Ascend: New Gods is an action game. The fact that players take control of gigantic warriors known as Caos that mow through hordes of beasts with magic and melee weapons while trampling the tiny, feeble humans under their feet as a man might a rodent, informs those who pick up the controller of as much. The fact that these towering, stout champions appear before the seemingly indomitable Titans of the game as not but rodents themselves, betrays that there may just be something more to Signal Studios’ game than the repeated mashing of a face button that could effectively get one through the title’s E3 demo.
Although Signal promises that more challenging enemies will turn up later in the game, the demo, while enjoyable, left one wanting to see what other tricks the studio has up its sleeve. Most of the encounters could be won by relying on basic attacks, the repeated swinging of a sword or war hammer until the foe(s) before the Caos were felled. Getting beyond the basic “press X to kill stuff” approach to battles is something that all developers of action games must work to overcome if they are to differentiate their work from that of the competition.
Signal has plans for that. A unique form of multiplayer (more on that shortly) and a slew of challenging beasts that may require a bit more cunning to overcome. “We have tons of different monsters in the game,” Signal Studios Lead Game Designer Ian Scott explained to XBLA Fans at E3. “As you saw, the humans are really small in our game; they’re kind of like rats. You can pick them up and eat them for health, but there’s obviously things that are a lot bigger than you and more badass. Well, I don’t know about necessarily more badass than you.” Scott isn’t sure whether or not the team wants individual non-Titan enemies to be tougher than a Caos, but he asserted that there are definitely enemies that can dole out a walloping.
Signal Studios (Toy Soldiers) enjoyed the special honor of having its next project, Ascend: New Gods, unveiled on gaming’s biggest stage last week. The action title was debuted during Microsoft’s pre-E3 press conference, live in front of millions of gamers watching around the globe. Speaking with Games Industry International, Signal Creative Director D.R. Albright III said that the opportunity came about as a result of the strong bonds the studio established with the publisher while working on Toy Soldiers. Although working with a gargantuan corporation like Microsoft has on occasion tried Albright’s patience, he admitted that “certainly [Signal] wouldn’t be as successful” without its support.
“Ultimately, we do get a shot at doing things a lot of developers don’t get to do,” Albright stated candidly. “For example, Ascend had the only working Smart Glass demo at E3, at least for games. On the surface, this might not seem like a big deal – or maybe we are the only suckers who said yes. Either way, that ends up getting Signal a mention in publications like US Today which is a big deal. We probably only have small developer/XBLA level privileged access. I might know more about what’s happening than some guy commenting on a Neogaf forum, but I am pretty sure that the CoD and Assassin’s Creed folks are privy to a lot more information than me. That’s ok. It makes sense from a business standpoint that they would.”
So if the bond between the XBLA developer and Microsoft is so strong, is there any real possibility of Signal one day being taken into the Microsoft fold proper? The creative director was non-committal on the issue, but asserted that the ball was in the console holder’s court. However, he added that all of that funding and preferential treatment that flows from the software giant to its internal studios is certainly attractive, though working in a structured environment of such a massive size isn’t the most exciting proposition in the world to Albright.
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Our friends over at IGN have posted some gameplay footage (off-screen) from Signal Studios‘ newly announced Ascend: New Gods. The footage features a …
Ascend: New Gods, Signal Studios’ (Toy Soldiers) latest game, was revealed today with the above trailer that aired during Microsoft’s pre-E3 2012 media briefing. The cinematic trailer is full of blood and gore — the main character does a lot of stabbing and then flies through the air towards a Titan in a scene that channels God of War 3. Speaking of the main character, he is a member of Caos, “a gigantic race of mighty warriors.” The player-character’s appearance, weapons and armor will all be upgradeable.
Signal says that an ancient prophecy has predicted that the Titans’ reign will come to an end and whichever of the Three Gods is triumphant over them shall rule over mortals in their place. The player must choose one of the (the chaotic goddess of darkness, the zealous god of light or the manipulative lord of the void) to serve as a champion for in this war being waged to bring about the end of the Titans’ rule.