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Underworld Ascendant

In the best news I have seen in quite some time, today I read that Paul Neurath, creative director for the first game from what became Looking Glass Studios -- Ultima Underworld -- has built a new studio, OtherSide Entertainment, to develop a new Underworld game.

Details on this new game, called Underworld Ascension, are basically non-existent at this point. No matter. Neurath and some of the original UU team are putting the band back together. If they release a new album, I will buy it. (Assuming they don't go mad by doing it as some bizarro console or F2P thing.)

If you didn't play Ultima Underworld, it will look crude by today's standards. But it was not just the first real 1st-person 3D texture-mapped dungeon crawler (predating Wolfenstein 3D); it put all those things together with such depth that it really was the first visually immersive gameworld. It was the first time I ever realized I was physically leaning as I raced my character around a corner to escape an ambush. It had puzzles (physical and systemic); it had action; it had humor. It had an invented language for you to figure out if you preferred non-violent solutions to some challenges!

I don't know if that level of innovation is possible again. But I am eager to learn more.

Here, have some testimonials:
Richard Garriott, Creative Director, Portalarium: “For those of us lifelong gamers that go back to the early days the Underworld franchise, created by Paul Neurath, represents a watershed event on what an immersive 3D true role-playing game can be like. In these days, where we are seeing many of these greats return, I personally am as excited about Underworld as any game I can imagine.“

Ken Levine, Creative Director, Irrational Games: "Underworld had a transformative effect on my understanding of what games were. It was the first time I ever felt "inside" of an imaginary world. It was the game that primed all of my creative ambitions."

Chris Roberts, Chairman, Roberts Space Industries: “Ultima Underworld was truly revolutionary for its time – it was the first fully 3D textured first person game. As such it influenced pretty much all first person 3D games that came afterwards and could be truly called the granddaddy of first person Role Paying Games.“

Warren Spector, Director, Denius-Sams Gaming Academy: “As Producer on the original Ultima Underworld games, I'll never forget the first time I saw a working prototype of the game – I felt as if the world had just changed. As the first fully-textured, real-time, first-person game, Underworld paved the way for every other first-person game that followed. If that doesn't qualify as ‘changing the world’, I don't know what does!”

Re: Underworld Ascension

Rats you beat me to it Flatfingers. I was just going to make a post about this. :D
Ultima Underworld was my first step into the Ultima franchise. I wasn't too keen on playing the other Ultimas. Their top down perspective just seemed too arcady I guess. Unlike the Bard's Tale, UU was the 1st true 3D realtime RPG. IIRC it even predates TES: Arena. I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for this.

I've been looking for a good RPG to play waiting for TW3. I tried the 2 day demo of KoA: TR. Combat is great but quests are meh.
"Exploration and discovery is not an option we choose—it is a desire written in the human heart. We are that part of creation which seeks to understand all creation."
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Re: Underworld Ascension

Ohmygosh, as it were. I am well beyond excited for this. I legitimately jumped up from my chair and startled both myself and somebody else, and I think I got stabbed with a pencil.

Ultima Underworld, both 1 & 2, are in the very small list of games that I have memorized. I used to speedrun UU1 for fun.

One of the only games to tide people over until the next Underworld game is Arx Fatalis. It was pretty good. A bit lacking in music and UI, but it was pretty darn good, I guess.
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Re: Underworld Ascension

Arx Fatalis, for those who haven't had the pleasure of playing it, is another dungeon crawler type game that got made through the force of will of one Raphael Colantonio, head of Arkane Studios... now owned by Zenimax, and who recently gave us Dishonored. (In between these two they made Dark Messiah of Might & Magic, which had perhaps the best "kick enemies off the cliff" mechanic in any game ever. Enjoy the series of videos Ubisoft put together showing the multiple ways of dealing damage to poor goblins like Kevin.)

Arx Fatalis was a bit rough in spots, definitely. The voice acting is... well. Two Worlds-quality, let's say. :)

On the other hand, the game design is really not bad; the writing is good in places; there's a nice "combine items for new effects" mechanic; and it had this quirky magic system in which you use the mouse to draw icons for spell syllables on the screen. Here, have a video of how the game starts.

And then rejoice with us in a new Underworld sequel. :)

Re: Underworld Ascension

Arx Fatalis. I may have to give it a go. :thumbup:

Dark Messiah is still on my HDD though I haven't played it in a while. I think I used the "sneak and kick" routine to "impale enemy into the conveniently placed bed of spikes" or "kick enemy off the ledge" trick probably more than I did regular combat! That rope bow! :D I'd fire it where ever I could get the arrow to stick up high just to see where I could climb to and explore alternate routes. That was a fun and challenging game. I've played it so many times trying out all the different combos of classes.

Here's a bit you may not have noticed in game. I only noticed when I took a break and left the game running. If you meet up with Leanna, after fighting the Cao Pai... Pao Kai :mrgreen: , at the entrance to the Necropolis. Just wait. She'll start humming the theme of Harry Potter! :lol:

There's a new game in the works, I can't find the link to a video, that reminded me of a mix of Thief, Dark Messiah, and Assassin's Creed. Where you play as a Goblin. Crap my memory is failing me on the name. I'll try and backtrack my steps to see where I found it.

Ah Ha! Here it is... Styx, Master of Shadows
"Exploration and discovery is not an option we choose—it is a desire written in the human heart. We are that part of creation which seeks to understand all creation."
My KSP Videos

Re: Underworld Ascendant

Oh, boy. Oh, boy.

There's been some news about Underworld Ascendant, the new game -- after 23 long years -- in the Underworld saga from Otherside Entertainment.

PC Games N had a great interview with Paul Neurath, the guiding force behind the original two Underworld games from Looking Glass Studios. Here are a couple of his more interesting comments (although the whole thing's worth reading):
Neurath draws a line between the possibilities of playstyle offered by a game like Dishonored and the moment-to-moment decisions players will make in Underworld Ascendant.

"At any given time, you can try different things out. The world doesn't turn into a stealth game or a fighter game -- the world is the world," he said. "The NPCs might know that you did a bunch of stealth and they might respond, but when you come to a new encounter, you use whatever tools you want to use. It's much more open-ended, much more sandbox."
Among Otherside's number are veterans of not just the original Underworld but System Shock and Thief -- as well as Looking Glass devotees who worked on Deus Ex, and concept artists from BioShock Infinite.

"We did a quick add-up and the tally was over two billion dollars worth of games we've developed and some thousands of Game of the Year awards," said Neurath. "So we've got a team that can do it."
And now, the even better news: word has come that this game will get a Kickstarter project starting on February 4, 2015.

O magical +5 Wallet of Kickstartering, I summon thee!

Re: Underworld Ascension

Do I go back on my firmish commitment to refrain from backing games on KS for a while, Flat? This is awfully tempting.

When will I get to play it? But this is Underworld and we've waited so long. I hope this isn't going to turn into another Elite Dangerous fiasco.

Oh well, it's make my mind up time. I think I'm going to trust them and splash the plastic...again. :angel:

Re: Underworld Ascension

I noticed

"He’s overseen the making of games like Thief and Thief 2, System Shock 2, Arx Fatalis, and, of course, the original Ultima Underworld."

Thief 1 and 2 catch my attention definitely. I might have to go full hobo on this.
Image "Everyone needs to have their avatar's edited to have afros." -Charley Deallus

Re: Underworld Ascension

Gazz wrote:
Victor Tombs wrote:Is lateral thinking a mainstay of your thought processes, Gazz? :angel:

But why would I post what's blatantly obvious to everyone anyway?
Except when it's funny.
*puzzled* Was your original post meant to be funny then, Gazz? Being somewhat reclusive I don't always understand the nuances of written comments. I'm always open to enlightenment where my understanding fails me. :angel:

Re: Underworld Ascension

Ultima Underworld 2 had this game of White Stone Black Stone where you could challenge a troll.

If you take the white stone, you win.
But be careful because if you take the black stone you lose.
Take the white stone.
Not the black stone.

I rocked at this game.
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.

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