It’s been a while since we checked in with Underworld Ascendant, and a lot has happened. For starters, the OtherSide team have brought Nate Wells (art director on The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite and Rise of the Tomb Raider) on board as Art Director.
Then in October they released a video walkthrough of their first prototype, which you can watch below. Looks pretty good, right? The visual quality has certainly come on leaps and bounds since the screens shown off during the campaign. Dynamic lighting, dripping lava, and some complex particle effects are all on show as our rogue creeps through The Stygian Abyss. Then we get a brief glimpse of a rather plasticky shadow beast with some very clunky animations. Still some work to do on the visual front, but excellent progress nonetheless.
The prototype walkthrough starts with our heroine entering The Elemental Forge, virtually unarmed. We soon learn that she’s here to find an artefact which has been stored away in the heart of this stalled volcano. No sooner than she grabs it, she is attacked by the aforementioned shadow beast. With no way to defend herself, she is forced to run. As she makes her escape, she is able to interact with the environment to set traps and discourage the beast from following her. Finally she is able to defeat the beast without ever laying a hand on it.
It’s just one of many ways of approaching the game according to the developers and it’s this kind of true “role play” which I find most appealing about the new footage. It also shows that you don’t have to be creating a sandbox game in order to give players choice and let them tackle objectives in their own way.
I was a bit disappointed to learn that the voiceover which plays throughout the walkthrough is only for demonstration purposes. I was actually thinking that this kind of internal monologue would work really well. Realistically though, it would be hugely expensive to do and you would have to do male and female versions at the very least.
OtherSide indicate that they will be going into full production on Underworld Ascendant in 2016 so hopefully they’ll have more updates of this quality for us soon.