Twenty years ago today, gamers first arrived in a whole new online world of medieval fantasy as RuneScape, the iconic multiplayer living game, launched on 4th January 2001.
Two decades on, RuneScape has become one of the world’s longest-running online games, having been played non-stop for 7,306 consecutive days, welcomed almost 300 million player accounts, and is at peak popularity: in 2020 the RuneScape games hit a new record-high of subscribers with more than 1.2 million members joining the further millions of players who enjoy RuneScape for free.
To celebrate 20 years of RuneScape’s living online world and reward players, British game developer and publisher Jagex today announced a year-long programme of 20th anniversary-themed game content coming to both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape.
It all kicks off today with The Grand Party, an anniversary event in RuneScape that brings players together with some of the game’s most recognisable characters. The next 12 months will welcome a whole host of celebratory in-game content, including a multi-part anniversary questline that takes players deep into RuneScape’s past, present, and future. Plus, adventurers can enjoy a year-long epic story arc in which the Elder Gods, the beings who forged Gielinor, rise once again.
Old School RuneScape also joins in the revelry this week with the launch of its first anniversary event, which has players adventuring alongside the Green Gnome Child to do battle with demons and dragons of yore. Currently riding high having recently seen its highest-ever number of concurrent users top more than 173,000 players, 2021 will also be a significant year for Old School RuneScape with its arrival on Steam, new content including Clans and Group Ironman, and further anniversary-related game content across the year.
Delivering the opportunity to play across multiple platforms, RuneScape will also bring its open and ever-evolving world to mobile and tablet in this anniversary year with full launches for both iOS and Android. And for those who want to read the story of RuneScape’s 20-year evolution, ‘RuneScape: The First 20 Years – An Illustrated History’ will be published as an official companion book by Dark Horse Books.
Phil Mansell, Jagex CEO, said:
“20 years of RuneScape is a massive milestone for Jagex and the games, and I thank our players for being on this incredible journey with us, especially when the games are enjoying their best years ever – so far! RuneScape has come a long way since 2001 when it was launched by a small team of visionary game developers. It was innovative and ambitious right from the start in providing players with a free, always-on, role-playing game with a unique personality.
“Today the RuneScape games are a true Great British success story that has gone global. It has thrived for 20 years by embracing its heritage while also evolving with more than 1,000 game and content updates, making it a truly living game. As we continue to make the RuneScape universe more accessible to more players all over the world, we’ll celebrate throughout 2021 with one of the most content-rich years for the games ever and here’s to the next 20 years!”
While RuneScape has already received more than 1,000 game and content updates in its two decades, 2021 is packed with 20th anniversary excitement and much more for both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape.
- The Grand Party – The big birthday in-game event for RuneScape launches today. It brings players together with some of the most iconic characters from RuneScape’s history, such as the Wise Old Man and the Sandwich Lady, in Lumbridge Crater. Packed with plenty of anniversary references and memorable moments from the game’s past, The Grand Party also offers a generous helping of area buffs and collectable in-game rewards, including the 20th Anniversary Cape and Outfit.
- A multi-part 20th anniversary quest – Once Upon a Time is a new four-part 20th anniversary series that will run across the entire year as a celebratory romp through RuneScape’s past, present, and even provide a glimpse of its future. It begins on 25th January with the prologue called ‘Foreshadowing’, which sets the scene for the adventure to come.
- The epic Elder Gods story arc ignites throughout 2021 as the as the conflict with the legendary beings that created the universe intensifies.
- RuneScape launches on mobile – After a successful tenure in Early Access on Android and Closed Beta on iOS, players can look forward to RuneScape’s full launch on mobile and tablet devices in 2021. It delivers cross-platform play across mobile and desktop editions, enabling players to jump seamlessly between the two, taking their adventure anywhere.
- Old School RuneScape – RuneScape’s sister title begins its own year of anniversary content on 6th January with the Green Gnome Child Players team up with the Green Gnome Child on a trek through the original haunts of RuneScape to unlock the Realm of Memories and battle with demons and dragons, complete with rewards including a 20th Anniversary Cloak and a Gnome Child dedication for player-owned home chapels.
- Read all about it with ‘RuneScape: The First 20 Years–An Illustrated History’ – In partnership with Jagex, Dark Horse Books will publish RuneScape: The First 20 Years – An Illustrated History as a full-colour hardcover companion book in the second half of this year with pre-orders coming soon. Offering a look behind the scenes of the past two decades, the book explores the detailed tapestry of RuneScape and Old School RuneScape with hundreds of full-colour illustrations and exclusive interviews.
- Commemorative collectibles – Also in partnership with Jagex, Laced Records will release a special gold vinyl pressing of the ‘RuneScape: Original Soundtrack Classics’ album featuring 24 of the most-loved midi tracks from the early days of RuneScape and Old School RuneScape. Limited-edition collectibles will also be available, beginning with a Tutorial Island pin badge recognising where all players ventured forth from. With additional exclusives anniversary-themed items to be announced throughout the year, the album and the first collectibles are now available to pre-order on the RuneScape merch store.
Join the celebrations at The Grand Party in RuneScape today at https://www.runescape.com