The grapevine has been strangely quiet these days, as the onslaught of the new Descent Underground slowly approaches in March 2016. In order to get some much needed boost of hype, the best source of info is the Descendent Studios dev team who are working with early adopters (lucky bastards) around the clock to bring us a mind bender.
Working with a very limited budget (the Kickstarter campaign that ended last year finished with just above $600.000), and generally with limited resources, the indie development team went with the best option possible – get the community to contribute, while at the same time building a fan base! Brilliant!
We’ve already spoken of the Wingman’s Hangar, where Keith McCormic, the head of the team regularly posts on the latest developments in game. Just reading up on what is new in the Proving Grounds (self explanatory) with all the new ships and guns being imported gives me goosebumps.
Now, you may ask, why should I care about Descent Underground anyway, I mean, how is it any different from a huge number of space games coming our way this year?
Well, first of all, who are you, person, and what are you doing in my house? Secondly, have you ever heard of six degrees of freedom? No? Lemme break it down for you.
Almost all first person shooter games ever made, are linear in the way that after a certain time you figure out that you are sort of “on rails”, meaning that you can move around, look around, but don’t try jumping from that window, and you can’t really climb back in unless you are a dirty cheater. Even space games, such as Freelancer or any other act as if you are flying a plane, meaning you can slide and roll, but you can’t really move backwards.
Descent, on the other hand, lets you fly a star fighter as it was meant to be, a full-fledged, cavern-crawling, maze-defeating rail cannon equipped ball of fury. These ships are fast, agile, and can move around pretty much anywhere, apart from going through walls, of course, silly. Now imagine that in multiplayer! With VR goggles! Madness!
What’s even more awesome is when you combine a well prepared dev team, a community of hardcore fans of the series and the concept of multiplayer. This in turn means that every ship and every weapon goes through the hands of a well versed crew of freaks that will test the limits of what can be done with it, bringing out a better product at the end, no questions. And it doesn’t spoil the single player part of the game for all the players, because it gives them the chance to bug fix all the maps and the rest of the features before jumping into the storyline.
The retail release of the game will feature at first nine different types of ship, with a multitude of weapons, tools and gadgets at disposal for all star pilots. What pokes one’s interest even more is the fact that the dev team plans to openly support the modding community, the first step of which is releasing a map editor for the Unreal 4 Engine which will allow an easier design of maps.
In other news, someone else has smelled the breeze. A part of the old Descent team, namely Mike Kulas and Matt Toschlog are planning on creating a sort of a successor to the original game, named Overload. The project, picked up from Parallax by their own Revival Productions studio is producing a single-player version of the game where you get to do the classic hero boy stuff, such as blowing up shit and saving innocents. A fine pitch, if ever I saw one. As a justification of how the game is any different from Descent Underground, the guys say that the game is made by a different team of developers, so it is different. Aaalright, this is an even better defense of a pitch, if ever I saw one! All joking aside, if this works, it will be a serious throw down when fans of the two games clash, it will be better than DoTA and LoL hatred.
They have set a humble amount of $300.000 as a cap on their Kickstarter, and I can’t wait to see how the project develops.
For the end, a bit of eye candy with the prototype of the game Overload. Enjoy.
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