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Pre-Alpha of Ultima Underworld sequel Underworld Ascendant is live

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It’s been 25 years since the launch of the original Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss and now players can finally get their hands on the latest sequel, Underworld Ascendant, albeit in the form of a pre-alpha build.

After a Kickstarter campaign that raised just shy of $860,000 over its original $600,000 goal, a pre-alpha demo of the new game is now available to backers who pledged $75 or more. This demo gives a taste of Underworld Ascendant and will be periodically updated with new features. Players who missed out on the campaign can purchase the demo for $5, although they miss out on the rest of the pledge benefits.

Promising a ‘dynamic, player-driven narrative’ and innovations in the sandbox concepts that inspired games like Deus Ex and the Elder Scolls series, Underworld Ascendant certainly has the pedigree behind it.

That’s because it’s being created by OtherSide Entertainment, a team made up of key developers (including original creators Paul Neurath and Warren Spector) that has a history of creating stone cold classics such as System Shock, Thief, Deus Ex and much more.

At its core, Underworld Ascendant is a first-person fantasy RPG that plunges you into ‘The Stygian Abyss’. As you develop your avatar, you begin to explore the vast, subterranean world and the rivaling factions that vie for its dominance.

OtherSide describes how players will be able to experience a fully realized world entangled in an epic story, invite friends to take part in some co-op dungeon crawling and even craft user-generated content for other players.

The other big selling point being pushed is the ‘Improvisation Engine’. Much like the games that were inspired by the original Underworld (and indeed Ultima Underworld itself), this new incarnation in the series is focused on choice. The example we’re given is a player trying to cross a stream. Do they chance a quick jaunt across and potentially face their watery doom? Or do they charm a giant cave spider to carry them across?

OtherSide is promising that this ‘Improvisation Engine’ will encourage players to experiment, potentially devising techniques to progress that even the designers hadn’t thought of. What they call ‘player-authored gameplay’ is a core theme running throughout and is easily the most intriguing aspect of the game so far.

This concept even extends to the combat and exploration. In melee scraps, timing and maneuvering outweigh spamming left click, whereas magic spells can be combined with each other or the environment to potentially greater effect. On the other hand, while you’re exploring you’ll have to improvise solutions to physics based traps and puzzles that threaten to slow your progress.

Time will tell whether Underworld Ascendant has been worth the wait. It’s coming from a team with a storied history but it’s early days. With this studio also developing System Shock 3, it could be a big time coming up for OtherSide Entertainment.

 

 

 

 

 

UK based gaming writer, raised on a diet of Street Fighter and Isometric RPG's. I enjoy playing every game I can get my grubby little hands on.

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Amazon’s great Fallout TV show is nominated for 16 Emmys

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Critics and fans alike went crazy for Amazon’s take on the famous role-playing game series Fallout. There were a lot of nominations for 16 Emmy awards, including Best Actor and Outstanding Drama Series. The show was able to reach audiences outside of gamers and got a lot of attention from the industry.

Eurogamer has been keeping track, and now that all the votes are in, Fallout is tied for fifth place with 23 nominations for the 76th Emmy Awards, which are put on by the US Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. With 25, The Bear has the most nominations, followed by True Detective: Night Country with 23, and Shogun with 19.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Walton Goggins is up for Best Actor for his performance as The Ghoul. Although games will always be our first choice, it’s great that adaptations of games don’t have to be awful, and we can’t wait for the next season of the shows.

Are you surprised by how well Amazon’s version of Fallout has done in the mainstream? Is the curse of movies based on video games finally over? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 Sets Dates for the Next Multiplayer Beta

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 is getting closer and closer, and Activision has announced when players will be able to get their hands on the next game. This means that there will be several chances to try it out before it comes out. If you paid a lot, you might be able to play for more than a week at the end of August and beginning of September.

Call of Duty Early Access will run from Friday, August 30th, to Wednesday, September 4th, as announced on its blog. This is two days after the Call of Duty Next showcase, which is set for August 28th. To play, you must have already bought Black Ops 6.

The open beta is the following weekend, and anyone who wants to can join. The fun will start on Friday, September 6th, and end on Monday, September 9th. The full release is set for October 25th of next month on PS5 and PS4.

How excited are you for the next Call of Duty game? Are you going to play Black Ops 6 in either the Early Access or Open Beta versions? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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Ten million people play The First Descendant in its first week

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The free-to-play shooter The First Descendant has gotten a lot of attention in its first week. The game’s publisher, Nexon, says that 10 million people have already tried it out.

Insider Gaming pointed out that since there is no cost up front, it’s still too early to tell how many of those players will stick around, but it’s still a big number for a new IP. On Steam alone, it peaked at 264,860 concurrents right after launch and has still managed to break 200,000 in the last 24 hours, so it looks like a lot of people are still really into the game.

It was a “mindless and repetitive grind,” and we gave The First Descendant a 3/10 in our review. Of course, that’s just one opinion; other experts have had different ones. Most people, though, say that the game’s annoying free-to-play model is the worst thing about it.

Are you one of the millions of people who played The First Descendant last week? Are you going to come back for more? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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