E3 2012 - Ascend: New Gods XBLA gameplay and Windows Phone details

For Windows Phone gamers, the most exciting moment of Microsoft’s E3 2012 press conference was the announcement of Ascend: New Gods, an upcoming XBLA and Windows Phone title from Signal Studios. Boasting impressively detailed graphics and a smattering of graphic violence, it certainly caught our eyes. Later on during the Expo we had the pleasure of speaking with lead designer Ian Scott as we played the Xbox Live Arcade version of the game. Even better, he went on to detail Ascend’s cross-platform connectivity.

Head past the break for more Ascend hands-on gameplay footage and Windows Phone connectivity details!

Big or small, you'll fight them all

Ascend: New Gods is an action-RPG with truly revolutionary asynchronous multiplayer features. Before we get to those, let’s talk about the core gameplay. Players take on the role of a giant warrior who fights for either the forces of light or darkness. You’ll face enemies of multiple scales: tiny humans who can be eaten to restore health, wolves and monsters equal to your own size, larger boss monsters, and even screen-filling Titans. Tools of battle include hammers, axes, many more unique melee weapons, plus a variety of spells, curses, and blessings. Being an RPG, expect plenty of leveling up, loot hunting, and character customization.

Evolving asynchronous multiplayer

Those last two techniques are part of what makes Ascend: New Gods so interesting. Even though everyone plays in their own separate world, players can affect others’ worlds in several ways. Blessings make things easier for your fellow warriors while curses get the going rough, so to speak. Capturing shrines and villages for your side (light or dark) also changes the experience for players of either side. You’ll also see ghostly outlines of other players as they explore their own worlds, driving home the interconnectedness of Ascend’s world. An even more unique feature, you can choose to permanently sacrifice a character, who then becomes an NPC boss in other people’s games. That's taking one for the team!

Ascending on the go

The experience of occupying your own world while still affecting others’ in Ascend on XBLA will be even greater thanks to the Windows Phone companion game. The mobile version wasn’t quite ready to show off to the press yet, but Ian still tantalized us with details of its connectivity features. First off, sometimes things happen in the XBLA version even when you’re not playing, such as the bosses you’ve created killing other players. The Windows Phone game tracks all that, keeping you up to date when you can’t get to the console.  It can also send blessings and curses to friends or random players, giving mobile players the opportunity to help or hinder folks playing on the big screen. When you’re on the receiving end of these effects, you’ll be able to see the Gamertag of the person who initiated them.

A long way off

We still have much to learn about Ascend: New Gods for Windows Phone. Will it play identically to the console game ala Skulls of the Shogun or perhaps differently on the smaller screen? Ascend is due out on XBLA and Windows Phone sometime in 2013. Rest assured, Windows Phone Central will stay in touch with Signal Studios and report back with more details as soon as possible.

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!