Underworld Ascendant brought to you by Zombie Looking Glass


Because they didn’t have a publisher to throw money at them to keep them going when they were left with zero funds, probably?
It’s either release or cancel in such case, isn’t it?
Never worked in that crazy industry, so I should probably just shut up!


If they were out of money before release, that won’t change now. The game was in the Steam top ten for about two hours and has double-digit player numbers. Maybe 10k copies sold, and most of them refunded.


Underworld Ascendant is the first game from OtherSide Entertainment. Established by the original founder of Looking Glass Studios, OtherSide is essentially Looking Glass 2.0, employing some of the same designers and seemingly sharing the same ideals about game design. Its legacy includes the likes of Thief, System Shock and of course, Ultima Underworld—three mighty pillars of PC gaming. Just take a moment and think about those games, how massively influential and ahead of their time they were. Imagine what those designers could do with today’s technology and tools.

Now imagine the complete opposite. You’ve just imagined Underworld Ascendant.

ouch :(


The Gamereactor review is more positive: https://www.gamereactor.eu/reviews/712903/Underworld+Ascendant/


True, technically, 3/10 is better than 25/100 :)


So many of these points were brought up during the beta, it makes me wonder what the beta was for.

I’m still irked about the defense of this game being “we never intended to design a UU sequel.” So, then the intention was to make an utterly terrible game? They claim to be fixing the save system because they’re listening to the feedback – so, the save system is currently working as intended? You know, there’s probably a very good reason no one ever intentionally designed a save system like this.

The design decisions are so utterly terrible that I’m skeptical a game could be patched and pasted to the janky bones of this mess.


Sure it could. If they fix all the bugs, QoL issues, and polish it up, it could be a fine game. It won’t ever be what the fans expected, but it could be a fine game.


Not the case. There had to be a line in the sand for a ship day. I can’t say more without being destroyed by the grue.

save system
I cannot tell you how much I agree, and lost this fight repeatably. Being fixed–and rage inducing as expected by some of us. As for ‘they did it 20 years ago’ yes and both those teams were triple what we had.

Funny. Sigh.
Door symbols-- yep, bigger fish needed frying…
PC gamer review-- congrats my worst number ever.


Interesting. You have me curious about that postmortem. I hope it gets written.


The thought that even a single person on the team didn’t want save-anywhere is beyond baffling to me, and edges well into “Those responsible should be permanently stripped of any decision-making authority” territory.


Gamer reaction to save game models should not be a surprise. There are quite a few examples from which to choose, so you have to be a bit blindered to end up as a(nother) cautionary tale.


I look forward to reading the post-mortem one day, but I feel like I already know most of it. I imagine you felt the need to live up to the past and ambition ruled over pragmatism. What I don’t get is who made the decision to release in such a state if finances didn’t force the decision.

As for decision choices, this mistake happened before, and it’ll happen again. Kickstarters resurrecting classic franchises run on pure distilled nostalgia. If you make a Kickstarter promising Grim Fandango II, and tell everybody you got the IP and Tim Schafer is writing it, and it ends up being a third-person shooter with limited narrative elements, well, peeps are gonna be perturbed even if it’s a good bug-free third-person shooter.


My guess is different. Once the new project came along, with more funding, they didn’t really have people who wanted to work on the old project with minimal funding. They had to wrap it up quickly, and that meant gutting a lot of stuff, including the save system and a more cohesive world in favor of mission-based design. Kickstarters that run out of funds have to stretch every dollar to make it work and finish up what they have as best they can, but this is a different situation – a kickstarter where the funds dried up, but suddenly there was a new project for which they had plenty of (possibly time-sensitive) funding. The will to finish up that game for which you have no funding is suddenly gone, and you can justify moving on by saying you’re preparing the ground for the funded project, that there was never really enough money for the first project, and that the next one will be much better. So you can let that old project languish forever with nobody wanting to work on it, or you can just cut it loose.


RPS won’t review such an unfinished game.

Why not just give the game the absolute slating it deserves now it’s on sale? Because I feel like something must have gone really wrong, somewhere on the way. I’ve no insight whatsoever, but this reeks of one of those situations where an investing publisher has demanded the delays end and some sales come in. Yet I’m mystified why it’s not been released as Early Access.

I really could go on. I’ve no idea what happened here, but to me it looks like Otherside just released an alpha build of a long-from-finished game, and called it done. Which you just can’t do. Especially not at £25. If that’s because they ran out of money or time, then there’s maybe hope they can use money from sales to return to fix it. There’s a much worse theory, too, of course. That they bit off waaaay more than they could chew, made ludicrous promises about ecologies and actions impacting upon the universe, and then just lacked the skills to deliver it. So made this instead. And released it anyway.


That is impressively low. I can’t even recall the last time PC gamer gave a score that low.

It will join the honored low score ranks of gaming gems like Wall-E , Terminator 3: War of the Machines , Britney’s Dance Beat , and Star Wars: Battle for Naboo.


Cobbett has no chill!


From the RPS Review: “It looks like Otherside just released an alpha build of a long-from-finished game, and called it done”.

Congratulations, Otherside. You’ve just joined the “developer I will never buy a game from” list along with Double Fine (thanks to their DF9 “slap a 1.0 on it and call it done” debacle). I guess I’m lucky that I was exhausted with KS and other EA failures, too.

I’m also thinking that folks are forgetting that LGS devolved into Mad Doc Software, among whose titles included the broken and unfinished Janes’ Attack Squadron


While my trust in System Shock 3 being great isn’t particularly high right now, if it actually is, I will buy it gladly, Ascendant fuck up be damned.


I love me some System Shock, but I’m old/wise enough to realize that it, and its sequel, are probably “lighting in a bottle” titles, created by talented, passionate guys at the beginning of their creative life cycle (as opposed to the end of that cycle, which is where were are now).

There’s a cynicism in the creation of UA (we were promised kittens and a UU clone; we got a dead cat in shoebox and Dark Messiah clone) and the horrible, broken, no-goodrelease of UA (we’re now told that we should have expected a dead cat and a Dark Messiah clone). That cynicism in a dev, especially an indie dev, is a big YOU NO BUY sign pointed in my direction


I wonder if their publisher Starbreeze will be in a position to see it through to release? Their recent Walking Dead game didn’t seem to garner much of an audience, and if Psychonauts 2 gets delayed, things could get grim. Shock and Psychonauts weren’t ever big sellers, but attracted an adoring cult following over time. Backing followups to both is pretty risky, so hopefully System Shock 3 will have a killer hook to get people interested.