UPDATE: Next Steps for Underworld Ascendant & More

Joe Fielder

Hello backers,

Hope you’re all enjoying the year’s end with a virtual cornucopia of new, fun games. We have much to update you on this month! Let’s dive right in…

Next Steps for Underworld Ascendant

Our current efforts on Underworld Ascendant are focused on creating a tight, polished experience that demonstrates its core distinctive gameplay.

As you know, Underworld Ascendant takes place in a deep, dark subterranean realm, set into the caldera of a volcano. Life exists there – improbably – but, there are sights of wonder.

An ancient map depicting the eight layers of The Stygian Abyss.

One  of them is Marcaul, a Tangiers-like neutral zone, a key nexus point for the player throughout the game. As you start our current level, you glimpse it in the distance, a beautiful vista, but are barred from entry.The inhabitants there want you to prove yourself first — before they’ll allow you inside. You’re sent to perform The Challenge of Ishtass in the caves below.

This is how we introduce the player to The Improvisation Engine: the bevy of tools at your disposal that allows player-authored solutions to problems. It’s one of the key aspects that differentiates Underworld Ascendant from other games.

Later, we’ll get into the particulars about which Fighter, Rogue, and Mage-related skills and equipment are available to you and what the (secret, lore-related) goal of The Challenge of Ishtass is.

But, what’s barring you from your goal?

  • Say “Bica, yeshor’click!” to an old friend.

    LIZARD MEN — Well-known and loved characters from Ultima Underworld, who were tied into some of the most memorable moments of the game. There are swordsmen and archers with behaviors — and magical weapons — that are clearly readable from a distance.

  • THE MIND CRIPPLER – It’s a horror…. A disembodied brain with stinging tentacles and a unique hunting technique: It uses a psychic attack that enrages other creatures and causes them to fight, then hangs back and eats the fallen.

The player enters this space from above and has an opportunity to observe the situation to formulate a plan first.

A peek at an Underworld Ascendant Mind Crippler by Art Director Nate Wells.

Each class has a different take on solving challenges and unique options, while the environment – and the creatures within it – present interesting opportunities as well.

That’s what The Improvisation Engine is all about: player choice. We present a challenge and a bevy of interesting tools, and the solution is up to you.

It’s one the distinctive, core elements of Underworld Ascendant and the next stage in the kind of player-authored gameplay that Looking Glass helped invent.

We’ll have more details next time and, as mentioned last month, intend to share it with backers early next year!

Underworld Overlord Has Launched!

OtherSide is excited to announce our VR team’s first game Underworld Overlord — an innovative action/strategy hybrid, made exclusively for the Daydream Virtual Reality platform by Google — is out today.

“Be the bad guy” as a newly-undead Lich and protect your VR dungeon realm against an onslaught of brazen adventurers. Place deadly traps, cast powerful spells, and command horrible monsters to thwart these so-called “heroes” and preserve your subterranean rule.

Underworld Overlord features the talents of voice performers Courtenay Taylor (Jack in Mass Effect 2), Liam O’Brien (The Last of Us) & Neil Kaplan (Final Fantasy XV).

Underworld Overlord is available now for the Daydream Virtual Reality platform through the Google Play store.

Space Rogue Returns!

You may know that OtherSide creative director and president co-founded Looking Glass in 1992 and that he also designed the first two levels of Ultima Underworld.

But before all that, he programmed and designed Space Rogue, a space combat sim/RPG mash-up that helped inspire the Wing Commander series.

It’s been painfully unavailable for decades… until a few weeks ago, when Nightdive Studios re/released it.

Thanks to them, you can now find Space Rogue Classic on GoG!

In Other News…

finally, a few things you might find interesting and/or entertaining:

  • Our own Warren (System Shock 3) Spector spoke to Glixel this month and shared insights into the narrative process for System Shock and Deus Ex for their article Blood, Sweat, and Dialogue Trees: How Game Writing Has Evolved.
  • Our friends at Arkane Studios – who include former Looking Glass staff Harvey Smith and Austin Grossman – released Dishonored 2 last month for PC and consoles. Some of us are on our third or fourth playthroughs, so it’s safe to say we’re enjoying it. If you’re a fan of games like Thief: The Dark Project and BioShock, it’s definitely worth checking out!
  • Our friends at The Molasses Flood have announced a special edition of their procedurally-generated “rogue-lite” The Flame in the Flood (tersely scripted by our own Joe Fielder) is coming to the PlayStation 4 this January.
  • The creators of the massively multiplayer online RPG Crowfall are now offering a crowdfunding investment opportunity in their company. Read up on it here.

Until next time!

Best,

The Team at OtherSide