Skip to main content

Witchfire, from the makers of Painkiller, is a supernatural shooter about witches and worse

Audio player loading…

Witchfire is a "dark fantasy shooter" that was announced at the end of 2017 by Vanishing of Ethan Carter studio The Astronauts. It immediately grabbed my attention because The Astronauts was founded by three former members of People Can Fly, and more specifically the lead designers of Painkiller, one of the most excellent shooters of all time. And then it fell off my radar because The Astronauts completely stopped talking about it. 

Today the team started talking about it again, describing Witchfire as a sort of alt-history shooter in which witches, as they were envisioned in medieval times, are real—and you are responsible for dealing with them as "the punishing hand of the Church." In spite of that very obvious good-vs-evil setup, however, the developers also warned that "things are not as black and white as one might think." 

It sounds like a twisted tale of supernatural shenanigans, but The Astronauts also emphasized that Witchfire is not a story-based game. "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," The Astronauts co-founder  Adrian Chmielarz wrote.   

"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. We will talk about it more as soon as we’re ready."

Development is far enough along that the developers are going to start posting weekly status updates, but it's still a long way off: The current expectation is that Witchfire will be ready for release, probably, sometime in 2020. Even now, though, I think it's fair to say that it looks pretty Painkiller-y.