We haven’t really covered Witchfire around these parts, and that’s a crying shame. It’s an upcoming first-person shooter from Polish indie devs The Astronauts, a team of nine founded by former People Can Fly alums Adrian Chmielarz, Michał Kosieradzki, and Andrzej Poznańsk. These are the same folks that brought us such gems as Painkiller and Bulletstorm, and also helped Epic make the Gears of War series.
They broke up from People Can Fly in 2012 to pursue their own passions, starting with 2014’s adventure horror game The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Which was fine, but their true passion lay in first-person shooters, which led The Astronauts to start work on Witchfire at the end of 2015.
At the 2017 Game Awards, The Astronauts went all-in on Witchfire with an official reveal that showcased a game that looked a lot like Destiny, only it was dark fantasy instead of dark sci-fi. The Astronauts have even admitted that Destiny is a heavy inspiration for Witchfire, but the focus will be less on the looting and more on the shooting.
There’s no release date for Witchfire, but the latest development blog lets us know how far the game has come after reaching two milestones.
The first is completing what The Astronauts co-founder Adrian Chmielarz calls the “core gameplay loop.” In this case, it’s 30 seconds of shooting wave after wave of enemies and having everything come together–the animations, the AI, the physics, and everything else that makes Witchfire worth playing.
The second milestone is what Chmielarz called “polish.” That’s getting all those previous factors absolutely perfect so that the dev team can start building the game outward from this core 30-second internal demo.
While getting that 30-second demo made took all of two weeks over the summer, the polishing stage is still ongoing even now. According to Chmielarz, “The problem is, despite everyone working from home for months now (thanks, Covid-19) we have not anticipated how severely it affects those periods of development that highly rely on constant communication.”
Still, they’ve got something worth showing, and the team will take steps to improve productivity going forward by having everyone working during “core hours” and ensuring that they book enough time for the final development push. We still don’t have a release date on Witchfire, but we’ve got significant progress to report, and 2021 isn’t completely outside the realm of possibility.
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