Dark fantasy shooter Witchfire debuts on September 20 in early access

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The Astronauts announced that Witchfire, a dark fantasy shooter, will debut in early access on September 20.

The company unveiled the news in a new gameplay trailer that debuted at the Summer Game Fest. The rogue-lite title comes from the creators of Painkiller, Bulletstorm, and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.

The Astronauts is an independent game studio in Warsaw, Poland. The title will be available for Windows players from the Epic Games Store.

Witchfire is a first-person shooter set in a grimdark fantasy world in which a deadly war rages between powerful witches and the Church. In this alternate reality, witches are very real and dangerous— but so is the witch hunter, also known as a preyer.

Armed by Vatican sorcerers, players wield an ungodly array of guns and forbidden magic as they combat dark terrors on behalf of their shadowy benefactors.

In an interview with Epic Games News, Adrian Chmielarz, creative director of The Astronauts, said in a statement, “The thing that excites me the most in video games is the idea of experiencing different worlds. To be a space pirate, a detective with supernatural powers, or a Church’s witch hunter.”

Chmielarz added, “It doesn’t matter to me if the game is focused on the story or on the mechanics— I need its world to feel like a real place. So even though Witchfire is obviously a shooter first, we invest a lot in its world and lore. I believe this enhances the experience even for the people who claim they don’t care about the stories in games at all.”

Chmielarz confirmed that, although there is extensive lore and backstory to Witchfire, the team’s main focus for the early access launch is to present a polished and atmospheric gameplay experience, with further story features getting added as the game approaches full release. Players interested in Witchfire lore can read Chmielarz’s short story set in the world of Witchfire: The Preyer.

Discussing the latest gameplay trailer, Chmielarz said, “The last few trailers were very combat focused and I think gave the wrong impression that Witchfire is a non-stop action fest. It is not. Sure, some fights will be incredibly intense, but there are also periods of quiet exploration, planning, thinking. It is much closer to Souls in that regard rather than, say, Doom. So that’s why the beginning of this new trailer is a little slower. We might slow down even more when there’s finally time for the launch trailer.”

Witchfire will be the second release for The Astronauts, following the BAFTA award-winning title, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Although The Astronauts has a small team of just ten developers, the game boasts graphics that can compete in the triple-A space, the company said. Built in the Unreal Engine, Witchfire uses advanced photogrammetry to achieve a gorgeous and immersive dark fantasy world for players to explore.

The Astronauts was founded in 2012.

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