About this project
Descent is iconic for its innovative game play, where players are able to maneuver and fight in any direction – thoroughly immersed in challenging 3D labyrinths. For over a decade, Descent dominated first-person vehicular combat.
As consoles took over the game market, an entire generation grew up without Descent’s heart-pounding, non-stop action. That Drought Ends TODAY with…
We’re blasting Descent into the 21st Century with current-generation gaming technology.
Descent: Underground is a both a prequel to the Descent series and a modernization of the original game play. We’re staying true to the original flight mechanics, arcade style combat, and tightly twisting map design while taking it to the next level!
- Six-Degrees-Of Freedom combat
- Choose from nine Customizable Ships to suit your play style
- Destructible terrain conceals hidden resources, power ups, and tunnels
- Master New Game Modes along with your favorites from Descent
- Prove your prowess with rankings, achievements, and leaderboards
- Single-player & Multiplayer
- Top flight graphics with Unreal Engine 4
Six Degrees of Freedom Explained!
Here’s what we’ve added since the campaign began.
Update #13 – Design Update: All about the Ships
Update #12 – Engineering Update: Why Unreal Engine 4
Update #9 – Art Update: First Look at the HUD
Update #7 – Art Update: Meet the Typhoon
Update #5 – Art Update: A Look at the Drone Bay
Update #4 – Art Update: Meet the Torch
Customize your reward tier even more.
Add the following amounts to your pledge total using the manage Pledge button at the top of your Kickstarter page. Please indicate with a general Kickstarter comment which items you are adding.
Earth is overcrowded, dying of thirst, ravaged by war and disasters – both natural and man-made. As a hotshot pilot, you are the difference between life and death for countless millions. Only your dog fighting skills and teamwork can master the hazardous terrain, using it against your foes to gain the upper hand in uncontrolled space.
The people of Earth watch from afar as opposing forces race to gather the materials that will keep them alive. The struggle for resources is the newest sport – a source of hope and a shared effort championed by larger-than-life heroes. As one of those pilots, your life depends on your contribution, your reputation, and your value to your sponsors back home.
Descent: Underground provides all of the different play experiences that players loved in the original titles while adding new elements that take the experience even further. Tunnel through walls to outflank the enemy, discover hidden pockets of rare and valuable resources, set traps to ensnare enemy ships, and work as a team to accomplish your goals. Keep an eagle eye out for power-ups throughout the map, and uncover more by mining the walls. Collect resources to save the earth, fund your team, and make your name in the Underground.
Enjoy the puzzle-solving single-player experience of the original Descent games. Descent: Underground's initial release will include an engaging single-player campaign that serves as a prologue to the full game.
Design Underground discusses Single player
Join your friends to conquer the single-player maps and to accomplish bonus goals that require teamwork.
Pit your skills against other pilots as you battle for critical resources in the asteroids. Fly alongside allies of your corporation, and crush competing corporations into bankruptcy, or play as a free-lance pilot available to the highest bidder.
Matches can include multiple teams of up to sixteen players each. Each game mode will have team goals and configurable parameters, such as mission timers, stock ships only, or limited ship types.
- Anarchy – Classic Descent combat where your only goal is to crush your opponents. Choose 1 vs 1, team matches, or free-for-all.
- Capture the Asteroid – Secure and defend strategic beacons in the map.
- Corporate War – Mine resources and ferry them to your harvester. The first team to reach their mining quota wins.
- Mining for Minerals – Find and mine a special resource and return it to your harvester. But watch out! If you drop the “ball,” your enemy will swoop in and snatch it away.
- And many more!
- Mature Mine - This asteroid is riddled with tunnels and has already been heavily mined. You’ll find plenty of space for pitched battles.
- Molten Core - A newer mine, this map offers a lot of opportunities for miners and explorers. Watch for the lava at the center, though – digging in the wrong place could be disastrous!
- The Ice Cave - This frozen ball of rock is rich in resources, but glittering ice makes for tricky navigation.
- Abandoned Base - This station was built to house a now-defunct corporation. This map is built for classic Descent battles and single-player exploration.
Ships, Customization, and Tech Trees
The majority of the Descent: Underground game packages start with the Wasp. Some pledge tiers begin with additional ships. All ships can be earned through game play.
Each ship in Descent: Underground has a specialization so pilots can work together to accomplish their mission objectives.
- AUGER – the mining expert, able to bore through walls to find valuable resources, hidden tunnels and chambers, and rare power-ups.
- GOLIATH – a massive cargo ship with the most storage capacity, the Goliath is a beast that will maximize your haul.
- PANZER – a sturdy tank that can take punishment and dish it out, the Panzer is designed to get in and slug it out nose-to-nose.
- PREDATOR – a small, light craft that is fast and maneuverable. It acts as your team’s advance scout, mapping the terrain ahead and spotting enemies.
- SHAMAN – a sturdy repair ship, able to stay at the front lines and keep all of your drones in the action.
- TORCH – the maneuverable light combat specialist. It doesn’t pack quite the same punch as the Typhoon, but it is a good all-around combat craft with strong defensive and maneuvering capability.
- TYPHOON – a tri-winged heavy assault craft that trades defensive strength for firepower. The Typhoon is the point of the spear.
- WARLOCK – your technical specialist – able to thwart enemy plans, augment teammates, lay and defuse traps, and circumvent locked doors.
- WASP – a well-rounded craft balanced in all roles.
Ships can be customized for the look you want. Interchangeable noses, tails, wings, paint schemes, and decals make your craft one of a kind so your foes know who is taking them down. Or choose a scheme to fit your team.
We love sharing with our backers and sharing what our backers share with us.
MODDERS Welcome: We are designing and building this game to allow maximum community collaboration. Backers will be able to build their own maps, ships, logos, and weapons. Build something cool, submit it, and we may introduce it into the greater universe – become a developer yourself.
We're amping up the communication all the way to 11 (because 10 is not enough).
You've seen us do it before and we’re doing it again. Michael Morlan and Eric Peterson set a new standard for reaching out to the community with “Wingman’s Hangar” and “Galactic Inquiry.” Look for a new show for Descent: Underground. Also expect behind-the-scenes videos, blogs, peeks into design meetings, and fun side-channel streams.
There has been a lot of interest in a Descent reboot and we’ve been building a community ready to back such a project. Kickstarter is how we test the commitment of the fans and how we attract beyond that core community.
This genre of game has been neglected by traditional publishers. With the advent of online, digital distribution and crowd funding, we can surpass those publishers mired in repetitive releases and confined to only safe sequels.
ERIC "WINGMAN" PETERSON
Wing Commander 4, Starlancer, Conquest: Frontier Wars, Star Citizen
Eric has been making video games since 1984. He has been a founder of several successful game companies, and most recently was President of Production on Star Citizen. His passion for making AAA space games is known throughout the industry. He is very much involved in every aspect of game development from design, to production to team building, he can do it all. Eric believes strongly in community involvement, and is a pioneer in changing the way companies communicate with their communities. He is looking forward to making Descendent Studios, Inc, the leader in community involvement, and of course making a kick arse game called Descent: Underground!
JASON "STORMWIND" SPANGLER
Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Citizen, Star Trek: Klingon Academy, Ultima Online and many expansions
Jason has served as chief technical officer (CTO), technical director, lead programmer, and programmer for a variety of studios and projects. He has also spoken at game development conferences in the United States and Japan, focusing on online game development, software quality, and software engineering practices. Before entering the games industry, Jason was a fan of space, RPG, sandbox, and simulation games. He even had a poem dedicated to Wing Commander and other Origin games published in Computer Gaming World as a winning entry in a game poetry contest.
ROB "DESIGNOPOTAMUS" IRVING
Wing Commander, Jane's AH-64D Longbow, Ultima Online: Renaissance, Star Citizen
Rob has been wandering around games since 1992, and they've pretty much all featured online play, combat, space, or all of the above. Over the years, he's served as a designer, writer, producer, programmer, and everything in between, but design has always been where his heart lies. Rob will be aiming for one word: FUN for Descent: Underground.
SERGIO ROSAS - ART DIRECTOR
Conquest: Frontier Wars, Deus Ex: Invisible War, Thief: Deadly Shadows, Star Citizen
Sergio is an experienced video game industry art director with twenty years experience in graphic design including UI Design, 3D modeling, concept art, animation and video production, project management, outsource training and management, and international business development. Sergio has created visuals for companies including Electronic Arts, Johnson and Johnson, HEB, Konami, Capcom, Zynga, Blizzard, Ion Storm, Cloud Imperium, Human Code, and Origin Systems.
TODD "TOAD" BAILEY
Ultima Online: Renaissance, Star Wars: Galaxies, Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa, Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising
Todd started his career in the game industry in 1994, working on titles such as System Shock, Ultima Online, Star Wars: Galaxies, Tabula Rasa, and most recently, Star Citizen. Todd is a game designer, dungeon master, tabletop RPG player and has self published two fantasy fiction novels. He'll be bringing his creative efforts to making Descent: Underworld an awesome gaming experience.
PHIL "BLUEDOG" TITTLE
Gods and Heroes, Deadly Creatures, Multiple WWE titles, Star Citizen
Phil has served as Project Manager, Producer, and Sr. Producer on a variety of game projects and with companies such as Origin-EA, THQ, Heatwave, and CIG. Prior to entering the game industry, Phil was a programmer, systems architect and project manager in the telecom industry. He has earned his PMP and CSM credentials. Phil's love of MMOs (EQ and Meridian 59) drove him to leave the somewhat stodgy world of telecom systems development to join Origin Studios and the UXO project. He'll be bringing his breadth of development and management experience to Descent: Underground.
MICHAEL "VIEWMASTER" MORLAN
Crusader: No Remorse, Ultima IX: Ascension, Ultima Online and several extensions, Star Citizen
Michael started in the game industry as an artist, writer, and director of cinematics. Bridging the divide between left and right hemispheres, he also designed and coded the Ultima IX particle and magic effects system as well as wrote/directed/edited all the cinematics for that project. After art directing Ultima Online: Third Dawn, Michael joined Eric at Fever Pitch Studios then moved on to a full-time, freelance career as a cinematographer. He returned to game development with the successful funding of Star Citizen and produced “Wingman’s Hangar” as well as dozens of behind-the-scene programs. He’ll be bringing that experience to the community outreach programming for Descent: Underground.
DESCENT is a registered trademark or trademark of Interplay Entertainment Corp. in the U.S. and other countries, and is used under license. All rights reserved.
Risks and challenges
Okay, let’s get real. Yep, we’re booting this development from scratch. There’s a lot that can go wrong between funding and delivery of the game we’re promising. We could run dry on funds, lose key people, mistake our original goals, and/or just not deliver the level of quality we imagined.
Well, okay, not quite from scratch. We’re starting with Unreal Engine 4 as our off-the-shelf platform, a team experienced with integrating multiple front-end and back-end subsystems, and a creative group with the vision to deliver top-flight game design and artwork.
Our challenge, here, is to assure we properly scope both the project and ongoing revenues, and manage it well throughout the development. Eric Peterson is a multi-successful producer with a penchant for negotiating great deals and motivating his team through inspiration and example. Our project manager, Phil Tittle, is focused on preventing runaway costs and assuring we hit milestones. Our CTO, Jason Spangler, will guide us in making good technological decisions, allowing us to stay focused on getting the game done in an efficient manner.
Descendent Studios is a small team of very key people. Fortunately, we’re incredibly dedicated to reviving the Descent 6DoF genre and are really excited to see this through. That, along with a tightly scheduled development cycle to deliver our alpha and gold master releases, should decrease our risk of losing a vital person.
Our biggest challenge is not overestimating what we can do with the funds, time, and team we’ve planned for the game’s development. Fortunately, our key people have all been responsible for delivering several successful game projects including Starlancer, Gods and Heros: Rome Rising, Ultima Online: Third Dawn, and Conquest: Frontier Wars. We’ll be applying all our experience and craft to delivering Descent: Underground on time and within budget.
We really want to play this game. We really do. Anything less than what we promise is unacceptable.
In the end, we depend on our backers and tight-knit community to watch and respond as we dive into one more game project. It is your ongoing critical feedback that will keep us on our toes and sprinting to delivery.
(The Kickstarer video and graphic elements are a gameplay visualization created in Unreal Engine 4 with WIP assets.)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes, single-player is a part of our roadmap.
Our multi-player is already co-op of a sort, and we plan to add cooperative play to our single-player game, as well.
You will have a hangar where you can view and customize your ships.
As we are a prequel to the original, most of those ships have not been invented just yet; however, that does not mean they won't be, or at least their original designs won't start showing up in the universe. We understand the responsibility of working with such a beloved IP, and we love the fact that we get to reboot it with so many passionate fans around to help steer us right. Make sure you show up on the Descendent Studios forums as we discuss how we honor Descent while bringing the game into the 21st century graphically and with additional game play and types. That is the fun of doing this with crowd funding: you have a voice - and we want you to use it.
We are building the game in the Unreal 4 Engine.
From the Unreal support page:
Unreal Engine 4 enables all developers to deploy projects to Windows PC, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, VR (supporting Oculus Rift and Gear VR now, as well as others coming soon), Linux, SteamOS, and HTML5.
Now we won't be supporting tablets or other mobile devices, at least not initially with the full game, but we do plan to support the rest of the platforms that Unreal Engine 4 supports.
We do not currently have any plans for console releases.
Oh boy, do we love us some good VR! So much is going on in this space, and we plan to be all over it with VR support. UnrealEngine 4 already supports multiple VR options, so we will be right there with them supporting it out of the gate.
We will have no DRM (digital rights management).
We are a prequel: our game happens before the original Descent and we will set up the story for the original trilogy. More will be revealed about this on our forums.
The short answer is no, there is no subscription required to play this game. Subscribing allows special access on our forums and to live broadcast design meetings. It is an extra way to support the development of the game, and is a voluntary option - nothing more. No one ever has to subscribe to play.
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