Ultima Underworld Spiritual Successor in the Works

[UPDATE] Kickstarter campaign goes live, asking for $600,000.

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[UPDATE] The Kickstarter campaign for Underworld Ascendant, which is asking for $600,000, is now online. For more information and to contribute, head to the campaign page here.

The original story is below.

Classic PC role-playing series Ultima Underworld is making a comeback.

After announcing last summer that he had acquired the rights to make a new Underworld RPG, Paul Neurath and his Boston-based studio Otherside Entertainment today announced plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign for Underworld Ascendant on February 4.

A spiritual successor to 1993's Ultima Underworld II, Ascendant is being worked on by Neurath--who co-founded original Underworld studio Looking Glass, and a number of other veterans. The team has not yet disclosed a funding goal for the project.

Concept art for Ascendant
Concept art for Ascendant

"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.

"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," he added. "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 went on to say the classic Underworld games were "years ahead of their time" and "didn't fit into the established genres of that era." This is partly the cause of the series falling out of the spotlight, Neurath contends.

"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," he said.

About Ascendant, Neurath stressed that the game will "retain the distinctive fantasy RPG gameplay of the originals." At the same time, he made clear that the game will "push forward with new innovations."

Neurath went on to say that Otherside already has an early prototype of Ascendant running on PC. But the game won't happen without the help of fans, he said.

"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," Neurath said. "We aren't shy about our ambitions to make a great game, but that takes serious resources and effort."

"Beyond funding, we are inviting you in on the making of Underworld Ascendant. Rarely have fans been able to participate in the often unpredictable, sometimes messy creative process that gives birth to innovative games. We hope you’ll join us on this adventure!"

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