It's been well over a year since we last looked at Underworld Ascendant, when developer Otherside Entertainment unveiled the "authored look" of the spiritual successor to the groundbreaking immersive sim/RPG Ultima Underworld. A trailer released at PAX South over the past weekend showcases some of the progress that's been made since then, and it appears that things are coming along quite nicely.
The video features Warren Spector, Paul Neurath, and Tim Stellmach talking about the history of the immersive sim sub-genre, and how Underworld Ascendant aims to differentiate itself from the current crop of those games.
"A lot of modern adventure games have gone in the direction of really trying to script tighter and tighter moments, that everything is very carefully crafted," Stellmach says. "You have your own ideas about the kind of experience you want to have, and our goal is to allow you to do that—to put together a system where all of you, with all your different answers to the questions, are all right."
But the real hook here (for me, anyway) are the snippets of the Stygian Abyss itself seen in the video and the screens below. It's not "realistic," which is no surprise—the studio eschewed the "reality bug" in the April 2016 update—but it looks great, and it's not as though realism is high on the list of requirements for a game about exploring an underground fantasy world anyway. What matters is that it's engaging and believable, and in that regard I think Otherside looks to be on the right path.
Underworld Ascendant is expected to be out in the second half of this year.