Omensight – A Murder Mystery Outside of Time
If you followed the news from PAX South earlier this year, you might have heard about the upcoming title, Omensight by Spearhead Games. The announcement trailer depicts an ominous scene of several characters lying lifeless while tidbits of dialogue echo in the background. The dialogue leaves questions unanswered and a powerful image of a spirit-avatar facing a monstrous snake.
Omensight is following in the wake of beloved Spearhead titles such as, Stories: The Path of Destines and Tiny Brains, which both garnered critical-acclaim. Building off the beautiful lore that transcended Stories, the world depicted in Omensight has been named its spiritual successor.
Your quest in Omensight is to solve a murder. But as the Harbinger, you are not a run-of-the-mill detective. In fact, last year as I sat in a quaint coffee shop listening to an overview of the game by Malik Boukhira and Atul Mehra, my attention was caught immediately because what the player will experience as the Harbinger will balance both an impediment and a supernatural ability at once. I thought, “this is cool and sounds different than so many typical over-powered heroes I’ve played in the past.” Right then and there I pledged my fervor to Omensight.
Later, it was Nadim Boukhira who once again stirred more excitement when he described an underlying theme he hoped would resonate in Omensight, one of which being the art of listening. He described how communication, or rather the lack thereof, can often be the source of conflicts and misunderstandings. On purpose or accidentally, people make assumptions about each other, many times without asking any questions first. Imagine all that we would avoid if we took more time to listen and study.
The companions you will meet in Omensight will vary in attitude and motives, and may also surprise you. Similar to the movie, Zootopia, where the anthropomorphic animals draw you in to familiar predicaments, Omensight too depicts that immersion. Take Ratika: she may be tiny in size but her conscience is big. She’s a fast-talker and has been known to transfix audiences with her powerful storytelling. She is a talented musician, has a sharp wit, and her fiery spirit blazes in every cardinal direction. If you stick closely to her, even when her moves become almost too elusive, you’ll benefit from her song’s charming effects. Now, Ludomir: he may seem at first like a laggard, but he’s deadly serious about his mission. His somber self is not even a shadow of what he once was, but that old-life was ripped away piece-by-piece. He’s distrustful and near hopeless for a reason, but his fighting skills are astounding. Winning over his favor means you’ll feel the benefits of his strength.
Omensight takes place in the world of Urralia. A world that is both familiar and strikingly mystical. Despite the historical differences which have plagued its nations’ borders, the two rivals, Pygaria and Rodentia, boast remarkable longevity. Each time these territories are afflicted, each rebuilds, and the vibrant flora in all its resilience regrows. However, more than civil disorder haunts Urralia’s lands. Otherworldly Horrors, also known as The Old Gods, assemble and emerge from uncharted space—the abyss that lies beneath Urralia—called The Deep. Ancient Pygarian scriptures describe these powerful spirits as eager, covetous, dazzling, and catastrophic. But in some texts, they are also defined as defenders, prompting the belief that there is more at work than simply dark forces dwelling below Urralia.
If you sensed this column go “lore-like” suddenly, there’s a reason. I couldn’t help but be swept up in Urralia world-mode. The foundation of Pygaria borrows from modern west, colonialist Europe and the Roman Empire, while Rodentia borrows from Native America, the Arab world and Africa. As I worked alongside talent such as Nadim Boukhira, Atul Mehra, Philip Tam, Malik Boukhira, and Chris Avellone writing dialogue and building the lore of Omensight’s characters and the history of Urralia, I was a motivated and excited at once. Some of the underlying themes in Omensight embody humanistic qualities that don’t skirt around discomfort and hard-to-answer questions while also exploring what influences modern, everyday decisions. What’s also interesting is that the characters in Omensight portray both the common “ruts” humankind tends to fall into, and a glimpse of what future-thinking people, or evolutionary advances, can point toward.
For a closer look into the world and gameplay of Omensight, check out Spearhead Games’ Facebook and Twitter and be sure to sign up for the game’s newsletter for breaking news and updates. You can also pre-order the game on Steam. Look for the devs from Spearhead Games at PAX East.
Remember: beware of Omensight’s hidden layers. Always dissect carefully what you see and hear and carry-over what each day reveals. Just like in the movie Edge of Tomorrow (Live Die Repeat), the Harbinger has the power to work outside of time. And, above all, avoid spoilers!
Hope you enjoyed this quick-look at the upcoming game, Omensight! Cheers and sincere thanks from your friendly gamer, writer, and advocate of the creative space! -Genese Davis
P.S. Throwback to 2013 when my world intertwined with both Spearhead Games and MMORPG.com. In addition to meeting the team at Spearhead at E3 in Los Angeles, and demoing their debut game, Tiny Brains (which is such a brilliant and fun co-op game), I also had my first collaboration with Bill Murphy and Garrett Fuller at MMORPG.com. They interviewed me about my first novel (a mystery thriller about a girl going head to head with a hacker hacking an online game) and I began writing columns and hosting on-camera episodes like “The List” for MMORPG.com. Over the years my affection for fantasy games like Fable kept growing into a deep well of context, that I continually draw from when writing fantasy novels or writing fantasy lore for upcoming games. It feels like coming full-circle to be writing a column now in 2018 about Spearhead Games’ Omensight which encompasses both fantasy, reality, and threads of history. Omensight encompasses that knit and gritty realness while also laying bare endearing characters that balance fantastical abilities and real-life circumstances. Much like Final Fantasy XI had a huge impact on me back in 2002, Omensight stirs to life that same giddy anticipation to play a game that offers relatable situations, both light-hearted and intense. The Harbinger’s next decision is always the linchpin for so much at stake.