chk772: UW:A is not a Warren Spector game, and so far, his only role in it seems to be in an advisory capacity. Thankfully, most of it seems to be a Paul Neurath / Tim Stellmach design.
In my opinion, UW:A will live or die by Otherside's commitment to deep environmental simulation: turning game physics into gameplay, and a living dungeon ecology. If they can deliver on these promises, that will be something that has never been done systematically in a non-indie computer RPG. It has been present as window dressing and in various scripted ways, but not in a thorough fashion allowing for emergent gameplay and interesting choices&consequences. Deep simulation and emergent gameplay are state of the art stuff, just not state of the art graphics. This is precisely the point: the game industry has neglected to develop outside graphical fidelity, and even regressed in comparison with early 1990s games. Ultima Underworld, for its relatively early 3d engine, holds up very well as a complex dungeon exploration experience, and is full of small features which are missing from modern CRPGs. The promise of building on that foundation and going forward is why I am a backer at the $100 tier - I would like to see that kind of innovation take off in CRPGs again.
What does worry me is that while Otherside hyped these aspects of the game in their Kickstarter campaign, the recent campaign updates have been quiet about them, and instead focused on art direction, factions and (to a lesser extent) their love for the lizardmen language. Which was a fine piece of innovation - for 1991, in Underworld 1. It is possible the sim aspects are there, just not mentioned. Honestly, I am feeling they might have underestimated the budget they needed to realise their vision.
Well, the next update should be about gameplay. Also, the vertical slice is close to finished, so we'll get to try the next iteration out ourselves.