Looking Glass Studios’ classic CRPG series Ultima Underworld is coming back in a big way. Last summer, studio co-founder Paul Neurath announced that he acquired the rights to the series, and was prepping up a new game.
Now, we’ve finally gotten a bit of substantial information for the title. The new game, Underworld Ascendant, is being developed in-house by his new studio, Otherside Entertainment. They have a Kickstarter planned to launch on February 4th:
“When we completed Ultima Underworld II in 1993, I never imagined that this classic fantasy RPG franchise would go dark for the two decades,” Neurath said on the project’s official website. Neurath continued:
“The Underworlds were arguably the first immersive first-person games. Not only were they the first to create a real-time 3D texture-mapped world, they also pioneered player-driven sandbox gameplay. They influenced a whole generation of games: Doom, Thief,Deus Ex, Skyrim, BioShock, and more. Today, leading game designers view the Underworlds as still astonishingly modern in design.”
Neurath reminisced over the classic Underworld games, saying they were “years ahead of their time” and that they “didn’t fit into the established genres of that era.” He attributes this to the series becoming somewhat forgotten.
“Over the years I’ve tried without success to raise the Underworld series back up. Just now have the stars aligned so this can happen. I started OtherSide Entertainment an indie studio to rekindle this classic.”
Neurath is putting an emphasis on Ascendant retaining “the distinctive fantasy RPG gameplay of the originals.” However, this is a new game, so he also pointed out that Ascendant will “push forward with new innovations.”
Finally, regarding funding the game, Neurath said that while Otherside is prototyping the game already, they need the help from their fans:
“This can only happen with your help. As an indie studio, we are looking to our fans to fund a significant portion of the development through our upcoming Kickstarter campaign, which begins on February 4. We aren’t shy about our ambitions to make a great game, but that takes serious resources and effort.”
So what do you guys think? Is it exciting to see the series come back?