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Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Update #21: On Fighters and Melee Combat

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Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Update #21: On Fighters and Melee Combat

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 26 February 2015, 19:36:44

Tags: OtherSide Entertainment; Underworld Ascendant

After receiving several shout-outs yesterday, the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign made it past $550,000 of funding and 10,000 backers, and it's now approaching its funding goal at a relatively brisk pace. The first Kickstarter update of the campaign's final week is all about melee combat, and OtherSide's thoughts about how to improve it beyond the simple clickfest formula of the original Underworlds. I quote:

In most fantasy RPG’s, fighters are not the sharpest tools in the shed. Rather than relying on their brains, they use their ample brawn. Wading into a battle, slashing and smashing every foe in sight.

Nothing wrong-headed with that style of character. Can be great fun! Underworld Ascendant welcomes players who want to play a straight up, traditional fighter character. But fighting can go much deeper than simply brawn. Finesse. The tactics of maneuvering back-and-forth with an opponent in a flowing, dynamic engagement. Mastering a weapon. Learning your opponent’s weakness, then using that against them. Players who choose to focus on fighting will be able grow into masters of the art of combat.

What does this mean in terms of game play? Here is one illustrative example…

[Caveat. Please understand that we are still in prototype phase. What is described below is our best guess at how combat will likely work well. But as we have learned from making games such as Ultima Underworld and Thief, often you discover further along in development that changes from the original design plan are needed to achieve the best gameplay. So this is just a starting point.]

Romulus, a master swordsman, has just turned a corner to spy a Dire Faerie, hovering in the middle of a large and high-ceiled chamber. The Faerie has not yet noticed Romulus, so he decides on a stealthy approach to try to get close, unnoticed.

Romulus closes in quickly, and is nearly on top of the Faerie before it becomes of aware of the fighter’s presence. The Faerie spins and tries to fly away, but Romulus is able to land a blow to one of the Faerie’s wings before it can get out of reach. The damage to the wing makes the Faerie’s flight unsteady; harder for it to maneuver outside of Romulus’ range. Romulus has achieved his first objective of the battle, to neutralize the Faerie’s advantage of flight.

Now he closes in for the kill. Since Romulus has fought Faeries before, he has learned some of their weaknesses. The game reveals this by showing a glow on the Faerie’s left chest, which is especially vulnerable.

Romulus closes in to try to land the killing blow…

This is just one way this battle might evolve. Each battle will be fluid and dynamic, with the player having choices to make, tactics to adjust. As players master that art of warfare, they will gain new skills that layer into these choices. Some skills will make them simply deadly, but others will open up new tactics they can try using.

It is worth highlighting that in Underworld Ascendant combat will not be a fast, twitch experience. Even though gameplay is played out in fluid first-person 3D, the pace will be slower than a “shooter”, giving players more time to make tactical decisions.

Likewise, it will not be a game about pixel precision landing of blows. Your fighter’s character skill will factor into the success of landing blows, more so than your quick twitch ability. If you are role-playing a master swordsman, we want you be able to actually fight just like a master swordsman, even if you’ve never hefted a real sword in your life.

Paired with the Improvisation Engine, combat in the game is not just about whittling away your opponent’s hit points. With maneuvering, knowledge and planning the combat possibilities are practically endless, and ensure that Mages aren’t the only ones who fight with flashy tricks!
We've had updates on magic and melee now, so I suppose there's a good chance the next one will be about thievery. Considering the developers' background, that could be pretty interesting.

There are 14 comments on Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Update #21: On Fighters and Melee Combat

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