A group of industry vets have licensed the Descent trademark from Interplay and begun development of Descent: Underground [official site]. They launched a Kickstarter campaign a couple of days ago; as I write this they’ve already passed the 25% mark. Their pitch video follows.
The Descent games were pretty popular in the 90s golden age of PC gaming, but the series has gone untouched since 1999’s Descent3. It’s a pleasant surprise to see it dug out of the archives for a reboot (though at this juncture I must tip my hat toward Sol Contingency and Sublevel Zero, since these games have also been keeping the ‘six degrees of freedom’ torch burning).
The Descent: Underground team, led by Eric “Wingman” Peterson, have some notable games in their collective portfolio including Wing Commander IV, Ultima Online and more recently Star Citizen. The elephant in the room, though, is that none of them worked on any of the original Descent games. On top of that the original creators of Descent aren’t involved at all; Matt Toschlog is working on the recently-Greenlit Rustbucket Rumble whilst Mike Kulas has been off the videogame grid since 2011.
There’s more reason for pause: the focus as outlined on the Kickstarter page is explicitly multiplayer, and some reportage on Descent: Underground has seen it described as a MOBA (which is not something Descendent are currently claiming – it seems to have come from an old comment on Peterson’s LinkedIn profile). There’s no talk of a single-player component for the game, except in comments left by Peterson elsewhere on the project page, in which he promises that single-player will be discussed soon. Possibly it will be among the stretch goals, which at the time of writing aren’t listed, although they are referred to elsewhere.
None of this is necessarily cause for concern; it could largely be down to communication mistakes from the team. Kickstarter projects are a risky proposition as it is, though, without having your confidence dented by confusing messaging. Reservations aside, there’s plenty of experience in the team, they’re not asking for the moon on a stick, Michael Morlan has a lovely voice and hey – this is a Descent game we’re talking about. If you’re interested, more detail on planned features can be found on Kickstarter.