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Descent Veterans Kickstarting Basically Descent 4

Remember that Descent game Kickstarted by people by who didn’t make Descent? Here’s an unofficial Descent remakequel Kickstarted by people who did make Descent.

If Descent was on your Kickstarted comeback bingo card, then today’s the day to wave your pen in the air. Mike Kulas and Matt Toschlog, lead creators of the 1990s’ beloved six-degrees of freedom spaceshippy FPS, have gotten the band back together for a comeback named Overload. You wanted Descent with sparkly 2016 graphics? You’re gonna get it. Well, if you and your fellow retronauts can put $300k together.

Of course, this isn’t the first or only Descent comeback. Another studio, none of whose staff had ever worked on a Descent game, recently licensed the name from the mysterious creature which currently calls itself ‘Interplay’ for the multiplayer-focused Descent Underground, currently on Steam Early Access. This one, by contrast, is both singleplayer and has its original creators behind it, even if they don’t have the name.

Overload isn’t just a shot in the dark / gosh weren’t the olden days jolly Kickstarter – they do have a working prototype, which is on-show in this here trailer. Speed and movement and robo-bothering seem all present and correct, as does something of a period soundtrack.

There’s also a pitch video of course, which features extra footage and discussion of their design intentions in addition to waxing lyrical about how ground-breaking the omni-directional combat of Descent was in an age of earth-bound corridor-shooters.

After Descent devs Parallax Software wound down in 1997, Mike Kulas headed off to form Freespace, Red Faction and Saints Row dev Volition and Matt Toschlog founded Descent 3 studio Outrage, both of which ended up being owned by THQ. While Volition at least lives on as part of Deep Silver, Kulas and Toschlog have reunited for a new venture, Revival Productions.

“Overload is a game Matt Toschlog and I have talked about making for many years,” says Kulas in an email I received while I was off work and have yet to reply to. Sorry, chaps. “Even though my time at Volition had greater commercial success, my fondest industry memories are of creating Descent. We’ve always wanted to revisit that style of game.”

If they can raise $300k, they’ll go back to a well that I imagine quite a few RPS readers have long hoped would be plumbed again. Planned release date is roughly a year from now, and promised is a 15-level singleplayer campaign, a buncha weapons and enemies and, of course, six degrees of freedom movement. Revival note that joysticks are making something of a comeback – with Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen arguably leading that particular charge – so the time may well be right for Descent to arise once again.

$4k at the time of writing, 29 days to go.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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