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NYCC 2018: Reflector Entertainment Launches Transmedia Experience, Unknown 9
Written by James Ferguson
Reflector Entertainment has launched an ambitious and immersive transmedia project with Unknown 9. Instead of focusing efforts in one medium, like a movie or a TV show, the company is creating everything at once. There's a podcast, a novel series, a comic book series through Dark Horse, a movie, a game, and a TV show. Additionally, there will be in-person experiences, like the one I attended at New York Comic Con. Each one can be enjoyed on its own, however they will allow fans to dig in as deep as they want to learn more about this occult conspiracy thriller.
At the heart of Unknown 9 is a secret organization called the Leap Year Society, aiming to uncover the keys to mankind's greatest mysteries. During the event I attended, I, along with a few others, were inducted into the Leap Year Society in a bizarre and unsettling ceremony.
We were ushered into a small elevator and then gathered around a collection of small rocks assembled in a circle in a dimly lit room. A cloaked man put long black scarves around each of our necks, then we were given a pill to help with the journey. Everyone was a little uneasy about this part of the process because we're told from an early age not to take candy from strangers, let alone pills from mysterious shadow organizations, but everyone went with it.
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Next up, we were each given a card with a small instruction on it. There weren't enough to go around, so the Leap Year Society people were worried there might be a stowaway here. My card said “Make a deep hum.” Everyone was instructed to perform the action on the card at once, so it created a cacophonous sound which opened the next phase of the induction.
This is where we were outfitted with white masks, but they covered our eyes so we couldn't see. Granted, the lights were pretty dim, so I couldn't see much in the first place, but now I was basically blindfolded. Everyone's hands were joined and we were marched around the room. This was a little problematic because we're moving in a big line. If one person tripped, we would have all went down. Fortunately, that wasn't the case.
After this, the masks were raised so we could see through them and we were each ushered into a bar setting where other, existing members of the Leap Year Society greeted us. There was a strange tasting punch and crackers with grasshoppers on them for snacks. I did not eat the grasshopper. Each Leap Year Society member would draw something on your mask after you interacted with them, almost like collecting something from NPCs in a video game. After a few minutes of this strange interaction, the final phase began.
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This is where things get kind of crazy. I know what you're thinking. Isn't this already crazy? I went through a dimly lit building with a bunch of strangers, took a pill, and chatted with a bunch of masked individuals. Yeah, now it gets nuts.
Here was where we had to open a portal and pull someone through. I don't want to spoil the full experience, but I will say that it was an impressive showing and more than a little frightening. There were also some surprising moments as the worries of a stowaway played out. We saw the full ramifications of this and how the portal opening could go wrong before we were quickly rushed out of the room out of fear of more dangers.
If this is the kind of thing we can expect from Unknown 9, I am so in. Reflector Entertainment is creating something big and bold here and it can go pretty deep. This in-person experience was just scratching the surface and I can't wait to see what else is in store.