacritic, and an 81 on Venting Gamer with user scores averaging at 82. Many reviewers felt that the month long delay had been put to good use as many of the glitches in the Xbox version had been fixed. Framerate was also improved, with slowdowns becoming rarer. A free copy of the PC version was included on the DVD release of the 2007 Uwe Boll film Seed.
A million dollars was offered in a contest via Xbox Live for the first player to find a set of hidden symbols spread throughout the levels of the game. On August 15, 2005, the contest was cancelled, due to concerns that there was "no technically feasible solution that would allow the contest to continue in a fair and secure manner". Majesco offered, as compensation to those players, the choice of two free games (BloodRayne 2, Guilty Gear X2, Psychonauts, Raze's Hell, and/or Phantom Dust) and an apology on its home page.
An avid comics fan, game creator Donald Mustard originally realized the story of Advent Rising in hand-drawn comic books. He revealed in a 2005 interview: "With Advent, from day one, we conceived it initially as a comic book itself. Back when I was getting out of high school, we were laying the foundation for Advent. I drew the first several hours of what would ultimately become the game as a comic book." The release of the Advent Rising game was supported by a promotional one-shot comic book produced by DC Comics. The comic was written by Lee Hammock and drawn by Billy Dallas Patton as a direct tie-in to the action of the game. It was inserted free of charge within a handful of comic books published by DC.
Another comic book, this time a series, grew out of the partnership between Majesco Entertainment and 360ep, a young entertainment properties management concern founded by former Marvel Comics CEO Bill Jemas. The new comic series, Advent Rising: Rock the Planet, was written by Rob Worley, with layouts by Arthur Dela Cruz, pencils by Cliff Richards, inks by Dennis Crisostomo, colors by Cris Delara, and letters by Simon Bowland. The comic was produced with oversight by Mustard and Jemas. This new series begins the franchise some ten years before the events of the game. It follows the adventures of Gideon, Ethan, and Olivia in their formative, teenage years. The first issue was published on October 26, 2005. The fifth and final issue was released on November 22, 2006.
It followed the story of Marin Steel, a mercenary pilot thrust into a saga of intergalactic proportions. In the midst of extracting herself from a hostile negotiation, Marin is interrupted by a planetary invasion led by monstrous aliens bent on human genocide. In her efforts to escape the dying world, she encounters young Gideon Wyeth, the protagonist of Advent Rising, and together they find themselves swept up in a massive struggle against dire forces bent on the destruction of humanity.
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