“There’s a ‘reality bug’ going around in TV, film, and games, where fantasy has become inundated by gritty photo-realism,” Nate Wells, the art director at Underworld Ascendant studio OtherSide Entertainment, said in a new update on the game's progress. “With Underworld Ascendant, I want to bring back more whimsy and less brooding.”
To do that, the studio is using what it calls an “authored look” for Underworld Ascendant, which aims to recreate the “fantastical feel” of tabletop gaming with miniatures. “I asked myself, ‘What if the world bore the authorship of a tabletop game?’” Wells said. “Think of the old lead figures and miniature play fields… Everything appears hand-crafted, as if sculpted by an artist, with a genuine sense of levity and naiveté to the art.”
OtherSide released three screens showing off the art style, and while they presumably don't reflect the final state of the game or its visual quality, they are exciting. I like photorealism as much as the next guy, but you don't need to look any further than the original Ultima Underworld for proof that it's not a necessary component of an unforgettable dungeoneering experience.
“This will be an Underworld for the 21st century,” OtherSide Austin Studio Director Warren Spector said. “It's a modern continuation of Looking Glass' design tenets, where players are empowered to tell their own stories.”
Find out more at underworldascendant.com.