Oculus Spotlight: The Unspoken is Coming – See the Exclusive Unveiling of the Blackjack Character Class & Pulaski Circle Arena

Featured Stories, Virtual Reality

We all have fantasies about casting spells. We love to imagine a world where we can channel magic energies and manipulate them to perform incredible feats. Insomniac Games' The Unspoken, coming December 6th, brings these fantastic abilities one step closer to reality by letting you use the Touch-equipped Oculus Rift to actually sling magic using your hands.

Engineered from the ground-up for Oculus Rift and its Oculus Touch motion controllers, The Unspoken taps into everyone's wish to go all "Harry Potter" on our problems – though Insomniac's hidden world of monsters and magic is a little grittier than Hogwarts and its environs. The Unspoken takes place in the shadows and back alleys of cities where practitioners of magic still survive. Hidden from plain sight, modern day spellcasters engage in duels bound by ancient rulesets.

Magical Gestures

Rule number one of Magic Fight Club is that you don't talk about Magic Fight Club, but Chad Dezern, the Director of Insomniac's North Carolina studio, is too excited about The Unspoken to hold back. "We’re fascinated by the prospect of a secret world that lies just on the periphery of the real world," he says. "When we got our hands on Touch for the first time, we realized immediately that we held the perfect device for realizing a game with a spell casting mechanic. We instantly wanted to charge up fireballs, stretch lighting between our hands, and manifest arcane shields."

In anticipation of The Unspoken’s upcoming launch, we’ve got two NVIDIA exclusive gameplay reveals for your viewing pleasure! The first is The Blackjack character class, a powerful spellcaster with magical abilities inspired by the illusion of street magic. Spells include the spinning Disc of Blades, two hands of explosive Wild Cards, and the ability to conceal yourself by summoning the Spectral Cloaks.

The second, features the Pulaski Circle arena. Set in a cemetery plot filled with crumbling tombstones and elaborate gothic mausoleums, the circular arena is conducive for close-quarters spellcasting duels. From the graffiti defaced gravemarkers to the unmanicured foliage bursting forth from the ground, the Pulaski Circle illustrates the stunning level of detail featured in The Unspoken’s playable arenas.

The Unspoken lets you cast over 25 spells using one-to-one movement. When you play the game, you see your hands in front of you, and they're where your power springs from. But you can't simply gesture wildly and hope for the best: This secret world of witchcraft and wizardry is bound by a certain natural order.

"Gesture spells are cast by gathering Embers in the arena," Dezern explains. "To cast a fiery Chaos Skull, you hold both hands close in front of your chest and grip to grow a skull, then push forward to cast. The skull tracks your opponent. It's useful for drawing their focus while you sneakily ready a new spell."

You can also carry magic-imbued artifacts into duels, and learning how to unlock their potential is vital for dominating your opponents. "Each object uses multi-step casting actions," Dezern says. "The Dark Forge presents you with a hammer and anvil; by hitting glowing marks you forge a shield-breaking magic spear. Cthulhu's Grasp is an ancient book that displays a glowing sigil; if you trace it correctly, you call forth unfathomable monstrosities on your opponents' pedestals."

Don't expect to become an archmage within five minutes of entering the world of The Unspoken, however. Dezern warns that even simple spells take time to wrap your head (and hands) around. "These spells are easy to pick up, but the skill cap is high. Your accuracy starts to feel supernatural as your abilities grow."

Not a Stage Show

The Unspoken offers a lot of depth, though maybe that's not surprising given how the act of casting magic shouldn't be as simple as yelling "Hocus pocus."

"[The Unspoken is] class-based, so there are three dramatically different spell casters available at launch, with different primal spells, gesture spells, and play styles," Dezern says. "And your artifact loadout factors into your play style preference; you can go all-in for offense, with Forges and Aerogrammes, or you can stock up for defense, with Dispelling Censers and Imps."

Dezern points out that you also need to carefully consider how to go after your rivals. "You can choose to target your opponent directly," he says, "or you can destroy their Embers to control the space of the arena. You can [also] try to overwhelm them with homing spells that divert their attention."

Insomniac Games’ The Unspoken launches exclusively on Oculus Rift for VR ready PCs on December 6th, and comes bundled with the Oculus Touch controllers for those who pre-ordered.