Bringing back the 90s
Hold up! Don’t like reading? Watch instead…
I was watching the NVIDIA Special Address the other day searching for some morsel of satisfaction from the January dry spell when I was reminded that this game exists.
And it’s looking like it’s going to tick all the right boxes for 2023.
I think what the industry needs right now is for AA and AAA developers to just get the basics right. Too many games are getting lost in production value, politics, monetization schemes, or pretentious innovations. And we’re all suffering for it.
But if you’ve been paying attention to the culture overall… we’re repeating ourselves. We’re going back to what worked in our past. So out of the 80s — thank you, Stranger Things — and into the 90s.
90s kids understand 90s and 2000s gaming. We’re all in for a treat.
Witchfire is a rogue-lite first-person shooter where we get to wield Old Western, Van Helsing-inspired artillery while at the same time whipping out the tried-and-true Skyrim left hand for some magic casting.
If the game looks familiar it’s because it’s being developed by the same creative leads that brought us Painkiller in 2004.
Painkiller was a great game that played like a dialed-down Serious Sam or Doom. Enemies wouldn’t come at you as quickly or in huge waves, but the game carved out a niche of its own at the time. Its marriage of gothic and renaissance style with metal music was perfect — like a first-person Bloodbourne but with a better soundtrack.
Witchfire definitely looks like a worthy successor to the lineage. Painkiller kind of had a souls-like vibe at the time with some of its enemy patterns, but I’m glad to see that the new development house, The Astronauts, is drawing more inspiration from advancements in game design.
And speaking of advancements in game design, the game got delayed for an excellent reason.
Usually, companies justify their delays with the usual PR speak of, “We want to give the player the best experience possible“, but The Astronauts’ reasoning was music to my ears.
They delayed the game from Q4 2022 to early this year because they decided to re-tool a fundamental part of the gameplay loop.
Taken from their late 2022 blog post, they’ve,
“…upgraded combat and exploration from arena style to semi-open world style, and that took time.“
To me, that screams less Serious Sam and Doom, and more Dishonored and Elden Ring-ish. Exploring a dark fantasy land full of backtracking, monsters, and lore in first-person sounds like heaven right now.
Witchfire drops early this year as an early-access Epic Games Store exclusive.
Don’t worry though, they have plans for Steam and consoles when the game officially releases.
These guys are doing nostalgia right — take what worked for an entire generation and enhance it. No rewriting. No “subverting expectations.”
See you in a Witch’s den and as always, stay cool, gentlemen.