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Thread: Underworld Ascendant (PC)

  1. Underworld Ascendant (PC)

    So you might remember last year, a new developer formed by Looking Glass and Irrational veterans including Paul Neurath and Tim Stellmach, announced that they had gotten the Ultima Underworld license (minus the "Ultima" name), and did a Kickstarter to raise part of the development funds. You also probably ignored that Kickstarter, because all they had to show at the time were some very rough, very ugly prototype clips. But a lot has happened since then.

    They've made some high-profile new hires since then, namely Warren Spector, who needs no introduction, and Nate Wells, the art director of BioShock and Last of Us. The latter has immediately put his stamp on the game, creating an entirely new look, based on the "imperfect" art of classic pen-and-paper and tabletop role-playing games of the '70s and '80s, that would look "hand-made." It's an interesting concept and it's starting to pay off.

    There are also a lot of really ambitious gameplay ideas developing. Games like Dishonored and Mirror's Edge seem to be big influences, and there's a lot of interest in traversal mechanics as abilities, letting properly leveled players do things like wall-run, double jump, etc.

    The classic idea of the game scenarios as complex simulations rather than discrete puzzles is being taken to a ridiculous level in this game, too. Traps are made of individual mechanical parts, rather than scripted animations, and different materials have different properties, allowing the player a huge range of ways to deal with even mundane dungeon traps. They claim to have recorded dozens of ways to complete some of the game's challenges, many of which they never anticipated.

    This is shaping up a lot better than I anticipated, and I'm now genuinely excited to see how it shapes up. There's a new prototype coming this month (the first prototype was way too early/rough to get a sense of anything).

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  2. Those screens are awful and it sounds like it's going to be a janky mess.

    But here's hoping it isn't!

  3. I really like the art style. It's a reaction against the grim, gritty realism of modern fantasy games, which becomes even worse in an underground dungeon setting like the Abyss, where things turn into a sea of gray and brown. This looks colorful and fun, without being overly cartoony. Maybe not technically impressive (Unity engine, w/e. Makes sense when you need rapid prototyping/iteration), but the style is fantastic.

    Jank is a matter of polish time in games like this. I think they have some outside funding in addition to the KS money since they're staffing up and also working on System Shock 3, so hopefully that's not an issue.
    Last edited by Frogacuda; 05 Apr 2016 at 03:35 PM.

  4. I like the artstyle. Obviously a work in a progress, but like frog said, something like this can easily become grey and brown town if you are going for too much realism.

  5. Underworld Ascendant (PC)

    Art looks rough but I see where they are going. I like it. Hope they can get it done.

  6. It's come a really long way in a short time. This was an ugly mess when the Kickstarter launched, and the first proto they put out was a bunch of clunky whitebox garbage that you couldn't glean much from, but now I feel like it's coming together and I'm getting more excited. Got a $5 backerkit credit from another KS and used it to get prototype access so when the new proto hits later this month I'll post impressions.

  7. #7
    I really like the potential of art style. It looks like old D&D covers and pencil sketches brought to 3D. I'd definitely like to see how creatures other than spooky skeletons look in it.

    I'm a little worried about the idea of breaking down objects into individual mechanical parts, though. There are a bajillion things that can go wrong with game physics through no fault of the designers or the players, and the chances increase for every item that has to behave properly.

  8. The new prototype is going out to backers this week, and is being shown at PAX. IGN has footage and interviews

    It's still very early, but it looks miles better than the one that came out this past winter. There's a sense of the art direction now, and it looks a lot more playable.

    EDIT:

    Last edited by Frogacuda; 28 Apr 2016 at 10:11 PM.

  9. Are you a vampire or a werewolf in this?

  10. You're Ultima Avatar Guy/Girl, same as every Ultima.

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