PlayStation 5 game Unknown 9: Awakening was one of the very few new game announcements to come out of the recent Gamescom Opening Night Live 2020, and given its commitment to next-gen exclusivity, we were eager to learn more about this mysterious project. The fact that this is more than just a PS5 title is already public, with a podcast, novel, and comic book all currently available to flesh out the universe of Unknown 9. So, to learn more about this approach to storytelling across multiple pieces of media, we caught up with IP producer Alexis Ottier and narrative director Tomas Street following the game's reveal.
Push Square: For those who missed the announcement at Gamescom Opening Night Live, could you introduce Unknown 9: Awakening? What sort of game is it?
Alexis Ottier and Tomas Street: Unknown 9: Awakening is a third-person, narrative-driven, action-adventure game layered with themes of self-discovery, redemption and the exploration of an unknown world, hidden in plain sight. It’s a journey into ancient secret societies, hidden dimensions and humanity’s forgotten legacy. The game offers a rich historical narrative, full of complex characters whose actions ripple forward into our present-day storylines. The game shows that Unknown 9 isn't just a modern-day quest -- it's a journey into history, revealing ancient secrets that modern humans are only just beginning to unearth. This past gives our Storyworld a background that's fully realized and playable.
The Unknown 9 universe sounds like a particularly ambitious project, encompassing a podcast, novel, and comic book as well as the game itself. Could you explain why you took this route instead of packing it all into the game?
At Reflector, we create Storyworlds, living mythologies that let us tell stories across multiple platforms, or media. Each story represents a standalone narrative and can serve as an entry point to our Storyworld... but the more stories a fan enjoys, the broader sense of the overarching meta-narrative they get. This transmedia approach allows us to tell richer, more engaging narratives, and allows us to talk to fans wherever they may be.
The Unknown 9 Storyworld is centred around stories of paranormal mystery, with each narrative revolving around Quaestors—characters that have had the veil lifted from their eyes and are now driven to uncover the secrets and wonders that exist just out of sight. How these characters and the factions they represent choose to use this knowledge is the fuel for the narratives that unfold in our world. Unknown 9: Awakening is supported by the complete ecosystem of cool characters and stories that are all part of the overarching narrative, enriching the overall experience.
How will Haroona's powers affect gameplay? What sort of abilities will she have access to?
We’re not quite ready to reveal Haroona’s powers, just yet, apart from what we’ve shown in our teaser trailer. I can tell you that the Fold and its energies are at the heart of every one of Haroona’s abilities and that they will have a tremendous impact on how Haroona interacts with NPC’s - rest assured: there will be mystery, exploration and a whole lot of action - stay tuned.
Has Reflector Entertainment taken inspiration from any games in particular to influence Unknown 9: Awakening's mechanics and gameplay?
The globetrotting adventure of Uncharted, the mystical powers of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and the narrative focus of The Last of Us... multiply that by the deep lore of the Unknown 9 Storyworld, and you get what we’re striving for!
What excites you about the PS5 and its next-gen features?
We’re excited about how all that extra power will reduce load times and allow for a smoother, uninterrupted experience. Environments, characters and animations will also obviously be greatly improved, as well as lighting. All of these will help us make richer, more believable worlds and more immersive games.
Will Unknown 9: Awakening take advantage of the DualSense controller's adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, as well as the PS5 SSD? If so, how?
We’d rather hold off on this for the moment, but rest assured, we’ll answer all gameplay-related questions in due time...
Is there anything else you would like to share with the Push Square audience? Why should they be excited about Unknown 9: Awakening?
The Unknown 9: Awakening video game is truly a narrative-driven experience that combines action and adventure with a profound inquest on the nature of humanity. The esoteric knowledge players unearth will be the fuel that propels them down the rabbit hole of our larger universe.
Because the game is supported by the complete ecosystem of Unknown 9 products, players get to immerse themselves into our Storyworld straight out of the gate. The broader Unknown 9 universe features interconnected media and content offerings with intersecting characters and storylines that form a rich and immersive Storyworld - including a mystery-thriller novel by bestselling author Layton Green entitled Unknown 9: Genesis, an original podcast called Unknown 9: Out of Sight, and a comic book, Unknown 9: Torment. In anticipation of the game’s release, fans can delve into this adventure by visiting unknown9.com where they can participate in Unknown 9: Chapters, an interactive, community-driven experience, that lets fans decipher mysteries of the Unknown 9 universe.
We would like to thank Alexis Ottier and Tomas Street for taking the time to answer our questions, and Ryan Smith for making the interview possible. Are you excited about playing Unknown 9: Awakening on PS5? Show off your powers in the comments below.