Journey back to the Abyss – Underworld Ascendant

This month has been one of early access and kickstarters for me. Since I posted about the Ghostbusters board game yesterday, I thought I’d write about one that is even closer to my heart today.

Underworld Ascendant is a continuation of the classic Ultima Underworld series of games. For anyone who doesn’t know, Underworld was the first game that allowed players to experience a 3D environment that they could freely move in. Not only this, but it was the first real “open world” style of game – albeit one set in the closed world of an underground lair.

The first game in the series is probably the reason why I am still an avid gamer today. I remember being blown away by being able to be left handed (still my favourite piece of character customisation) and experiencing Goblins who not only didn’t want to kill me on sight, but who had problems of their own.

The Stygian Abyss was populated by a range of races and groups – one, the Lizardmen, even had their own language that you needed to learn through trial and error in order to communicate with. Amazing. The game allowed you to play however you wanted. On one play-through, I decided to take the Abyss for my own and killed everyone I encountered. I set up treasure rooms and so on.

Underworld Ascendant

Underworld Ascendant aims to be the next step forward in Computer Role Play Games and sandbox, open world adventures. With a fantastic team behind it, the game will have an “imprivisation engine” that allows players to approach any situation as they wish. head over to the game’s main site for an example.

As with the original, despite picking a “class” of character, players will be able to develop their skills as they wish and progression is skill-based rather than level based. A system I always prefer but which seems to have dropped out of favour.

Underworld Ascendant Heroes

Basic Classes can be Progressed in any manner

Underworld Ascendant Factions

Three Factions dominate the Abyss

Here’s some official blurb from the kickstarter page:

For two decades this legend has been hidden away in the deepest vaults of its publisher.  The game’s original creators, who also designed the classics System Shock and Thief, have at long-last unchained the franchise.


Joining the original creators are leading developers who have played key roles on modern greats, such as Dishonored, Last of Us and BioShock Infinite. Together the team is bringing to life the next generation of this landmark franchise, Underworld Ascendant!


Backing the game grants you unprecedented front row access to the creation of the next epoch of this storied masterpiece. With your help, here’s a glimpse at what we can together build:

  • Exquisitely Realized Underworld – Plunge into The Stygian Abyss: dark, ripe with dangers, full of ancient secrets to discover. A vast subterranean fantasy world made startlingly real and alive.
  • Dynamic Factions – Become embroiled in an epic plot, as rival factions vie for dominance in struggles that ebb and flow across The Stygian Abyss. Your choices will alter the outcome in subtle and dramatic ways.
  • Improvisation Engine – Delight in player-authored gameplay taken to a whole new level, with a suite of technologies that empower you to solve challenges with astonishing ingenuity. Be the ‘MacGyver’ of a fantasy world.
  • Hero to Call Your Own – Jump right in as a Fighter, Thief or Mage. Then as your Avatar grows, freely mix and match across any skills to develop a unique hero, tailored to your style of play.
  • Pushing Boundaries – Stretch Goals will innovate on co-op play with a friend; letting you build your own corner of The Stygian Abyss; and more.
A Crystal Environment

One of many Environments in the Abyss

Underworld Ascendant Lavafall

One of many spectacular views to encounter

The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter has reached it’s funding goal and aims to be released November 2016. Naturally, this date is likely to slip but the team are relatively secure in that aim. There are currently three days left on the kickstarter, so please head on over and check it out. I’ve pledged as there was no reason on earth that could stop me from doing so. I have great hopes for this project and hope it continues towards the stretch goals (co-op play!) after the kickstarter itself ends.

Source: Kickstarter
GS Blogger: WedgeDoc

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