In the day and age where game journos can’t complete a tutorial or let alone finish a game to write up a full review without arbitrary sociopolitical nonsense, it looks like The Astronauts might have yet another skill-based game in the works that will send journalists into another frenzied panic, and it’s called Witchfire.
According to The Astronauts the game in question will not be a Painkiller-clone, even though that’s what everyone originally thought it was going to be when it was first announced. Instead, Witchfire will call for skill, positioning, effort, and mastery, rewarding those who run the extra mile in the first-person shooter:
“Witchfire is a first person shooter focused on challenge and mastery. We’re trying to make sure it’s accessible and there are many roads to the ultimate victory but you’ll still need to prove your witch-hunting skills if you’re after all of its secrets.
To get one thing out of the way: Witchfire is not a story-based game. There’s lore to discover and decipher, but no cut-scenes to follow. A project like that – e.g. like Bulletstorm, a game that some of us directed – would be bordering on impossible for a tiny team like ours. More importantly, though, the heart of the game is somewhere else.”
While The Astronauts describe Painkiller as revolving around two moves — backpedaling and circle-strafing — the team’s upcoming game will offer a range of combat dynamics in terms of niches.
This means close range players can enjoy hand cannons and shotguns during close encounters, while campers can enjoy shooting from afar (though skill and well-placed shots are needed to survive).
Also, a number of destructive tools will be at your disposal meaning guns are accompanied by spells, melee weapons, and passive abilities. You can see some sliding action along with the aforesaid in the latest work in progress (WIP) snippet here:
Sadly, randomized loot will be in the game although it is said that it won’t trump player skill. In other words, the game won’t be a looter-shooter where if RNG is in your side you can cheese through anything. Instead, dodging and skill still play a major role in triumphing the dead:
“There’s going to be loot. Weapons will have random perks, and so will other gear.
However, we’re trying to avoid calling Witchfire a looter shooter, because we feel that it often suggests a game that’s more about the loot than the skill. The game we’re trying to make is not going to play itself for you as soon as RNGesus blesses you. Our loot is about inventing synergies and amplifying your skill with the loot but you’ll still need to keep hitting those shots while controlling the chaos of events unfolding with your movement, positioning and abilities.
Think Dark Souls. There’s loot, and you can even farm certain areas for more loot and exp, but at the end of the day there’s enough skill checks in the game that you feel you truly earned that ending.”
The above quote comes from the most recent 2019 blog post on theastronauts.com, which details more of Witchfire’s gameplay and HUD options.
With that said, Witchfire is currently slated to hit PC via Steam when it’s ready.