Descent (upcoming video game)

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Descent Underground cover.jpg
Steam store header of Descent: Underground
Developer(s)Descendent Studios
Publisher(s)Little Orbit
Director(s)Eric "Wingman" Peterson
Producer(s)Phil Tittle
Designer(s)Rob Irving
Programmer(s)Kevin Saffel, Phil Tittle, Rob Irving, Tyler Pixley
Artist(s)Tobias Loeffler
Writer(s)Keith McCormic
Composer(s)Levon Louis & Dan Wentz
EngineUnreal Engine 4
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre(s)First-person shooter, shoot 'em up
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Descent, formerly Descent: Underground, is an upcoming 3D first-person shooter video game being developed by Descendent Studios. A prequel to the 1995 video game of the same name, it was successfully funded via the crowdfunding website Kickstarter on April 10, 2015, and released on Steam as an Early Access title on October 22, 2015. Then Descent was removed from Steam and Early Access on September 29, 2017, by Descendent Studios.

As of October 2018, Descendent Studios signed a deal with Little Orbit for financial support. The game is expected to be available on Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.[1]


By the year 2136, the planet Earth has become unsustainable due to the depletion of natural resources, threatening the stability of human society and civilization. Space explorers have been sent across the galaxy to find a new home planet for humanity to evacuate to. After word got out that none of them have returned, people discovered that mankind's only hope for continued survival is to harvest asteroids, leading to starfighter skirmishes over possession of the most profitable and life-sustaining ones.[2]


In November 2014, several former developers for the game Star Citizen, led by Eric "Wingman" Peterson, announced that they were forming Descendent Studios to work on a game similar to Descent in play style, with the working title Ships That Fight Underground. The company was approached by an Interplay shareholder in December who set up a meeting with the CEO of Interplay and Descendent Studios. A deal was then struck to license the Descent name to Descendent Studios.[3][4]

In March 2015, Descendent Studios announced a Kickstarter campaign for Descent: Underground, a new prequel using Interplay's existing trademark rights to the Descent franchise which include the name "Descent" and a few sound effects and MIDI tracks (with Parallax Software owning all remaining properties, such as the original "Pyro GX" ship, some sound and music clips and copyrights to the descent universe which includes weapons, story and all level assets).[5] It is powered by Unreal Engine 4 and was initially scheduled to release in March 2016.[6] The game's production was proceeded after a successful Kickstarter resulted in $601,773 by 8,164 investors.

In August 2015, Descendent Studios allowed live play of an early Pre-Alpha build of the Descent Underground game and engine at the Rooster Teeth Expo (RTX) in San Antonio Texas. The game demoed was an RTX crowd favorite, with attendees waiting in line up to an hour for an opportunity to play.[7] The game was also demonstrated to function with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.[8][9]

In October 2015, Descendent Studios released their first playable online multiplayer build to select members with Proving Grounds access (this includes "Underground" subscribers).[10] The game features several modes, single player vs bots, co-op vs bots, survival vs bots, multiplayer deathmatch, multiplayer CTF with miners, and conquest game-modes.[11] On October 22, 2015, Descendent Studios released the game on Steam Early Access. A single player campaign is in development, and is expected to be released when they leave early access.[12]

On September 29, 2017, Descendent Studios announced they would be removing the game from Steam Early Access, and signing a distribution deal with Little Orbit which will allow them to do a larger single player campaign as well as improve the game from top to bottom and to launch on both the Xbox One as well as the PlayStation 4 in 2019. Little Orbit has signed on to help market and distribute the Descent brand starting with this first chapter of the reboot of the Descent franchise.[13]

In early May 2019, Descendent Studios' homepage was taken offline and multiplayer servers for game builds stopped responding. Unofficial posts by a developer from Descendent Studios indicated that all development on the game had been completely halted, this being due to financial and legal issues that developed between Descendent Studios and the publisher Little Orbit. The original posts were deleted, but YouTuber Montoya documented the posts and history of the development woes in a video uploaded to his channel.[14]

Little Orbit initiated legal action against Descendent Studios in January 2020, alleging the studio of breach of contract, negligent representation, fraud, and libel. Little Orbit asserts that the studio had lied about the state of the Descent license from Interplay when it entered the publishing deal in September 2017, having come to believe since that Interplay has revoked the license from Descendent, and sought at least US$2 million in damages from the studio.[15] The following month, the developers reiterated that the game is not cancelled and expressed hope of eventually releasing the game at an undetermined future date.[16]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Descent Official Trailer". YouTube. LittleOrbit. 2 October 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  3. ^ Hutchinson, Lee (18 March 2015). "Classic FPS Descent to be rebooted by Star Citizen alums". Ars Technica.
  4. ^ Jessica Conditt (2015-04-09). "The man who left behind $78 million to revamp a classic space shooter". Engadget. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  5. ^ "Will GuideBot make a comeback? :: Overload General Discussions". Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  6. ^ Studios, Descendent (2015-03-11). "Descent: Underground Kickstarter". Kickstarter News. Retrieved 2015-03-11.
  7. ^ "RTX". Archived from the original on 2015-08-17. Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  8. ^ "Oculus Rift Support". Archived from the original on 2015-08-01. Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  9. ^ "Live Gameplay Video at RTX".[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "First Public Release". Archived from the original on 2015-10-03. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
  11. ^ Bo Moore (2015-03-10). "Descent: Underground - a PC classic resurrected". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  12. ^ "Steam Early Access". Valve.
  13. ^ "Steam Community :: Group Announcements :: Descent: Underground". Retrieved 2017-10-15.
  14. ^ Montoya (28 May 2019). "Game dev Descendent Studios in trouble". Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  15. ^ Ivan, Tom (February 24, 2020). "Descendent Studios sued over unfinished Descent prequel". Video Games Chronicle. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  16. ^ "Message from Matt about Descent Legal Action". Descent. 24 February 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.

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