OtherSide Entertainment has sent over some screenshots for Underworld Ascendant, which the developers says shows the new "authored look" for its modern follow-up to LookingGlass' Ultima Underworld series.
The artwork for Underworld Ascendant is being handled by Nate Wells, who worked as the art director for BioShock Infinite, The Last of Us, and Rise of the Tomb Raider.
OtherSide Entertainment hopes the art replicates the “fantastical feel” of hand-sculpted tabletop miniatures.
“There’s a ‘reality bug’ going around in TV, film, and games,” says Wells, “where fantasy has become inundated by gritty photo-realism. With Underworld Ascendant, I want to bring back more whimsy and less brooding.”
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“I asked myself, ‘What if the world bore the authorship of a tabletop game?’” Wells says on the look’s stylistic origins. “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.”
“The authored look is a unique counterpart to Underworld Ascendant’s Improvisation Engine,” says OtherSide creative director and founder Paul Neurath. “It’s a look that invites the player to interact and explore with the world in a more tangible way.”
“This will be an Underworld for the 21st century,” notes OtherSide Austin studio director Warren Spector, who worked with Neurath on the original Ultima Underworld and System Shock games. “It’s a modern continuation of LookingGlass’ design tenets, where players are empowered to tell their own stories.”
Underworld Ascendant was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter early last year, with backers pledging $860,356 to help bring the project to light. Those backers will get access to the game’s latest update later this month when Prototype Access is made available.