Wadjet Eye’s Unavowed ticks a lot of my boxes right off the bat. It’s a new urban fantasy adventure game from Dave Gilbert, set in the same world as the Blackwell series — though it doubles down on the fantasy half — but inspired by BioWare’s party-based and banter-rich RPGs. It’s due out next year, but in the meantime there’s the game’s first trailer to watch.
While Blackwell had ghosts and magic, Unavowed leans into the fantasy part of urban fantasy a lot more. Think Constantine, Angel or The Dresden Files. Dark forces are, as they are wont to do, trying to destroy New York City, but for hundreds of years a secret organisation, the Unavowed, have protected it using their own supernatural abilities. The old ways aren’t working, however, so the team needs some fresh meat. That’d be you.
It’s still firmly an adventure game, but with character creation, a party-based structure and consequence laden choices that call to mind something like Dragon Age. Indeed, Dragon Age writer Jennifer Hepler has been working with Gilbert as a story consultant. Take the boat scene that we briefly see in the trailer. Depending on the party members you use, you can defeat the monster chasing the boat in a variety of ways, and once it’s been defeated, as a group you can decide what to do with the beastie. Whatever you choose will have consequences later.
That same scene also raises one concern: I’m not sure if Unavowed is going to be able to make its action scenes convincing. Every clip and screenshot I’ve seen of the monster chasing the boat just looks really underwhelming, with everyone just standing around, looking awkward. I’m a big fan of Ben Chandler’s art (Technobabylon in particular is gorgeous), but the minimal animation tends to make action sequences flat. Unavowed looks to have a bit more action than your typical Wadjet Eye title, so I’m just a little worried that it’s going to become even more noticeable.
Adam got a hands-off look at Unavowed in March, exploring Gilbert’s inspirations and digging into the story a bit more. Hopefully we’ll get an even closer look next year, as Unavowed marches towards its 2018 launch.