The Ascent is a cyberpunk-themed action role-playing video game developed by Swedish indie game studio Neon Giant and published by Curve Digital for Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One on 29 July 2021. It was developed using Unreal Engine 4 by a team of 11 people and is Neon Giant’s debut in the industry. The game received mixed reviews from critics upon its release, with praise for its animation and variety in weapons but criticism for the emphasis on grinding. Meet new allies and enemies and find loot as you explore the brimming world of The Ascent and its wide range of districts, from the deep slums to the higher luxury spheres.
The Ascent is developed by Neon Giant, a team of 11 people. On 28 June 2018, it was announced that Epic Games had awarded Neon Giant one of 37 developers grants based on their work on an unannounced title set in a “brand new cyberpunk world”. For which they received between $5,000 and $50,000 to help progress the project. In around May 2019, Neon Giant had struck an exclusivity deal with Microsoft. The game was developed using Unreal Engine 4. The Ascent was announced on 7 May 2020, along with a reveal trailer on the same day. Originally an Xbox Series X launch title, the game was delayed and was released 29 July 2021 on Windows 10, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One. It will be included with Xbox Game Pass subscriptions upon release.
The game takes place within an arcology in a futuristic dystopian world known as Veles, controlled by a powerful megacorporation called “The Ascent Group”. Players assume control of a worker enslaved by the company. After the mysterious collapse of The Ascent Group, the arcology descends into a chaotic free-for-all pitting districts, syndicates and rival corporations against each other for control. The player’s role is to stop other factions from seizing control and uncover the mystery behind the demise of The Ascent Group. The Ascent is presented from a top-down view overlooking the character(s). It is a twin-sticked shooter, which includes the ability to aim both high and low on enemy targets, allowing the player to differentiate between shooting enemies closer or further away.
It also acts as the cover system, as the player can aim at enemies over the top of props in the environment. The player can fully customise their character’s appearance and augment their character with cyberware upgrades to get new skills and abilities. Players also have the ability to hack using a cyberdeck. The game features a destructive environment that reacts to the players actions such as bullet impacts, skill powers and explosions. A fast-travelling system is implemented in the game via a built-in subway system, allowing the player to travel vast distances in-game quickly. The game is open-world and is said to have “essentially no loading screens”.