Underworld Ascendant, the spiritual successor to the legendary first-person dungeon crawler Ultima Underworld, will arrive on November 15, publisher 505 Games announced today, a slight pushback from the September schedule that was announced earlier this year. With Gamescom kicking off tomorrow, 505 also dropped a new trailer showcasing some new environments, enemies, and subterranean gameplay.
The setup is very Underworld-like: Typhon, Father of Monsters and nemesis of Zeus, threatens the Abyss (and, one would assume, the overworld as well) and it falls to you, "the Ascendant," to squelch that nonsense before it gets out of hand. Doing so will require collecting the secrets held by the game's three quarreling factions and putting them all together into a big ol' can of god-slaying whoop-ass. Developer Otherside Games promises an experience powered by choice: Players "must think creatively to devise unique solutions to overcome the challenges they face in the Abyss."
I was disappointed by James' June preview of Underworld Ascendant, because I dearly love Ultima Underworld and anything less than perfection in a follow-up—even a distant one like this—will almost certainly leave me crushed and embittered. But then I decided that I don't care what he thinks, and I've felt a lot better about it since.
He might be on to something, though. The trailers I've seen so far look like interesting tech demos, but they don't seem to say much about Ascendant as a game: Why you're in the Abyss, who else is in there with you, and how you'll be able to deal with them. Physics puzzles have their place but it was the quieter, more unexpected moments, like making rotworm stew, chatting with ghouls, or falling through a goblin toilet to the level below, that really made Ultima Underworld unforgettable. I'd like to start seeing some of that in Underworld Ascendant.
Underworld Ascendant will go for $30 on Steam.