The creative team developing Underworld Ascendant got a big boost recently, in the form of Nate Wells. If the name doesn’t ring any immediate bells, then let’s go over his resume. He was the art director of such recent hits as Bioshock Infinite, the Last of Us and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Given that all three of these games look gorgeous, that’s a promising sign for Underworld Ascendant.
But Nerd Stash, we hear you cry, what is Underworld Ascendant and why should we care? Well, it depends on; if you’re more of a Call of Duty player, then move along as there is nothing here that will interest you. RPG players, you may want to pull up a chair as we’re about to dig into some RPG history.
Underworld Ascendant is the spiritual successor of the ‘Ultima Underworld’ games and ties into the ‘Shroud of the Avatar’ (which is, itself a spiritual successor to the main Ultima series). This is big news because the Ultima series (first appearing at the start of the eighties) is to Western RPGs what Final Fantasy is to Eastern RPGs. It defined the basic aspects of the genre that we take for granted. From customizable player characters to open world gameplay; you can trace the DNA back to the Ultima series. The player character is the Avatar, a normal person from our world who is pulled into the mystical world of Brittania. The series even spawned one of the earliest MMORPGs; set in an alternate timeline where the Avatar didn’t return to Brittania after the first game.
Underworld Ascendant was successfully kickstarted earlier in the year and tells the story of an Avatar who is summoned to the Stygian Abyss. Trapped in this dangerous new world, the Avatar must find their place amidst rising tensions between the three factions that call the abyss home.