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Unknown 9: Awakening is a brand new game that already has a big weird expanded universe

A screenshot from the new teaser trailer for Unknown 9: Awakening. A young Indian girl, Haroona, is looking straight into camera. She is perhaps 10 years old.

Unknown 9: Awakening is a newly-announced action-adventure game from Reflector Entertainment that already has an extended universe oven fresh and ready to go. All we have of the game right now is a teaser trailer, so we have no idea how it’ll actually play when it’s out. We do know that the protagonist is Haroona, a young girl from Kolkata in India who we are told is “haunted by visions of her own death” and has a “mysterious innate ability to manipulate the unseen”.

Unknown 9’s teaser was revealed at Gamescom Opening Night Live, a livestream to mark the first night of Gamescom (and, by dint of being hosted by Geoff Keighley, inextricable in my mind from the never ending Geoff Keighley summer of games). Give it a watch to see Hoona avoid an attack in the street by using a cool time-stop power.

An interesting thing to note about Unknown 9 is that a whole slew of adjacent media in what the official site calls a “Storyworld” already exists. There’s a novel trilogy, the first of which is called Unknown 9 Genesis and is being serialised for free, a series of comic books called Torment, a three part scripted podcast called Out Of Sight, and an “interactive experience” called Chapters.

The “U9 storyworld” concerns the history of humanity and a civilisation predating our own my millennia, but existing in “an epoch of incredible social and technological advancement”. At this time people could do loads of powerful cool stuff, but the civilisation destroyed itself. So basically, you know that modern day stuff in Assassin’s Creed that you don’t really care about? It’s that.

It’s an ambitious move to launch a whole suite of different but connected media at once, and asking people to care enough about a thing they only just learned existed to read the tie-in novels. Especially when you keep using terms like ‘storyworld’. Your humble reporter hasn’t had time to dive into all these disparate elements, though. The podcast might actually be really good, I dunno.

We know more about the U9 storyworld than we do Awakening, though. The video game bit is just that cinematic teaser, and the barebones plot point that Haroona will get a mentor who teaches her to control her powers and “access the mysterious hidden dimension known as the fold.” So, magic powers hero journey? I’m up for that.

No word either on a release date, or even release window, although the end of the trailer says “coming to PC and next-generation consoles”, so don’t expect it before you expect the new under-your-TV boxes.

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Alice Bell

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