About this project
Thank you to all of our backers and fans for making the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter an amazing success. We cannot express our gratitude enough. Now we will humbly begin the process of making the game all of us have been dreaming about for over 20 years.
This grand party will now move over to our website, where we will continue to keep you updated, continue to have live events, keep the chatter going on our forums, and have new votes for you to share your voice. Together, we will roll forward with the adventure of bringing Underworld Ascendant to life!
We’re also going to continue to crowd-fund the game, so that we can reach at least a few more of the Stretch Goals that are not reached during this Kickstarter. Moving the funding to our website means that we will now begin accepting pledges via PayPal.
For those of you who use PayPal and were unable to pledge during the Kickstarter please head over the our website and join us at last!
In 1992, Ultima Underworld changed the rules of what a fantasy RPG could be. It introduced the concept of 3D immersion, a player-authored experience, and an open-world to explore. It is among the all-time greatest PC RPG’s ever made.
For two decades this legend has been hidden away in the deepest vaults of its publisher. The game’s original creators, who founded LookingGlass and 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.
Some of the Stretch Goals unlock Kickstarter exclusive, in-game digital STRETCH GOAL items. Upon achieving a Stretch Goal, all backers at ADVENTURER Tier or higher will automatically receive such STRETCH GOAL item. While these items are fun and exclusive, mainly they are just cosmetically unique. None provide a competitive edge over players who might not have them, so as to keep the game balanced for all.
Go HERE for full description of Stretch Goals.
The original Ultima Underworld was released in 1992. Players and critics were blown away by this innovative take on a fantasy RPG. It was the first game to have a texture mapped first-person 3D world. Beyond its cutting-edge visuals, it heralded an era of sandbox, open-world play.
The Underworld series continues to this day to inform modern game design. Here are a few games that credit it as an inspiration:
Here’s what some leading game developers say:
Richard Garriott (Ultima, Shroud of the Avatar) – “For those of us lifelong gamers that go back to the early days the Underworld franchise, created by Paul Neurath, represents a watershed event on what an immersive 3D true role-playing game can be. Personally I am as excited about Underworld returning as any game I can imagine.”
Ken Levine (BioShock) – “Underworld had a transformative effect on my understanding of what games were. It was the first time I ever felt ‘inside’ of an imaginary world. It was the game that primed all my creative ambitions.”
Chris Roberts (Star Citizen, Wing Commander) – “Underworld was the first truly 3D textured first person game… it influenced pretty much all first person 3D games that came afterwards.”
CLICK HERE to read more about what legendary game developers are saying.
Far more than a dungeon crawl, Underworld Ascendant is a next-generation sequel to the legendary fantasy RPG’s Ultima Underworld & Ultima Underworld 2. It not only modernizes the series’ visuals and user interface to take full advantage of the today’s powerful PC’s, it innovates in bold new ways.
Next Generation 3D Immersion
Here's how we’re going to raise the bar with the visuals of the game::
THE UNDERWORLD AS A CHARACTER
No other game has such a vivid imagining of an underground fantasy realm as Underworld Ascendant. The Stygian Abyss is a vast world unto itself…
Plunder ancient temples, navigate subterranean rivers, gaze in wonder at the masterwork of jade dwarven halls, scale plunging ice caverns, trek through enchanted forests of giant mushrooms, dare shadowy tombs of the undead, and much more.
Alive with bustling underground societies: enclaves of human renegades scavenging for survival, villages of the mysterious shambler “mushroom people” performing arcane rituals, dwarven factories producing the finest arms and armor.
Face monstrous creatures like the ripper, a vicious, ambulatory plant whose bark is prized by The Stygian Abyss’ intelligent races; stay clear of mass migrations of ravenous rotworms; dodge the giant spider’s sticky webs it casts through the air.
Alter the environment to your advantage. Flood an arid plain to help the damp-loving shamblers expand their territory, gaining their favor. Changes you make can ripple across the game's reactive, ever-changing ecology, producing startlingly unpredictable results.
Meet shrewd characters, with their own motivations and agendas. Some may be swayed to your cause, while others may manipulate you.
Encounter rugged dwarf frontiersmen, fierce dark elf renegades, and strangely alien shamblers. Each faction holds a valid claim to The Stygian Abyss. Which side will you join? Will you unite, or destroy?
Entangle yourself in a tale of intrigue and conflict as three fierce, rival factions struggle for control. Your choices will determine the ultimate fate of The Stygian Abyss.
Runegates connect to other worlds as well, including the lands of the Shroud of the Avatar. Over the eons travelers have spanned these worlds, including a band of rogue dark elves who set themselves up in The Stygian Abyss. Discover how these worlds have intertwined over the ages.
THE IMPROVISATION ENGINE
Do you enjoy the freedom of choice in sandbox games like Deus Ex or Elder Scrolls? The team at OtherSide in large part invented this style of experience with the original Ultima Underworld -- now they intend to take it to the next level.
At the heart of Underworld Ascendant's distinctive gameplay is the Improvisation Engine, which gives you an array of tools to think up your own ingenious solutions to challenges.
For instance, how to cross a subterranean river guarded by deadly lurker?
What’s your clever solution?
Underworld Ascendant's Improvisation Engine encourages you to experiment and unlock your creative potential. Devise clever techniques that even the game's designers haven't imagined yet!
Experience engaging first-person combat. Launch yourself into fluid, running battles where maneuvering and timing are everything. Utilize your environment to stack the odds in your favor.
Collect magical runes bristling with power. Learn to combine them to surprising effect. Discover potent spells like Charm Creature, Hailstones, and Clairvoyant Eye. Experiment to customize and improve their effects.
Obtain rare and powerful weapons and armor. Align with the dwarves to acquire masterfully-crafted plate mail. Trade with dark elves to gain access to an arsenal of enchanted weaponry.
CREATE YOUR OWN CHARACTER CLASS
Think outside the box of formalized character classes and concoct your own one-of-a-kind adventurer.
Jump right into the game choosing from a Fighter, Mage or Thief. But from there you are free to customize your Avatar to your individual play style.
Mix and match your favorite skills and perks. Create a mage skilled at stealth, a fighter who can summon spectral allies, or the ultimate thief.
Join a faction and gain special perks that improve your abilities to alter the environment, traverse obstacles, or craft traps.
STRETCH TRADITIONAL RPG BOUNDARIES
Stretch Goals will allow us innovate even further, adding companion creatures, co-op, user-crafted content, and more…
Crave fellowship and a companion creature? Vote for the addition of a vorpal bunny or mini-brain.
Use the Underworld Builder Toolkit to craft your own corner of the Stygian Abyss, and share it with friends.
Need a fighter's prowess in combat, a mage’s spell craft, or a thief's lock pick skills? Invite a friend to join you online for a cut of the loot. All your buddies’ offline? Use a Doppelganger Gem to borrow a friend's character as an invulnerable ethereal companion AI.
CLICK HERE to learn even more about the game, and to see more videos, concept art, and more!
The OtherSide Entertainment team members have worked on over 25 award-winning games. This includes such standout games as Ultima Underworld, System Shock, Thief, Deus Ex, GEX, Neverwinter Nights, Dishonored, Medal of Honor, Uncharted, Last of Us, Dungeons & Dragons Online, and BioShock Infinite to name some.
The team is headed up by Paul Neurath. Paul was the founder of Blue Sky Productions, where he came up with the concept of Ultima Underworld and oversaw its creation. Later Blue Sky became LookingGlass, one of the most renowned indie studios of the 1990’s. Paul continued to innovate, overseeing the development of such beloved games as System Shock and Thief. As founder of OtherSide Entertainment, Paul orchestrated the return of Underworld, and is once again setting the creative vision for the latest incarnation.
OtherSide takes a collaborative approach to development with small, tight-knit teams. Joining Paul is a team of superbly talented and proven game developers. Some played key roles on Ultima Underworld, System Shock, Thief and/or on more recent landmarks in the genre that have been influenced by these games. All share a passion for bringing Underworld back!
CLICK HERE learn more about our team members.
Below is visual summary of each Pledge Tier. You can also read more in-depth descriptions of the Rewards HERE.
The Dark Elves of the Stygian Abyss are long sundered from their kinsman in the distant lands of the Shroud of the Avatar. This ‘Kinsman’ buckler has a solitary moonstone that will glow with the warmth of kinship if held by kin in both worlds. For any Backers who get a Kinsman Buckler in both games, theirs will glow as well. Even without the glow, this is a finely-crafted buckler that is agile to use, and offers effective protection considering its small size.
It turns out that Bart had a wife. After Bart was turned into a chattering skull, his soon to be deceased wife insisted she too would be. The two can talk up a storm! Sadly, Jabbering Bertha got separated from Bart. Indeed, taken through a portal to the land of the Shroud of the Avatar. For any players who get Bertha as an Add-On in both games, the two will be reunited, and swap some unique quips. Not only that, but Bertha will put on her lipstick for Bart. Please just don’t make any ‘lipstick on a pig’ jokes, Bertha can be sensitive about her looks.
Now you can get a set of Banners, one for each of the 3 factions in the Abyss.These digital Add-Ons are vibrant standards that, when raised by the player, help rally the enthusiasm of nearby members of that faction.Wielding the banner of your favorite faction can give your allies a slight edge in any contest of wills.Just remember not to raise the banner for the other side; unless you relish an extra dose of challenge.
High-quality, maroon Underworld Ascendant t-shirt.Limited edition, Kickstarter exclusive.Comes with a witty slogan, chosen from a fan submission, on back of shirt.Will only be made available to our Kickstarter backers! Comes in sizes S,M,L & XL.Free shipping in US, $15 International.Must pledge at the $35 tier or higher to be able to select this Add-On.
Tracy Hickman’s Underworld Ascendant novel, which tells the story of how the Dark Elves made an exodus to the Stygian Abyss to escape their wizard overlord. DRM-free digital download version for $5.
Tracy Hickman’s Underworld Ascendant novel, which tells the story of how the Dark Elves made an exodus to the Stygian Abyss to escape their wizard overlord. Hardcover special COLLECTOR’S EDITION for $45. FREE shipping in the US, additional $15 for International.
Notes on Add-Ons
To add any of these unique items, when you are logged into your Kickstarter account, click on the blue MANAGE button at the top of this page. From there you can choose to set aside additional pledge funds for the Add-On. Once the Kickstarter campaign is over we'll be sending out a survey through which you will indicate which add-ons you want to buy with your pledge.
After many long years we rescued the Underworld series from the publisher vaults. With your help, we can embark on the next chapter with Underworld Ascendant.
We got the ball rolling with some funding of our own to get development underway, building a playable prototype over the past 4 months. But to take the project through full production and deliver the core PC game, we will need the Kickstarter funding from our fans.
It goes beyond the funding. We’d like you to join us on this creative journey, experiencing first-hand the surprises and fun of genuine innovation. This means having you VOTE on decision around features, items, and creatures. Participating in our forums, livestreams and developer blogs. Depending on your pledge level you will have early access from beta builds to as early as pre-alpha prototype builds.
Don’t be shy. Discuss on the forums, vote on the website! Get involved! We want to hear your thoughts and ideas!
Risks and challenges
Software development is never certain, even more so when you’re trying to innovate. Projects can run late, run into technical hurdles. And it takes more than just getting the program to work, you’ve also got to make it fun! Never easy.
Our team does come to this project having delivered over 25 award-winning games, including the original Underworlds, and other more recent games in the genre. There’s a fair chance that we created or influenced some of the most-loved games in your collection. While this track record is no guarantee of success with Underworld Ascendant, it does give us a distinct edge.
Also we’re using tools, like the Unity Engine, that help offset some of the risks, and allow us to more rapidly prototype, test and iterate. We have been in development for four months now, and already have a number of our key systems in the prototype working. Next, we’ll stage our system trials to narrow down unknowns. At each step, your participation will help in refining the game further, which helps up the odds we’ll deliver on the fun.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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