I don’t really think there’s any better way to describe the release of Ultima Underworld’s spiritual successor – Underworld Ascendant – more succinctly than the developers themselves. In an announcement last night, Otherwise Entertainment simply said that “Charitably, the launch of Underworld Ascendant was rough.” In a late attempt to reverse the game’s fortunes, the developer has released a roadmap that essentially promises to overhaul the entire thing, top to bottom.
Otherside’s announcement says that “despite the game’s flaws at launch, we believe there is a core of goodness to Underworld Ascendant.” In an attempt to find that core, the team is digging into several basic aspects of the game’s design, promising to completely overhaul many of them.
The new development roadmap kicks off with an update scheduled for next week. The save function has been redesigned, now allowing players to actually save during quests. The update will also provide changes to combat, AI, questing, items, and player movement. But if that seems like a pretty exhaustive list, rest assured that the team has plenty more planned for the new year.
Underworld Ascendant’s second major update is due in February, and its changes are even more existential. In a somewhat ambitious mission statement, the developers say that “our overall goal for update 2 next year is to continue to make the game more interesting, more fun, easier to understand, and more published.”
To achieve that goal, the team will “focus efforts on player progression, adding variety to the gameplay, and improving the overall player journey through the course of the game.” To help facilitate that, combat’s being made more engaging, with drastically improved AI. Levels are being improved with the addition of environmental storytelling and more enemies, while questing will become “more interesting and less repetitive.”
It’s safe to say that that’s quite the to-do list, promising what feels like an overhaul of most of the core aspects of any game. But it’s not an exhaustive run-down, as the devs seem to have plenty more updates in mind based on the feedback they receive from players over the next couple of months.