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Development Info Underworld Ascendant Update #8: Joe Fielder on Dwarves, Wailing Haunt mini-stretch goal


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Staff Member
Jan 28, 2011
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Tags: Joe Fielder; OtherSide Entertainment; Underworld Ascendant

Shortly after its previous update, Underworld Ascendant finally achieved its $900k stretch goal, adding localization and liches to the game. The next stretch goal at $950k according to the Kickstarter campaign's original plans is the Necropolis of the Ancients, a new location, but as before, OtherSide are adding an intermediate mini-stretch goal at $925k. Today's update has the details on that, along with a new lore-related missive from narrative designer Joe Fielder. Here's an excerpt from that:

One of the things I learned from working on Irrational's BioShock series is that research is absolutely essential to good world-building. It's also incredibly fun. By digging through primary historical sources, you get a real sense of how people spoke, thought, went through their daily lives, and more. You pick up little details that make a world feel real, which then in turn helps make the fantastical elements of your setting seem more believable.

To give an example, the target we've given for our Dwarves is that they're true mountain folk: rugged frontier types who are smart and wary, like early pioneers like Kit Carson mixed with HBO's Deadwood and Jack London's White Fang.

I'd since add to that: "Imagine the cast of Deadwood, if they were all members of MENSA." Essentially raise the entire camp's collective IQ up to the 98th percentile or higher. How would characters in that intelligence bracket survive and thrive as pioneers in harsh subterranean conditions? Seems like a pretty fun challenge.

That basically means I get to do a lot of reading into newspapers, journals, and correspondences from North America in the 1600s and early 1800s to try to nail a perspective, tone, and canter of speech generally along those lines.

Since it is fiction, you can definitely take certain allowances. In fact, sometimes you're dealing with your audience's view of time periods and cultures rather than representing them 100% accurately. (Irrational's Ken Levine once mentioned the reaction to his initial pass at dialogue for BioShock was that it was unrealistic for the 1950s. His research had shown that while people at the time wrote fairly formally, they spoke pretty loosely, similarly to how we do today. After he adjusted the script to meet expectations, it was judged to be more authentic.) But this kind of legwork gives you an excellent start.

Beyond all that, your societies need a coherent, compelling philosophy... one that's generally reasonable and relatable, but that actively puts them at odds with others in your game world. That way when conflict arises, each side will have a justifiable viewpoint, no one will come off as bland, generic good or evil, and it'll ideally be a bit of a tragedy.

I'll stop just short of detailing our Dwarf faction's particular worldview, since it's tied into that aforementioned, upcoming game demo. But suffice to say, we hope their philosophy and character should combines into an original take on Dwarves you've never experienced before. That's our goal, which has been really fun to tackle.​

And the new stretch goal:

$900,000 Stretch Goal Achieved!

This past week we reached the Language Localization $900,000 stretch goal! We're now going to localize the game in French, Italian, German and Spanish. We're also going to add Liches to the game. Huge thanks to all our existing and new fans for the continued support.

Next stretch goal up is the $950,000 Necropolis of the Ancients. Darkness upon darkness; ancient beyond reckoning. Only the stout-hearted enter this accursed underworld city. With your help, let's bring this city of the dead to life!

We are also adding a mini-goal at the $925,000 mark, the Wailing Haunt. Haunts are a class of spectral creatures that hate all things living. The Wailing Haunt is blind in the conventional sense, but can sense the motion of the living and are drawn to it. If you are still they may pass right by you unawares, but if you make a run for it they are sure to pursue hard. They also have a piercing cry that can deafen and attract other undead. Let's show our courage and entreat the Wailing Haunt to the Underworld.
With this dwarven demo coming up, hopefully they'll able to make that stretch goal faster than they made this one.


Pretty Princess
Pretty Princess Glory to Ukraine
Mar 10, 2003
Stuck playing a human? FUCK OFF.

1st person combat? FUCK OFF.

Vorpal Bunny? FUCK OFF.

Share with non existent friends? FUCK OFF.


I came for the dwarves and all I got was bullshitz.


that 950k necropolis stretch goal could be interesting*..SotA already has its own and unless someone backs off, interconnecting the two is still a goal

(interesting if like me you have sadistic tendencies, appreciate heavy irony, black humour and so on)

i want to be able to wear my SotA wedding gown in Underdressed Ascendant as well! While traversing the perilous lol corridors of the necropolis. You never know!

..Love is in the air
Everywhere I look around
Love is in the air


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