Underworld Ascendant: PAX East Demo Footage & What’s Next


OtherSide Entertainment showed off some new demo footage of Underworld Ascendant at PAX East this week, giving us a good idea of how the game’s new authored look…ah…looks:

While at PAX East last weekend, we were able to sit down at the Underworld Ascendant booth to get our first look at the spiritual successor to Ultima Underworld. The first-person RPG reunites much of its original cast, including revered designers Warren Spector and Paul Neurath – both of whom you hear from in the video below.

The video…includes a walkthrough of a test area with art director Nate Wells, who is best known for his work on the Uncharted series. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this game as its development continues, but for now, enjoy this early look at it with its legendary creators

According to the latest Stygian Sentinel update, a number of the game’s backers will soon be getting their own look at the new art style:

Our current “Pre-Alpha Prototype” also includes:

  • Both spells and swordplay are available.
  • Objects in the world are reacting to fire, air, earth, and plant spells, allowing for fun experimentation.
  • New collectables, loot, and runes are hidden throughout the map, often in randomized places. (Some are deviously hard to get to, but we have faith in your abilities.)

Since last month’s screenshots showing of the game’s new “Authored Look,” we’ve made the space a bit darker and moodier and also added areas that are reminiscent of a classic 10×10 corridor dungeon crawl to show the contrast between an open space and a more intimate area. The shader has been tweaked, the reflectivity map has been updated, and much more.

It’s still an early work-in-progress, but it’s starting to feel real and you can begin to get a sense of the physical rules that govern the world around you.

For backers who have Prototype Access, you’ll soon be able to play the Pre-Alpha Prototype yourself. Expect an email when the build is up on Steam later this week.

And the next system they’ll be adding to the game should be a welcome feature indeed, for those of you who were fans of another well-known Looking Glass game:

We won’t be doing a 1:1 version of LookingGlass’ Thief: The Dark Project, but will provide stealth skills that let you short-circuit encounters through avoidance, escape, and trickery. For a thief, the success or failure of a melee encounter is often determined by how it begins. Preparation is hugely important. Stealth skills often call for careful preparation to take advantage of specific circumstances, requiring you to plan ahead in order to make your abilities count.

Of course, AI is a big part of making stealth gameplay work. Tim has already created the basic groundwork of the system, which is following pretty closely the original Thief model: speed matters, light matters, and sound is also important. Many baseline beasties might react like the guards in Thief, but you never know if some of the other fantastic creatures in this world will be fooled by your skulking ways.

Underworld Ascendant proceeds apace, in other words. Or, perhaps, somewhat better than that; this seems to be a rather quick pace of development all things considered.