Witchfire’s world isn’t closed or open; the steampunk shooter is right in the middle

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Filled with furious dark knights, vibrant magic, and a truckload of guns, Witchfire looks like a frenetic, fun time, especially if you like your shooters steampunk flavored. But, if you’ve been following its development, you may wonder why it’s taken the team so long to finish making the game. We finally have an answer. 

Originally announced way back in 2017, developer The Astronauts has explained what’s caused the significant delays: they made Witchfire semi-open world.

At first, Witchfire was going to be a strictly closed-world experience. “Witchfire offered you these vast regions to play through in a specific, very rogue-lite way,” creative director Adrian Chmielarz said in a new blog post. “You enter an area, fight some monsters, and then have a choice: take this reward and go left, or take that reward and go right.” Hades is a good example of this choice-based storytelling that The Astronauts was trying to emulate. 

However, the Witchfire devs decided to ramp up a gear and test their limits by implementing a semi-open world. “I realized I hated the barriers,” Chmielarz said, and so the magical barriers that were meant to keep the player locked in certain locations were scrapped. 

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It may sound simple in theory, but the change in direction created a huge amount of work for the team. With the original barriers, when you had picked a direction, all the enemies and environments down the path you didn’t travel would be discarded. However, without barriers, the team now had to work out what to do with all those creatures. “Should the enemies stay? Should they follow? But what if the player runs to another new area and triggers even more spawns? Should both groups of monsters merge?” Chmielarz said. 

Thankfully the feature is reportedly 95% implemented now, according to Chmielarz, so we shouldn’t have to wait too much longer. Soon we’ll be able to see for ourselves whether barriers could have been useful or whether this newfound freedom is to be savored.

Graphics galor  

Witchfire SGF 2022

(Image credit: The Astronauts)

Until then, it seems like we’ll have to satiate our Witchfire hunger with all the recent trailers that have been dropping. 

For the most part, The Astronaut has provided us with dark and epic trailers, not to mention the most recent gameplay trailer that was uploaded by the publisher Epic Games. This showcased all the best of Witchfire’s combat that we can expect to see in the game. Wading through demonic enemies while you’re armed to the teeth in aesthetic medieval firearms seems like a great idea. 

I don’t want these trailers to get me too excited about Witchfire; hype is never a good thing. However, I look forward to seeing how the changes made to the world system will impact the many fights that look gruesomely fun.