I've just landed in Austin for SXSW 2018, a music and film festival that's become an emerging place for discussions about games and other interactive media over the past few years. On Friday, I'll be moderating a panel between two legendary developers—Warren Spector and Paul Neurath, whose credits include Deus Ex, Thief II, System Shock, and other beloved PC games.
We're there to talk about Ultima Underworld and its modern successor, Underworld Ascendant. Ultima Underworld is probably the most important PC game (opens in new tab) you might not have heard of. In '92, a little before Wolfenstein 3D, Underworld delivered a fully-realized 3D RPG driven by the player's decisions, laying the technical and creative groundwork for everything from The Elder Scrolls series to BioShock, Dishonored, and the entire 'immersive sim' genre.
This was an RPG where you had to do much more than swing your sword to solve problems. Enemies inhabited an open, multi-level world you had to map and explore yourself. Some creatures spoke languages that you could decode. Your character had to eat and rest, and utilize a novel rune combination system to discover spells.
If you're at SXSW tomorrow, we'd love to see you there to talk more about the significance of Underworld and how it's taking a new form in Underworld Ascendant, OtherSide Games' follow-up to this beloved classic.
"Exploring 'Underworld Ascendant' with PC Gamer" (opens in new tab)
Where: AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER GAMING EXPO - DISCOVERY STAGE - EXHIBIT HALL 2
When: Friday, March 16, 2018 | 2-3 PM
If you're not waking up in Texas tomorrow, don't worry—I should be able to post footage from the panel pretty soon, and I'll be talking more Spector and Neurath while I'm here for coverage.