Get your urban fantasy on with Unavowed’s first trailer

unavowed

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.

16 Comments

  1. Ghostwise says:

    Asking me not to confuse Dave Gilbert with Ron Gilbert is, like, maxing out my intellectual resources.

  2. Babymech says:

    The more I understand about cinematography and cinematic game design the less thrilled I am about the conventional wisdom that point and click pixel-art adventure game have to consist to 98% of static scenes shot on a shallow stage viewed from the side. No close-ups, no distance shots, no cinematic variety for the writer / director to play with. I love 2d pixel art but I don’t see why (other than laziness and engine limitations), in the case of adventure games, it has to dictate that almost every scene looks identical.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      The more I learn about pottery, the more I wish medieval literature was pots.

      • Babymech says:

        The alternate timeline where point and click adventure games like Rise of the Dragon or Snatcher became the golden standard for pixel-art adventuring, instead of Monkey Island, probably has a lot of downsides too, but just looking at a random selection of screen captures from those games is so much more fun than the standard Wadjet eye theater shots.

        • Ivan Ulyanov says:

          That’s an interesting point, and I’d love to see more *good* games done in that style! And as much as I also like looking at the screenshots of Snatcher and Rise of the Dragon, when you’re playing them it starts feeling even more static and lifeless than the alternative. The recent 2064:Read Only Memories kind of fell into the same trap for me, despite being lovably evocative.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      You must really dislike theatre.

      • Babymech says:

        I don’t dislike theater, but I only go three or four times a year. I watch a lot more movies than that. Also, if it were physically feasible to put on a play with scenes shot from different angles – still live, still immediate, but with clever use of scenes and props to make for different visual direction, I think I would go more often.

        Actually now that I think about it I really like (good) theater – but not because I like watching people from the side, at a fixed distance from me. I like it because it’s heavy on dialogue, live, and very immediate, like live music. If they could do more with the visuals, I’d be fine with that.

    • Mr Underhill says:

      (Probably) every (indie) developer making an adventure game wants that. Problem is, especially if you have a limited budget (and most of us do), the more unique angles you add to the game, the more unique animations that requires, and while it might not sound like a big deal, it can easily double or quadruple the time needed to make a game, if not worse. Again, we’re talking 2d animated adventure games, not 3d or FMV.

      Just working on a game that has enough animated NPCs and stuff happening in the background takes years and years of 12hours+ days for your average indie team. Every once in a while you’ll add a custom scene where you change up the angle, sure, but adding 10 custom walk cycles, pick up animations, special animations etc. would probably spell doom for a crew working on basically a pittance (which is what adventure game budgets are). I can’t speak for Dave, but that is the case with most indies I know of.

  3. Fade2Gray says:

    I’m assuming that, in the first image, the helpless generic looking schmucks stuck up in the trees are your party members. I’d much rather hang out with the tree lady and ax wielding genie-looking dude.

  4. Turkey says:

    There’s a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top and the final showdown is an annoying timed puzzle. Adventure games!

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