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Underworld Ascendant Update #22: Skeleton screenshots, prototype update coming later this month

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Underworld Ascendant Update #22: Skeleton screenshots, prototype update coming later this month

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 5 April 2016, 14:21:54

Tags: Nate Wells; OtherSide Entertainment; Paul Neurath; Underworld Ascendant; Warren Spector

Nearly 13 months after being funded on Kickstarter, Underworld Ascendant recently finally reached its $925K stretch goal, adding a new kind of undead monster called the Wailing Haunt to the game. Appropriately, in yesterday's update, OtherSide published two screenshots of Underworld's undead - skeletons, to be precise - rendered in art director Nate Wells' signature "authored look". I quote:

As you may've already seen, we revealed Underworld Ascendant's new "authored look" to the public today. Again, the art style is the brainchild of our art director Nate Wells, who joined the team last fall and worked previously on the BioShock series, The Last of Us, and System Shock 2.

In Nate's own words: "I want to recapture a retro sense of fantasy, fantasy the way our inner child remembers it. For Underworld Ascendant, I thought, 'What if the world bore the authorship of a tabletop game?' Think of the old lead figures, the miniature play fields. What if the game used that philosophy of everything looking and being hand-crafted? Natural, man-made. All of it looks like it was sculpted by an artist."

We gave backers an early glimpse before, but these latest shots show the first look at creatures in this style. Specifically, some of Underworld Ascendant's bony undead.​

Nate Wells went into further detail about his "authored look" in a press release posted at GameWatcher, with commentary from Paul Neurath and Warren Spector:

"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."

"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 Looking Glass’ design tenets, where players are empowered to tell their own stories."
Personally, I think the environments look swell, but the 90s CGI-style skeletons are maybe a bit much. From looking at reactions to these screenshots across the web, it seems that lots of people have the same impression, so I wouldn't be surprised if OtherSide scramble to change them now. It is possible that they'll look better in motion, though. According to the update, the game's prototype is set to receive a new area called the "Beautiful Corner" later this month, featuring these environments and presumably, the skeletons who live in them.

There are 55 comments on Underworld Ascendant Update #22: Skeleton screenshots, prototype update coming later this month

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