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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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Google engineers successfully hacked the PS Portal to run emulated PSP games

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After about a month of work, a couple of Google employees have successfully hacked the PS Portal, PlayStation’s handheld streaming solution. Their project is not set for public release anytime soon, but the hack is purely software-based, eliminating the need for hardware exploitation.

Andy Nguyen, a cloud vulnerability researcher, and Calle Svensson, a security engineer, shared their latest project on Twitter. They successfully ran the PSP emulator PPSSPP on the PS Portal. They presented the 2005 PSP classic Grand Theft Auto: Liberty Stories.

https://x.com/theflow0/status/1759627938910089575?s=20

As a wireless streaming device, the idea of playing games on the PS Portal without a PS5 providing the power was considered impossible. It’s quite surprising how quickly Nguyen and Svensson have overcome this initial hurdle. It remains to be seen where their efforts will take them, but we will definitely keep an eye on their progress. Nguyen expressed that there is still a lot of work left to do.

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Lady Gaga reveals collaboration with Fortnite for upcoming festival and addresses typo

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Lady Gaga, also known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has teased an upcoming collaboration with Fortnite Festival set to be unveiled soon. More pertinent to our specific attention to detail, Gaga has also admitted to a mistake made around four years ago, indicating her keen awareness of the franchise’s significant value.

Gaga shared a mesmerizing picture of her character in Fortnite and also retweeted a post from 2019 where she asked her fans, “What’s fortnight?”. She finally got the chance to correctly spell the title of the game, allowing us to breathe a sigh of relief after waiting anxiously.

Lady Gaga will be teaming up with other top celebrities to maximize their presence on the Fortnite platform. Travis Scott once hosted a live concert in Battle Royale a couple of years ago, while the Weeknd just premiered the music video for the song “Popular” at the Fortnite Festival.

https://x.com/ladygaga/status/1759986415415459972?s=20

 

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Reflecting on Street Fighter 5’s tumultuous launch, Capcom looks back eight years later

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For those who may not recall, nearly eight years ago today, Street Fighter 5 was released in 2016 in a rather incomplete state. The content available was impressive initially, but the limited number of characters and lack of single-player game modes stood out. Capcom expresses regret for the entire situation, offering apologies years later for having “betrayed” players’ expectations.

On SF5’s eighth anniversary, the developers must be feeling nostalgic. They recently posted a Japanese-language tweet looking back on the mistakes made and the challenges that were eventually overcome. The number of playable characters has grown to 45, and the game has seen various enhancements, including the introduction of new abilities such as V Skills/Trigger II and V Shift. Even now, hundreds of thousands of players still choose to play this game instead of the newer Street Fighter 6.
Have you had the chance to try out Street Fighter 5 since it was first released? What do you recall about the game’s reception? Take a trip down memory lane in the comments section below.

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