Looking Glass Founder’s Underworld Ascendant Revealed

he's in big trouble if an orc decides to give that beard a tug mid-combat

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.”

89 Comments

  1. Wowbagger says:

    Yonder links take me to a page not found error.

    • socrate says:

      Why is Richard Garriott still being taken seriously?…he as proved like Peter Molyneux that time and time again he wasn’t the genius behind is so called creation and got wayyy too much credit attributed to the success of these different creation.

      Edit:oops sorry about clicking your post Wowbagger i misclicked i guess

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        Phasma Felis says:

        Source please.

      • Lord Byte says:

        They have Paul Nerath, that guy IS brilliant, (and others of Looking Glass) I think the only reason they have Richard Garriot is to get the rights to Ultima :)

  2. manio22 says:

    Youtube video is private…
    Edit : Nvm its working now.

  3. TekknoTroll says:

    Wheeee, hopefully they’ll manage to pull it off.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    I would say that with a KS goal of that size, they obviously have something really, really good in mind. These are not amateurs or time-wasters we’re dealing with here, so if UA does indeed go 600k+, we’re going to be in for one hell of a big treat!

    • Premium User Badge

      Qazinsky says:

      Seeing how games are such multimillion deals today, it sure would be nice if a company came along and made a good ‘big’ game for 600k. I’d love if it could be proven that alot of that money is just bloat. Ah, one can dream, can’t I?

      • Shuck says:

        The amounts raised on Kickstarter are almost never the actual development budgets – the actual budgets are usually much higher, relying on the personal savings of the developers and/or other secondary funds. So small amounts raised on Kickstarter prove nothing. The budgets for games are rarely “bloated” – it’s just how much they cost. There’s nothing mysterious about game budgets – they go towards salaries and office space; big games require a lot of people working for years on end. It adds up. Game developer salaries aren’t exactly huge (one gets paid less than for comparable jobs), there’s not a lot of fat to cut – the main thing lower budget games do to save money is outsource their art development to lower-paid contract artists in third world countries or who are willing to work for nothing.

        • The Sombrero Kid says:

          The Games industry uses Hollywood Accounting more than Film Studios these days, the “Budget” rarely bears any resemblance to the development costs.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    Yay, as I was posting just a few days ago, more cave spelunking for the people!

    (Also, as I was a bit sleepy as I saw the video, at the point where a monster is onscreen and the avatar punches towards it, I actually thought for a second that the player was punching at the screen, talk about taking gaming in a whole new direction!)

  6. McCool says:

    I am officially excitebike.

    Ex Looking Glass devs making a looking-glass esque new game, let alone a new UNDERWORLD is a dream come true and really one of the most RPS things imaginable.This looks like one KS that genuinely deserves our attention and money. Long live the immersive sim.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Sir, you’re speaking my language. This, short of another Thief or Shock sequel in a similar vein, is the gaming event I’ve waited most of my life for. Since playing Ultima Underworld for the first time back in the mid 90s, even.

      I haven’t funded anything on Kickstarter, but THIS I will, and gladly.

      Paul: Please make it moddable! User-made underworlds would be dreamy.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Or a new Terra Nova! (I will continue this crusade until everybody on the planet remembers how good that game was)

        Honestly though, I’ve actually never played Ultima Underworld, infact I’ve had very little exposure to Ultima in general. But I adore oldschool singleplayer rpgs, and I specifically love the setting of the Exile/Avernum games, so this ought to be right up my street. Very interested, may back.

        • The Sombrero Kid says:

          I was thinking of approaching EA for the license after My current projects, On the off chance they’d part with it for next to nothing or a royalty share.

        • Ronmcd says:

          Terra Nova! Nobody knew what I was talking about when I used to to go on (and on) about it. Brilliant game.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Yeah, my nostalgia cup runneth over. The only thing I still want is Obsidian to Kickstart their own World of Darkness inspired Vampire:Bloodlines spiritual sequel.

      And all the cool new stuff that I don’t yet know that I want, but I’m hoping RPS will tell me aboit.
      ;)

    • Psychomorph says:

      There’s Looking Glass mojo all over it!

  7. tomimt says:

    Here’s hoping this will make it. U-UW games were great. Out of the two I really liked the second one, though the first wasn’t bad either. Definetly pioneering stuff for their day.

  8. ZIGS says:

    We’re bringing back the classic single-player, immersive underworld adventuring that made the original great

    Awesome!

    trying out a new approach to co-op play with a friend

    Oh you have got to be shitting me

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      Harlander says:

      I’m pretty torn.

      On the one hand, I’d sure love to do some co-op in an Ultima Underworld-like game.

      On the other hand, trying to put multiplayer in stuff will almost certainly make the singleplayer worse to some measurable degree.

    • karnak says:

      Yeah.

      Every time I read the “multiplayer” word in an RPG the “Red Alert” alarm sets on.

    • 9of9 says:

      While I can see the reasoning that focus on multiplayer will cause the singleplayer to suffer, I’m starting to get a little annoyed at how this logic means that we can’t have a single, good, bloody open-ended RPG I could play through with a friend. Like, yes, you have a point… but it’s not like it can’t be done and maybe we should start throwing stones every time someone mentions multiplayer in their singleplayer first-person RPG.

      I mean, System Shock 2 was such a lousy game because the developers spent all their time making sure you could play the whole thing through with a friend, right? And… and I’d make another example, but there has been bugger all since, in terms of sprawling, coop-able first-person RPGs. As a result when we do have multiplayer it’s always that horrible, tacked-on-by-another-studio-because-we-don’t-want-to-distract-the-devs bullshit like Dragon Age Inquisition has, which no one wants.

      We’re kind of starting to get there. Dead Island actually almost scratch my coop Skyrim itch, except there was so little to do in its sprawling levels. You’ve got games like Far Cry 4 that actually let you run around and do shit together with a friend, except you can’t do most of the missions and Ubisoft still can’t quite figure out that you can’t stick treasure chests everywhere and call it ‘exploration’, while most of the actual game remains single-player only for no real good reason.

      Somehow almost everyone lags behind even Saints Row 2, which let you play through literally everything in the game with a partner and have all of the fun while doing it.

      Can’t we just try this once, somewhere? I’m pretty sure wandering around caves with a buddy wouldn’t be utterly abhorrent.

      • karnak says:

        I think the first Baldur’s Gate game already allowed you to play the game with a friend. And it didn’t damage the single-player campaign whatsoever.
        This is an example of how things could really work, for both solo or multi.

      • LexW1 says:

        Yeah, far from repulsing me, that made me back the project.

        It’s the holy grail, really, for people who have friends but don’t want to solely play MMOs or shooters with them. It didn’t ruin BG1/2 as noted, nor Divinity, and there’s no reason adding it, at $1.2m, should hurt single-player (it’s unlikely they’ll hit $1.2m anyway). The amount I would pay for a proper version of Skyrim where a friend could take over the companion is VERY LARGE.

    • tomimt says:

      Well that co-op seems to be on the cards only if they reach 1.2 millon, so it’s not like the whole thing is designed like that.

      Besides, I do find it kinda odd, that RPG players seem to shun even the remore possibility of somekind of real player interaction.

      • karnak says:

        If you want to play an RPG with living, breathing human beings you already have MMORPGs for that.

        Speaking for myself, when I play an RPG I’m interested in seeing how the story develops, and how I can interact with that virtual, make-believe world.

        It’s like when I’m reading a book. I read it to follow a plot and care about the characters and the universe they inhabit. I don’t want to have my wife reading the book in bed along with me, and commenting on the story.
        I want it to be an invididual experience.

        And I admit. I’ve played some MMORPGs in the past (starting with granpa Ultima Online). Too many imbeciles online ruining the experience. And I already have to deal with penty of stupid folk in real life. I don’t need more stupidity in my “fantasy lands”, no-siree.

        • LexW1 says:

          Nope.

          If you want to play badly-designed money-maker games or balance-obsessed raider games with legions of mouth-breathers and a few human beings, there’s MMORPGs.

          There’s no option at all, right now, for playing a “Proper” RPG like Skyrim or Dragon Age with your friends. You can play some pure ARPGs like Diablo 3 or PoE, or shooter-RPGs like Borderlands, or for turn-based old-skool there’s Divinity Original Sin, but that’s it.

          What people want is “Skyrim with my best friend”. There’s no good reason that can’t exist. Just have them take over Lydia or whatever. But it doesn’t.

          So it’s nice that you demand “an individual story”, and you’ll get that, but a lot of people WOULD like a friend along for the ride. Unlike you’d I’d kill to have my wife play Skyrim with me, and she’d killed to play it with me.

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            gritz says:

            As someone currently playing Divinity Original Sin with 3 other buddies, I have to disagree. There are options out there.

            Still, it’s silly how CRPG fans think that any kind of multiplayer option will instantly destroy everything they hold dear.

        • ffordesoon says:

          Speaking as someone who’s similarly antisocial in online multiplayer scenarios, I am baffled by your choice of metaphors. I mean, I guess I know what you’re implying, but I find it hard to grasp why you wouldn’t like it if your wife was reading the same book you were reading and wanted to discuss it with you. Did you mean she would be, like, over your shoulder reading the same copy of your book and constantly commenting directly into your ear? Because that seems much closer to the unpleasant experiences I’ve had with online multiplayer.

          • karnak says:

            “Did you mean she would be, like, over your shoulder reading the same copy of your book and constantly commenting directly into your ear?”

            Exactly that.

          • ffordesoon says:

            Ah. Okay, I get you.

      • Yglorba says:

        The problem is that the sort of well-designed multiplayer that people are saying they want here isn’t something you can just add as a stretch goal; the entire game needs to be designed around it. It has significant implications for the core mechanics, for the basic plot and structure of the game, for every ability or option the player has and so on. And it is an extremely technically difficult thing to implement, which (no matter how much money you have) places further restrictions on everything else — other features will have to be dropped or avoided because they would be hard to implement in a reliable fashion in a multiplayer game.

        The world might need a good multiplayer RPG, but the only way it’s going to get one is if a game is designed primarily to be a good multiplayer RPG — not one with the feature tacked-on as a stretch goal. I think it’s very reasonable to worry that such a stretch-goal might produce an unsatisfying, uninteresting multiplayer that nonetheless requires that they sacrifice significant aspect of the single-player game.

        tl;dr: Multiplayer RPGs are fine, but they shouldn’t try to make a game satisfy the needs of both multiplayer and single-player play — the two are extremely different, both in terms of design and technology.

  9. Halk says:

    Unity? Nooooooooooooo…

    • Lars Westergren says:

      I think it’s an ok choice. Lots of studios are experienced with it, licensing is cheap, it has improved a lot in later versions. Ok, it hogs memory, uses an old version of Monodevelop, and doesn’t look as good as Unreal or Cry, but you can still do great games with it.

      • Nasarius says:

        MonoDevelop is irrelevant; the ancient Mono runtime is the issue. Yes, you can make a certain subset of great games with Unity. But you will have serious problems if, for example, you want to do CPU-intensive simulation.

      • Halk says:

        >but you can still do great games with it.

        Maybe 2D games, or some indie game experiment, or games with very minimalist experimental graphics, or some such thing. But if I try to think of a “full” game with 3D graphics done in Unity, I cannot think of any convincing example.

        I tried Might and Magic 10, but god was that engine aweful.

        • Lars Westergren says:

          > But if I try to think of a “full” game with 3D graphics done in Unity, I cannot think of any convincing example.

          Endless Legends?

          • Halk says:

            Never heard of it, but just checked it out. Graphics do look quite nice, but I cannot really judge the engine without feeling it in action. In a sense what’s more important to me than the quality of the graphics is how fluid and sharp everything feels. I am not even sure what that feeling objectively corresponds to, but MM10 was really bad in that regard. Hell, I play lots of old games and often think they look better than new ones.

            Anyway, I would be very happen if UUA turns out great.

    • Dave L. says:

      That’s definitely a big eyebrow raiser for me, too. I think the big issue with them using UE4 is that Epic gets to take 5% of any crowdfunded funds (at least where those funds are attributable to the game). Factor in that around 20% of what they raise will go towards reward fulfillment and/or marketing, and that 5% hit may be untenable.

  10. Ross Angus says:

    I only know of Looking Glass team members who contributed to the quote scroll. They’re my true heroes.

  11. ansionnach says:

    Yay! Only managed to finish Underworld for the first time over a year ago… and it’s one of my all-time favourites. Nothing’s a guaranteed success, of course, but very few games are trying to be something more these days. Almost like this and other transcendent titles like Ultima VII, Torment and BG2 left the galaxy at the coming of the dark times when the X-Box Empire and its kiddies took over. Hopefully no console release (unless you can somehow plug in a keyboard and mouse) as otherwise the more limited interface would “streamline” anything interesting into the singularity of action button presses. Great to get some real gaming news, feel like popping down to the newsagent to pick up the latest PC Review!

    EDIT: Forgot to mention:
    You see a mellow lurker.

  12. Sire says:

    I turned the video off after I heard this: “Everything is going to take place UNDERGROUND.”

    Why? Have you not learned anything? Tunnels, sewers and dark dungeons is so cliche it’s just a joke. Perhaps fun in small doses, but not an entire game. I guess it’s for technical and content reasons, but come on…

    • ansionnach says:

      Have you played Ultima Underworld at all? In its Underground caverns is a living, breathing world that’s far more involving and interactive than any amount of surface lens flare.

    • karnak says:

      Well, if they can make an entire underworld game (I suspect the main objective for the game will be to reach the surface) that will marvel you, then you’ll know it’s a great game.

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      gritz says:

      No offense, but I don’t think this game is for you.

      • karnak says:

        Depends.

        When I was a kid I hated dungeon crawlers. The gaming experience felt somehow… limited and claustrophobic.
        One of the reasons I quitted playing Eye of the Beholder after having bought the game.

        When I began playing Ultima Underworld it felt even more claustrophobic and depressing.
        Eerie music, dark, dark everywhere. Gloomy walls and crazy, depressive NPCs.

        But… I just couldn’t stop playing it.
        I remember that my mouth stood open when I discovered that the game simulated gravity. If you carry too much shit in your backpack you can’t jump much.

        The game was too advanced for its time.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      What makes you think people don’t want to play games in such settings?

      I happen to thing the mainstream obsession with massive open worlds was detrimental to the quality of many games. I’ll take hand-crafted indoor quality environments over 90% empty open worlds any time.

      What is wrong with dungeons? Tunnels? Sewers? Why are these not still viable locales for adventure?

    • ffordesoon says:

      nelsonmuntzhaha.jpg

    • alw says:

      What about if it was a really fucking BIG cave, and someone had painted the ceiling blue and stuck little white cotton balls all over it? And then put a big bright magic light at the top so you could see stuff?

  13. Borodin says:

    I can’t see $600K being a problem. The Kickstarter is nearly at 10% of that after just 4.5 hours! I think they’re going to need some more stretch goals!

    An average pledge of just under $77 too – that’s remarkable.

  14. ansionnach says:

    My roommate’s ex-wife makes far more than that. Granted, the work is demanding, but being a bounty-hunter who tracks down spammers is also more rewarding.

    EDIT: Never mind, she must have gotten to the offending post first!

  15. ffordesoon says:

    It’s already on track to do quite well for itself, according to Kicktraq.

    I do wonder if OtherSide is aware of how conservative the people who would fund a project like this can be. Mentions of co-op and being able to play whatever kind of character you want might repel as many folks as it attracts. Speaking as a former (and current, I suppose, though I haven’t been there in a while) moderator of the Wasteland 2 boards and a sometime visitor to the Obsidian boards, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been yelled at for insisting that a game with classes does not actually have to conform to the limitations set down for it by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in frigging Chainmail.

    Other things for which I have been chewed out:

    • insisting that multiplayer can be compatible with a classic cRPG
    • insisting that Bethesda and Bioware games are RPGs rather than “action games” (madness, I know)
    • arguing that RNG and pseudo-RNG based combat is not The Most Important Thing In The World
    • arguing that all stats should be useful
    • arguing that character skill can be substantively represented in a game which also involves player skill
    • arguing that Skyrim’s combat is worlds better than Morrowind’s combat, because attempting to represent to-hit chance in a fully real-time first-person 3D world just feels goddamn stupid, because you can end up waving daggers at rats for ages to no apparent effect despite having your cursor pointed directly at the rat and Skyrim at least employs WYSIWYG design
    • arguing for good visual feedback (this is particularly odd, given that plenty of character-skill RPGs have good visual feedback)
    • arguing that roleplaying is the point of roleplaying games
    • arguing that some of AD&D’s restrictions and abstractions are pretty fucking goofy (wizards can’t hold swords, etc.)
    • arguing that even hardcore cRPGs should not be designed solely for the grognardiest of the grognards
    • arguing that computer RPGs and tabletop RPGs are different on a fundamental level
    • arguing that cRPGs don’t have to rely solely on skill checks for everything
    • arguing that binary pass/fail skill checks (e.g. lockpicking, hacking, safecracking, etc.) which are completely abstracted should be either deterministic (e.g. Deus Ex’s lockpicking and hacking) or player-controlled minigames (e.g. Oblivion, Skyrim). The first minimizes tedium, the second puts the chance of success partly or wholly in the hands of the player, and neither leaves you at the mercy of a capricious RNG.
    • etc. etc.

    So, you know, they’ve got their work cut out for them.

    EDIT: Oops, I was a silly-buns and forgot to finish my thought about lockpicking. It’s now the bit about binary skill checks.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      FWIW, I think I agree with all your points. Except maybe the multiplayer part – can maybe be done, doubt it’s worth the time and money.

    • Psychomorph says:

      Ignore those backward thinking people. We just need their money, not their creative input.

      :D

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      gritz says:

      This is a good post.

    • Hex says:

      “arguing that RNG and pseudo-RNG based combat is not The Most Important Thing In The World”

      If I could have one wish granted in the world of gaming, it would be to remove the ubiquity of RNG-based systems. For examples of deterministic alternatives, see The Banner Saga, Chess, Tetris, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes.

      There’s any number of ways to allow players interact with a game in such a way that they determine the outcome, as opposed to having some bullshit liar of an RNG eff-up their plans.

      I can appreciate the place of “risk management” games in the world (and I’m having a fantastic time with both Chaos Reborn and the Darkest Dungeon at the moment), but a little more parity in the RPG sub-genres would be much appreciated.

      • ffordesoon says:

        I like RNG-based systems just fine, but they are hugely overrepresented in hardcore old-skool cRPGs for manly PC gamers and not lol console kiddies lol i am so clever to look down on people who play with toys because i play with ACTION FIGURES lol 1337.

        Sarcasm? Me? Nah.

        • Hex says:

          You lost me at “lol console kiddies lol i am so clever to look down on people who play with toys because i play with ACTION FIGURES lol 1337.”

          • ffordesoon says:

            Poorly phrased joke. I was making fun of PC elitist/RPG Codex types..

            Unless what you mean by “lost” is that you stopped understanding me at that point. In which case, it was really poorly phrased!

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      Harlander says:

      ffordesoon for king of RPGS! Who’s with me!?

    • drewski says:

      QUITE FRANKLY I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU JUST SAID

    • Ejia says:

      ??????? Who argues that about BioWare’s games? It doesn’t apply to their DnD(-like) CRPGs like BG, NWN, or KOTOR, and not to the first DA. Maybe the Mass Effects (Masses Effect?) and from what I’ve heard of DA2, but then those aren’t what they’re traditionally known for.

      And fie at those who glaze over Morrowind’s combat. To-hit chance has no place in a game like the Elder Scrolls. Magic resistance? Absorb chance? Spell reflection? Sure. But unless it’s turn-based, to-hit chance can stay away.

  16. amcathlan says:

    This looks delicious. Take my money you adorable antiques you

  17. unimural says:

    I can’t say I’m a fan of Kickstarter exclusive items in general, and certainly not of backer items with gameplay effects. It makes balancing the game more difficult, and devs are spending time on stuff only part of the players will see. Despite that I’m rather interested in the project and backed it. But the items do bother me a fair amount.

  18. Psychomorph says:

    Was about time for a proper oldschool 1st person dungeon crawler RPG. I always wanted to make one myself, but I’m no game designer.

    Also these are practically Looking Glass people. Gaming is good again.

  19. ResonanceCascade says:

    I’ve been planning on pledging for this one for quite a while (since it was Underworld Ascension). Could not be happier that this is getting made.

  20. njursten says:

    I thought I was done with Kickstarter, but I’m looking forward to this too much.

  21. captain nemo says:

    In a world of sequels and formulaic repetitions, Paul Neurath is a hero.
    There is a great interview with him on the Singapore MIT GAMBIT site : link to gambit.mit.edu

  22. MajorMalphunktion says:

    “What people want is “Skyrim with my best friend”. There’s no good reason that can’t exist. ”

    Truly. That say, Elder Scrolls Online wasn’t just 4 player Skyrim is a mystery.

    ” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been yelled at for insisting that a game with classes does not actually have to conform to the limitations set down for it by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in frigging Chainmail.”

    There are many ways to do character classes. You can run with the archetypes, and some people like just that, or go totally potpourri.

    “What is wrong with dungeons? Tunnels? Sewers? Why are these not still viable locales for adventure?”
    It can be argued that above ground is overdone and tired at this point. Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, Skyrim exc.
    Wouldn’t it be interesting to do the hollow earth? Underground does not need to be 10×10 corridors. Even Jules Verne had more interesting ideas than that back 120 years ago.

    LGS comments– yes we are all very happy to be working together again. Dream come true. Time to get back to where we left off in 2000.

  23. savagegump says:

    This may actually be enough to tempt me back to kickstarter for the first time since the initial dizzying gold rush, UW2 is one of my formative games, I often wax lyrical about how amazing it is to many a blank face, and the thought of a modern game of that calibre is awesome.

    I just hope it can catch that magic again, the prototype isn’t really inspiring me, looks very generic atm, but I know it’s far to early to judge, hopefully that will change as long as they can pack it with the detail and complexity which made the originals so brilliant.

  24. Hex says:

    I would like to see RPS try to start predicting the Next Big Nostalgic Game Kickstarter. Whenever things calm down, it seems like some big game from 20 years ago rears its head and people flock to comments sections across the internets declaring that this was the most important game of their childhood.

    Let’s start taking bets on the upcoming campaigns.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      I think there’s room for a really barebones Command & Conquer: Red Alert-y RTS. They’d need A Big Name, which is a problem as Westwood didn’t really have ~video game celebrities~, and obviously Joe Kucan would not to commit to appearing in its FMV cutscenes.

      I can see the hole, but I don’t think it’ll be filled. Sure, people are nostalgic for ’em, but does that mean that want more?

    • Rise / Run says:

      I want Starflight 3 (which existed then died, it seems) and a real Star Control sequel. But I dream.

    • ansionnach says:

      There was a pretty prophetic episode of Pinky and the Brain in Animaniacs where they travelled back in time, became popular with the kids on TV and then travelled back to the present to cash in on nostalgia. Ended up backfiring. I’m hoping this will turn out well but I’ve still got Ultima Underworld 2 to play for now.

      I’d love to see a new Lemmings game. Not that there weren’t loads of them (Lemmings, Oh No! More Lemmings, Lemmings 2, All New World of Lemmings, 3D Lemmings, Lemmings Revolution… plus the various Christmas demos). I liked the first GTA but DMA only really made two and a quarter full Lemmings games. They should forget all this GTA nonsense and go back to something good, maybe even finish the planned three ANWoL data disks for DOS and Amiga. I’m sure they could afford to buy the licence back off Sony who don’t know what to do with it. Failing that they could just make the games GTA spin-offs where you’ve got to save lives.

      Other than the first one, 3D Lemmings was my favourite. Criminally underrated, people just didn’t get it. I’d guess it may have been a pain to control on console but any PC gamer with a bit of patience who remembers the day when every game had unique controls wouldn’t take long to get to grips with them.

      Other than Space Sims, RPGs, adventures and strategy games, flight sims were pretty popular back in the day. Maybe a modern realistic WWII combat flight sim? Doesn’t have to be massively multiplayer, persistent and online. Offline is the new online. If it comes in a box with a big manual and on both 3.5″ and 5.25″ floppy disks, then all the better!

  25. ulix says:

    I’ve asked this before… with all the Kickstarter projects, when is Chris Sawyer coming back with a spiritual successor to either Transport or (preferably) Rollercoaster Tycoon?

    I’d pay good money for it. Prison Architect has made me yearn for more sims like that, but with modern technology where every person is simulated individually.

  26. bill says:

    Has anyone played Ultima Underworld recently? How does it hold up?

    I always wanted to play it when I was young, but my PC wasn’t powerful enough.

    I tried playing it for the first time about 5 years ago, but to be honest I got a bit bored of wandering around brown identical corridors and therefore didn’t really get very far.
    Is it worth persevering with? Or has it aged too much? Does it still hold any unique appeal points, or has it been superseded by other games.

    If it’s worth it, should I start with UU1, or UU2? I seem to remember UU2 looking more colorful in screenshots.
    I tend to always want to do things in order, but I made that mistake with Baldur’s Gate and I don’t want to repeat it here.

    Are there any mods/upgrades to improve it for modern systems/gamers?

    Has anyone tried it on Dosbox on a tablet? I have this crazy idea that these first person dungeon crawlers would work great on a tablet.

    Any tips for getting started and getting the most out of it?

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      The controls are pretty terrible. I’m sure Underworld fans will jump in and say they’re fine once you get used to them, but get ready for a long honeymoon period. Beyond that, it’s a great game. The world feels very alive, even relative to a lot of modern games. Every object on the screen can be picked up, manipulated, or tossed around (with rudimentary physics to boot). The plot is as basic as they come, but a lot of the character interactions have a kind of Ultima-esque charm to them (the game wasn’t originally supposed to be an Ultima game, so I guess this might be coincidence).

      I usually keep the clue book handy because I really don’t have time to wander around in a maze for hours on end trying to figure out some obtuse early 90’s puzzle anymore.

  27. drewski says:

    I’ve never played an Ultima game nor an Underworld game, so I can’t really say I’d feel good backing this. But I hope it’s successful and I hope the game is great because I would definitely buy a good RPG from someone who helped create the sort of immersive, RPG style worlds that I’ve come to love in gaming.

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      basilisk says:

      Do try the first Ultima Underworld, though. It’s surprisingly perfectly playable today (I played it for the very first time last year, I think), and it’s not actually connected to the rest of the Ultima series in any meaningful way – it wasn’t originally meant to be a part of it anyway.

      The interface needs some getting used to, but it’s not too bad once you get the hang of it, and the game still remains a masterpiece. I approached it without any nostalgia whatsoever (Ultima missed me entirely back in the day) and it’s easily one of the best things I’ve ever played. It was so incredibly far ahead of its time that it’s still highly relevant today.

      • bill says:

        Care to elaborate on WHY it is still great today?

        I don’t mind the controls, I know they are a little funky, but I’d be able to get used to them.
        My worry from previous brief attempts and also watching a couple of let’s play videos is that the world looks very dull. It seems to be just endless dark brown corridors, without much in the way of color or variation or story or characters.
        So I’m left wondering what is the hook, now that the graphics are no longer cutting edge.

  28. Shadowcat says:

    Backed!

    For many people the closure of Looking Glass was PC gaming’s darkest day, and while it’s been great to see their alumni contributing to other excellent games elsewhere over the years, it’s damned exciting to see this project moving forwards. It’s not the same Looking Glass we lost, but it’s a very encouraging team, and it’s Underworld! I love that this can happen after so many years.

    Good luck, Otherside!

  29. Shadowcat says:

    Just saw the following comment from Otherside, which you’ll be pleased to read if, like me, you were disappointed that pledge tiers appeared to include the dreaded “backer-only” game content:

    We wanted to clarify that for every exclusive in-game item (the ones your character will be able to wear or use) in the pledge tiers, or the ones that might get unlocked in a stretch goals, there will be similar non-exclusive items readily available to all players, backers and non-backers alike, in the released game. The exclusive items will be cosmetically unique and distinctive, but functionally all players will be able to readily find or buy in the game comparable items that provides similar functionality. Take the Silver Avatar’s Ring, provided at the JOURNEYMAN tier, which glows red when an enemy is nearby. Any player will be able to get a generic magic ring that does the same. However, it won’t have the distinctive Avatar’s seal on it, and it might glow white instead of red. These exclusive items are never game changers, just a fun way to show that you got them as a backer.

    link to kickstarter.com