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Dark fantasy shooter Witchfire reveals early access release date

Witchfire, a new dark fantasy rougelite shooter from the creators of Bulletstorm, has announced that it will hit early access via the Epic Games Store for Windows on September 20th, 2023. Witchfire takes place in an alternate reality where a war rages between witches and the church and has players taking on the role of a witch hunter, know as a preyer, who is armed by Vatican sorcerers. You can check out a trailer above and read below for more details:

WARSAW, Poland, June 8, 2023— Today the independent game studio The Astronauts revealed the early access launch date of their upcoming dark fantasy roguelite, Witchfire. A spellbinding new gameplay trailer shared in the Summer Game Fest confirmed that the grimdark shooter will launch into Early Access on September 20, 2023. The title will be available for Windows players from the Epic Games Store.

From the creators of Painkiller and Bulletstorm, 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 very 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 and Co-Founder of The Astronauts said: “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. 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 AAA space. Built in the Unreal Engine, Witchfire uses advanced photogrammetry to achieve a gorgeous and immersive dark fantasy world for players to explore.

Witchfire releases to Early Access on September 20, 2023 on the Epic Games Store. For more information about Witchfire, read the full interview with Adrian Chmielarz on Epic Game News, head to The Astronauts website, follow the team on Facebook, or join the conversation on Twitter.

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Richard Allen is a freelance writer and contributing editor for various publications. While he enjoys modern gaming, he is a retro gamer at heart, having been raised on a steady diet of Contra, Mario, and Dragon's Lair.  Chat with him via @thricetheartist on Twitter.

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