Underworld Ascendant Reveals New “Authored Look” Art Style

Otherside Entertainment has revealed a new direction for their successfully kickstartered RPG, Underworld Ascendant. According to art director Nate Wells, this new design philosophy, which he calls the “authored look”, is a direct response to the hyper-realism seen in recent movies and games.

Wells, who worked as art director on Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us, and Rise of the Tomb Raider, had a lot to say about the new style:

    There’s a ‘reality bug’ going around in TV, film, and games, where fantasy has become inundated by gritty photo-realism. With Underworld Ascendant, I want to bring back more whimsy and less brooding.
    I asked myself, ‘What if the world bore the authorship of a tabletop game? Think of the old lead figures and miniature play fields… Everything appears hand-crafted, as if sculpted by an artist, with a genuine sense of levity and naiveté to the art.

Otherside founder Paul Neurath went on to say that the new look is intended to encourage exploration of the world by the player, and create a counterpart to Underworld Ascendant’s Improvisation Engine.

Underworld Ascendant has no official release date, but backers will have access to the prototype later this month.

Carl Batchelor


Carl is both a JRPG fan and a CRPG'er who especially loves European PC games. Even with more than three decades of gaming under his belt, he feels the best of the hobby is yet to come.

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  1. Immahnoob
    April 5, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Das some pretentious way to describe this.

    Then again, it looks nice… I do want a comparison though.

  2. Softclocks
    April 5, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Looks good.

  3. Master Bating
    Master Bating
    April 5, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    I agree, lot of words when he could have just said “surrealism”.

  4. Bitterbear
    April 5, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Looks like an HD version of Ultima Underworld 2.

  5. scemar
    April 5, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    It reminds me of those old pre CGI stop motion sequences of skeletons or dinosaurs in old movies. Mixed with old PC game look, but obviously it does look better and merely emulates that look.

    It’s a very cool look, glad to see someone trying to aim for something stylistic of this fashion.

    Things certainly get dull when everyone’s goal is the same, photorealism, so having the initiative to branch out towards different art styles is the only way the industry can remain visually exciting.

  6. NuclearKangaroo
    April 5, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    i can safely say that i dig it

  7. epicurius7
    April 6, 2016 at 4:41 am

    I can definitely see a Bioshock Infinite vibe there (giant statues in the distance, etc). Good thing the art direction was the only thing I loved about that game.

  8. Frisky☆Jester
    April 6, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    I like this. Gives me that you have a boner but it’s to something weird but its not necessarily something you would be opposed to feel. Like that I want to experiment with this sort of feel.