How 'Wizards Of NY' Became 'The Unspoken'

How 'Wizards Of NY' Became 'The Unspoken'
December 25, 2016

'The Unspoken' is a multiplayer virtual reality video game that was released earlier this month as a launch title for the Oculus Touch platform. The game turns you into a modern, urban wizard tasked with battling others of your kind for arcane supremacy. In The Unspoken you can blast fireballs from your hand, hurl police cars at your foes, or summon fantastic creatures to do your bidding.


The Unspoken has been a huge boon for the Oculus Rift and VR gaming in general but, according to the studio that made the game, it was almost something completely different.


Ted Price is the founder, president and CEO of Insomniac Games — the creator of The Unspoken and other well known franchises such as Spyro the Dragon and Ratchet and Clank. The company has its roots in traditional console gaming and, according to Price, that was originally where The Unspoken was supposed to end up.


In an interview with UploadVR, Price revealed that The Unspoken was originally conceived by his team as an open world console game called Wizards of New York. This game would have maintained a similar aesthetic and plot to The Unspoken and would focus on an urban sorcerer combating a shadowy cabal of underground spell casters.


“That’s where the idea for The Unspoken originally came from,” Price said. “At Insomniac we come up with so many ideas that never get to see daylight but the team was really excited about this idea of modern wizards…The idea never made it very far past the idea stage, however. We just couldn’t figure out how to make the controls for that type of game fun on a 2D console.”


It wasn’t until Price’s longtime friend Jason Rubin, the founder of Naughty Dog and current head of content at Oculus, approached him about developing games for VR that Price and his team decided to revisit Wizards of New York.


“Throwing a fireball was really the light bulb moment for us,” Price explained. “As soon as we did that and saw how good it felt we knew this was something we had to make and that would be incredible in VR.”


Throughout the course of development, Insomniac eventually moved the game’s setting from New York to Chicago and retitled it “The Unspoken.” The vestiges of those New York wizards, however, still echo in the final game’s art style, storyline, and overall conceit.


The Unspoken is available now on Oculus Home.

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