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

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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.

Andy Chalk
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.