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Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Update #14: On the Improvisation Engine and Choice & Consequence
Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 18 February 2015, 22:13:48Tags: Chris Siegel; OtherSide Entertainment; Tim Stellmach; Underworld Ascendant; Warren Spector
Underworld Ascendant received its second weekly major Kickstarter update today. This update describes in further detail the environmental interaction capabilities of the game's "Improvisation Engine", and also its larger scale faction-based reactivity and choice & consequence mechanics. The latter is something we've less heard about, so I'll quote that part of the update, after the accompanying video:
Faction Influence: You Can't Please Everyone
Underworld Ascendant's sandbox design also feeds into how you interact with the Abyss’ three factions: the Dark Elves, the Dwarves, and the Shamblers.
Each faction's outlook towards you is shared by all of its members, based on your reputation and prior actions towards them. Their outlook is influenced by choices in conversation, larceny, acts of overt hostility, favors (for them or their rivals), or actions that may even seem inconsequential at first.
For example, slaying a Tunnel Trapper blocking access to the mines might put you in good with the Dwarves, but harm your reputation with the Dark Elves, who herded it there earlier to thwart the mountain folk's prospecting efforts. Likewise, the bark of the carnivorous plant known as the Ripper is highly-prized by all three factions. The Dark Elves craft it into light, sturdy mail. The Dwarves utilize it as an alchemical ingredient. The Shamblers employ it as a fertile, living bed for the growth of spores. Killing one of the creatures may provide you with valuable items to trade the Dark Elves or Dwarves, but put you out of favor with the Shamblers.
Keeping on good terms with a faction may lead to special quests, access to unique items, and even to becoming adopted into their tribe; all of which greatly affect your gameplay experience. It’s all up to your choices.
A Dynamic, Reactive World
When we say that Underworld Ascendant will be a “living, breathing world”, we mean that there's a complex ecology of flora and fauna existing around you while you play. This ecology will be self-sustaining, designed to flourish and grow.
The player can impact the ecology. For instance, killing a pack of Shadow Beasts may mean the Lurkers living in the watering hole nearby won't have a food supply. Their new home may end up being directly in the path of your next quest, or adjacent to an encampment of Dwarven allies.
Conversely, if you decide not to hunt the Shadow Beasts, their nesting habits may attract Cave Worms, who love to lay eggs in Shadow Beast feces. More Cave Worms means more Dire Faeries, who view Cave Worms as a delicacy. Suddenly this area is getting pretty dangerous!
Opportunities will arise for you to take an active hand in altering the environment. For instance, transforming a damp, humid bog into a dry, arid plain by damming a nearby stream will drive out the native species. Invite in others that favor the altered clime, and tip the area out of the Shamblers' control and into the hands of the Dwarves or Dark Elves.
The more you play, the more you'll come to understand the web of interrelated systems playing out around you, and how you can play within those systems. That's what “freedom of choice” means for Underworld Ascendant.