Utopias and You
Woven into the fabric of the original Ultima Underworld backstory was the story of a fallen utopia. A few years before the Avatar arrives, the knight Sir Cabirus led a band into the Stygian Abyss on a quest to establish a utopian colony. His dream was to bring together the often feuding factions of the Abyss into peaceful coexistence. Through sheer determination Cabirus nearly succeeded. But ultimately his experiment failed, and the Abyss stumbled back into chaos.
I’ve always had a fascination with utopias. How in fiction, as in world history, utopias seem to inevitably fall from their lofty goals, like Icarus flying too close to the sun. The all-too-brief shining moment when Greek democracy blossomed, then swiftly collapsed. In Tolkien’s fiction, the short-lived attempt by Balin to reestablish a dwarven colony in Moria. There are myriad stories of utopias fallen. Yet that seems not to discourage each new generation from trying.
Games besides Ultima Underworld have taken up this thread. A recent example is the BioShock games; although these particular stories are a shade more dystopian.
Either way, there seems to be a universal appeal to stories about those striving to build a grand society. We are fascinated by their hubris. Of their trying to rewrite established rules of how communities function to forge something new. We root for them to succeed, while knowing they are ultimately doomed.
We are revisiting the theme of utopia failed with Underworld Ascendant. We want to explore the theme at a deeper level than in the original game. The player finds themselves in a central role, choosing how they fit into an experiment of a utopia that is being torn ragged. Do they pick up the frayed threads of Cabirus’ dream and try to knit things back together? Do they nudge the Abyss back towards an apparently inevitable state of chaos? Or follow some other path? I think it is story worth telling.
We want to remind people that the first in a series of Twitch sessions we are calling OtherSide plays LookingGlass takes place tomorrow, February 18th from 3pm – 6pm EST.
In this first session Paul, Tim and some surprise guests will be playing Thief. Contrary to how Garrett prefers to go about his business, Paul and Tim will be talking up a storm while they play, recounting tales from the game's development. They'll also be giving away some free copies of the game. Don't miss out on the fun!
Things are picking up on the social media front. We've gained over 200 likes since we asked for you to like our Facebook page. And Twitter has been on fire with news of Terri Brosius and Stephen L. Russell lending their voice talents to Underworld Ascendant. For those of you wanting to help fan the social flames, we have created the following banners/headers you can use to help spread the word.
Please share these liberally!
Finally, we want to let everyone know that this will be our last evening update. No, don't be sad! We are simply moving our update release times to the mornings (EST) to better accommodate our European friends. The good news in this is that our next update will be coming out tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, a scant 14 hours from now, and it's going to be a doozy!
The Team at OtherSide