Edit – links fixed
As old school PC gamers’ desires for a comeback go, a new Ultima Underworld is right up there with new System Shock or new true-blood X-COM. While a huge number of ’90s PC devs have burst back into the limelight thanks to Kickstarter and a legion of people who are terrified of new things, I don’t believe we’ve yet seen anyone from revered UU/System Shock/Thief studio Looking Glass sing for their crowd-funded supper. Today, Looking Glass co-founder Paul Neurath does, with spiritual Ultima Underworld sequel Underworld Ascendant. It’s a subterranean, first-person RPG, which he claims is set in ‘a living, breathing fantasy world.’ While EA retain squatters’ rights to the Ultima license, Ascendant’s protagonist will be named ‘The Avatar’, and it even gets the Garriot blessing.
You know you want it. Take a look below.
Never quite as big a name as Looking Glass alumni such as Warren Spector and Doug Church, despite being the company’s co-founder, Neurath dropped out of sight a while back. Turns out he was lost in a horrifying underworld himself until fairly recently, having been part of the Stygian abyss that is Zynga, after releasing the Shadows of Undrentide expansion for Neverwinter Nights. Now, he’s back to what he’s most known for: big, sprawling PC roleplaying games.
His new outfit Otherside Entertainment are after $600k on Kickstarter to make a new-gen Ultima Underworld game. It’s do-able, I guess, but it is big Kickstarter money in this day and age. Guess we’ll find out just how fervent the Looking Glass fanbase still is, eh?
Here’s the pitch, replete with prototype footage. Spiders! Caves! Tentacle-beasts! Lockpicking!
Says Paul Neurath of the project, “We’re bringing back the classic single-player, immersive underworld adventuring that made the original great. But we’re also innovating. We’re pushing forward with our new Improvisation Engine; going deeper than any other game in creating a living, breathing world fantasy world hidden beneath the earth; trying out a new approach to co-op play with a friend, and more. The team here at OtherSide has set itself the lofty goal redefining the fantasy RPG for this generation of gamers, much as we did for the last generation.”