Ultima Underworld brought the fantasy RPG kicking and screaming into a form we are more familiar with today. It offered players an open-world to explore, alongside three dimensional gameplay and the option for players to create their own story with this environment. It spawned what we think of as the classic RPG today, with games spawned from this lineage include such games as Bioshock and Skyrim. Now, some of the team are going to back to the world with Kickstarter project Underworld Ascendant.
A project which has already met its backing goal of $600,000, Underworld Ascendant promises prospective players the opportunity to be thrust into a fully realized 3D world with everything from bustling subterranean societies to monstrous ancient creatures being thrown into the mix. Okay so to some people out there, this is just sounding a little bit like an underground Skyrim? Well there’s something totally different that’ll set Underworld Ascendant apart from anything else. That would be its proprietary Improvisation Engine.
The engine, created for Underworld Ascendant, will allow players to approach any situation from the angle of their own choice while using whatever they’ve got at their disposal. An example offered by the Kickstarter page is that of a river which has become home to a terrible lurker (think of the creature from the Door of Durin in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring).
Now the player could try to swim past, being lead to their horrible and tentacle covered end. Or they could undertake a symphony in baiting often thrown towards us by most games as a way to pass safely. What you will be able to do with this Improvisation Engine though is create your own unique solutions. You could, as the page suggests, charm a nearby spider to carry you over. Or, if we assume the engine is ready to roll, command that spider to attack the lurker in a practice of futility. Or get that spider to web the lurker. Or get it to create an elaborate silk suspension bridge. Or mold it into a one man band spider, capable of killing the lurker with his rendition of The Proclaimer’s I Wanna Be (500 miles).
With this already interesting feature, the OtherSide Entertainment team will be bringing along a beautifully created 3D world (with probable VR support) and a bevy of other assets.
You can still get into the Kickstarter for Underworld Ascendant right now, as the lowest pledge to come with a copy of the title (expected November 2016) stands at a fairly inconsequential $25. Most will probably be interested in the Explorer Package, offering access to Underworld Ascendant in Alpha along with bonuses like a printable digital map and a copy of the game’s Making Of documentary. These obviously go up and up in price until you get to the staggering $10,000 pledge that’ll get you an invite to Underworld Ascendant‘s launch party and a special in-game house plus everything else.
No accommodation is included though, damn those package deals. They always find a way to sting you in the tail.
As far as stretch goals go, Underworld Ascendant has a spread big enough to satiate the hunger of any prospective Kickstarter investment. OtherSide will add a whole new area into the game if the project reaches $650,000. They’ll even commission celebrated writer Tracy Hickman to write a novel based upon the world at $700,000. Further stretch goals, each seperated at $50,000 intervals, include a whole new intelligent Lizardman race and further localizations. A goal any prospective buyer (us included) will have their sights set upon though is that if the project reaches a backing of $1,150,000, OtherSide Entertainment will add co-op play into Underworld Ascendant.
You’ll both be able to ride the spider over that pesky little lurker.
Does Underworld Ascendant grab your interest? Well the Kickstarter page will be up for another 6 days at the time of writing, closing at 13:54 GMT on March 6th. Let us know if you’re interested in the comments box below.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I want to add in my cash and get some intelligent Lizardmen to please our scaly skinned but hidden rulers.