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Underworld Ascension Announced

Newly formed indie developer OtherSide Entertainment announces development of Underworld Ascension, a return to the acclaimed Underworld franchise lead by Paul Neurath, who helped bring the Thief, System Shock, and Ultima Underworld franchises to life. Details are scant for now, here's word:

OtherSide Entertainment, a new independent games studio, today announced its formation. Fronted by game pioneer Paul Neurath, OtherSide Entertainment revealed that its first title, Underworld Ascension™, will mark the return of the groundbreaking and long fallow Underworld franchise.

Paul Neurath, Founder and CEO of OtherSide Entertainment, is renowned for his creative direction spanning three decades, notably leading the development of such classic franchises as Thief™, System Shock™ and the acclaimed Ultima™ Underworld.

Underworld Ascension marks both the series and Paul Neurath’s return to his RPG roots, with OtherSide Entertainment aiming to innovate and revitalize the fantasy genre in the same way that its predecessor did in 1992. “With Underworld Ascension,” said Neurath, “we are excited to be bringing back the Underworld franchise, making it more vital than ever before.”

The original Underworlds transformed the traditional dungeon crawl into a truly immersive experience. Players felt as if they were actually walking through the great underworld halls; and encountering a living community of underworld dwellers.

Ultima Underworld inspired a generation, and its influence is still seen today in titles as diverse as Deus Ex™, The Elder Scrolls™, and BioShock™.

OtherSide Entertainment will reveal more details on Underworld Ascension in the months to come. To keep updated, visit our website at www.othersideentertainment.com.

Facebook: /OtherSideEntertainment
Twitter: @OtherSide_games

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37. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 2, 2014, 22:17 JediPunisher
 
jtripper wrote on Jul 2, 2014, 21:50:
They obtained the rights to the Underworld franchise from EA, but not the Ultima-associated IP. Thus, there isn't any "Ultima" in the title, except the "nod" to U9.
This has been confirmed by OtherSide Entertainment via their official forums.

Now, that is interesting. Underworld is not a registered trademark of EA and has not been used for over 20 years. While they should've been able to use the name without licensing it, I'm sure EA would've griped. This way, they don't have to worry about empty threats of lawsuits, and can make a real Underworld game (i.e. same gameplay mechanics and look & feel).
 
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36. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 2, 2014, 21:50 jtripper
 
JediPunisher wrote on Jul 1, 2014, 23:21:
BitWraith wrote on Jul 1, 2014, 20:23:
Since EA owns the franchise I'd say they pretty much have to have something to do with it. I seriously doubt they just handed over the rights to this out of the goodness of their heart.

EA owns the registered trademark Ultima®... not Underworld.
If Paul Neurath were making an Ultima® Underworld game, then EA would have cause to sue. Now, Underworld might be an unregistered trademark, but since EA hasn't released an Underworld game in over 20 years, I'd say it's fair game.

They obtained the rights to the Underworld franchise from EA, but not the Ultima-associated IP. Thus, there isn't any "Ultima" in the title, except the "nod" to U9.

This has been confirmed by OtherSide Entertainment via their official forums.

Plus, I thought it was pretty obvious on their home page:
"For our first title we’re bringing back the classic Ultima™ Underworld franchise, which we’re calling Underworld Ascension™. Our team include some of the folks who created the original franchise."

Making a derivative work is not a "spiritual" successor, so they'd have to license or buy that IP.
 
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35. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 2, 2014, 14:47 noman
 
Not only Paul Neurath (one of the original creators) is bringing Underworld back, but Tim Stellmach is in the design team too. Tim was the lead designer of Underworld 2, and had a major part in Thief and System Shock too.

Basically, Neurath, Stellmach, and Doug Church (and others at Looking Glass) should be the guys lauded with all the recognition and accolade routinely attributed to Warren Spector, who was just the Origin guy to liaison with the Looking Glass team. These amazing games were created and the basic gameplay locked down before Spector even knew about them. Underworld wasn't even an Ultima game in the beginning, and only after Garriot liked watching the demo at a trade show and then offering the deal, did the Looking Glass folks go back and added late-stage tweaks to add some links to Ultima lore.

Underworld 2 was much more integrated into Ultima world, but even that game was all thought out (plot, characters, gameplay structure) by Neurath, Stellmach, Church et al., before the idea was pitched to Origin, and for which Garriot approved.

I'd be a lot concerned if this Underworld remake was in development by Spector or Ken Levine, but to know that the game is in the hands of the original creators is just great. It'll be an awesome game.

Now if only Doug Church can shove his desk at Valve, and join these guys, it'll be perfect.

This comment was edited on Jul 2, 2014, 15:54.
 
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34. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 2, 2014, 08:55 BitWraith
 
Excellent. I hope it goes well.  
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33. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 23:21 JediPunisher
 
BitWraith wrote on Jul 1, 2014, 20:23:
Since EA owns the franchise I'd say they pretty much have to have something to do with it. I seriously doubt they just handed over the rights to this out of the goodness of their heart.

EA owns the registered trademark Ultima®... not Underworld.
If Paul Neurath were making an Ultima® Underworld game, then EA would have cause to sue. Now, Underworld might be an unregistered trademark, but since EA hasn't released an Underworld game in over 20 years, I'd say it's fair game.
 
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32. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 23:17 Creston
 
BitWraith wrote on Jul 1, 2014, 20:23:
Since EA owns the franchise I'd say they pretty much have to have something to do with it. I seriously doubt they just handed over the rights to this out of the goodness of their heart.

EA owns ULTIMA Underworld. This is just going to be Underworld. As long as it doesn't use the Ultima IP (ie, Britannia and the virtues etc), EA can whine all day long without it mattering anything.
 
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31. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 22:22 Kayne
 
Yes please  
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30. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 20:23 BitWraith
 
JediPunisher wrote on Jul 1, 2014, 17:19:
BitWraith wrote on Jul 1, 2014, 16:39:
I wouldn't get too excited. EA is still rolling around on the rotten corpse of Origin. I'll never forgive them for destroying one of the greatest RPG franchises that will ever exist. They probably won't allow this one to be good.

I don't see what EA has to do with any of this. This isn't a sequel to Ultima Underworld and has no Ultima connection... unless EA agreed to publish it and it was renamed Ultima Underworld 3: Ascension, in which case your fears would be justified.

Since EA owns the franchise I'd say they pretty much have to have something to do with it. I seriously doubt they just handed over the rights to this out of the goodness of their heart.

I want it to be awesome too, but I also played Ultima 8 and 9, so, yeah.
 
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29. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 18:52 Burrito of Peace
 
Zoom wrote on Jul 1, 2014, 13:24:
Cutter wrote on Jul 1, 2014, 12:55:
Without any media and a lot more information I'm not going to get excited yet. This is awesome news, but how many times have we been let down before. Let's just see what the reality is first, mmmkay.
The guy got some of the greatest games of all times to his pedigree. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt.

So did Richard Garriot and look how well his "return" to PC gaming turned out. A colossal failure of an MMO that burned through more money than most lottery winners have ever seen and now a Portalarium...which has produced a crappy poker game and the promise of an Ultima-like experience in a game called "Shroud of the Avatar".

The jury is still out on how well Chris Roberts and David Braben will do with their finished and released products.

Credit is given where it is due but some of these old codgers really need to realize their glory days are long behind them.
 
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28. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 18:38 wtf_man
 
*checks pants*

...yup, I jizzed.
 
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27. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 18:32 Icewind
 
Ascension? Didn't we learn not to use that word in an Ultima-esque game back in 1999?  
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26. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 18:22 bigspender
 
pics or it didnt happpeb  
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25. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 18:07 saluk
 
Tentatively optimistic!  
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24. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 17:19 JediPunisher
 
BitWraith wrote on Jul 1, 2014, 16:39:
I wouldn't get too excited. EA is still rolling around on the rotten corpse of Origin. I'll never forgive them for destroying one of the greatest RPG franchises that will ever exist. They probably won't allow this one to be good.

I don't see what EA has to do with any of this. This isn't a sequel to Ultima Underworld and has no Ultima connection... unless EA agreed to publish it and it was renamed Ultima Underworld 3: Ascension, in which case your fears would be justified.
 
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23. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 17:11 Cutter
 
Yakubs wrote on Jul 1, 2014, 15:15:
Zoom wrote on Jul 1, 2014, 13:24:
Cutter wrote on Jul 1, 2014, 12:55:
Without any media and a lot more information I'm not going to get excited yet. This is awesome news, but how many times have we been let down before. Let's just see what the reality is first, mmmkay.
The guy got some of the greatest games of all times to his pedigree. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt.

You do realize this guy was an exec at Zynga right? And you do realize that at his time at Zynga he had a lot to say in support for the world of mobile gaming?

Sounds like someone I wouldn't trust with the revival of a respected franchise from before the days of corporate plundering.

Exactly. For all we know it could turn out to be an 8bit mobile game. So yeah, I'm going to temper my expectations accordingly until there's a real reason to be excited.
 
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"Bye weeks? Bronko Nagurski didn't get no bye weeks, and now he's dead… Well, maybe they're a good thing." - Moe
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22. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 16:44 Alamar
 
Yakubs wrote on Jul 1, 2014, 15:15:
You do realize this guy was an exec at Zynga right? And you do realize that at his time at Zynga he had a lot to say in support for the world of mobile gaming?

Ok, I get the Zynga hate... But your second sentence... Was that meant to be positive or negative?

-Alamar
 
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21. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 16:39 BitWraith
 
I wouldn't get too excited. EA is still rolling around on the rotten corpse of Origin. I'll never forgive them for destroying one of the greatest RPG franchises that will ever exist. They probably won't allow this one to be good.  
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20. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 16:24 JediPunisher
 
Wow, this is fantastic news! Beam

Ultima Underworld 1&2 are two of my all time favorite games.
Paul Neurath not only created Ultima Underworld, but he also founded Blue Sky/Looking Glass, and created some of my all time favorite games. While he is not as well known as Richard Garriott, Warren Spector, or Chris Roberts... he is a major player.

Yes, I highly doubt Underworld Ascension will have any Ultima connection... but neither did the original Underworld until Origin agreed to publish it.

I can't wait!! Where do I preorder??
 
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19. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 16:19 Mercenar
 
I first thought it was about the underwold movies... lycans and vampires... you know... sigh !  
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18. Re: Underworld Ascension Announced Jul 1, 2014, 15:17 ldonyo
 
Time to fire up my GOG copies of UU and UU2!  
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