When the Blair Witch recreation was first introduced, followers of the long-lasting horror film franchise have been desperate to see what the story could be like. When Layers of Concern studio Bloober Group was confirmed to be on the helm, that pleasure grew. Whereas Blair Witch as a recreation was met with blended reception because of its size and its mechanics meant to confuse the participant, this horror journey carved a novel area of interest for itself throughout the style. Now that it’s in VR, these scares are amplified and the in-game decisions matter greater than ever.
We sat down with Daniel Engelhardt, Lionsgate Senior VP of Interactive Enterprise & Video games, to speak about how this partnership with Bloober got here to be and why the bounce to VR regardless of the blended opinions. Often, when two firms come collectively over an IP, the method is lengthy, sophisticated, and stuffed with negotiations. Engelhardt tells us that this wasn’t the case with Blair Witch. In truth, it was espresso and mutual fandom that made this a match made in heaven (or Hell, if we’re speaking horror).
“The concept of a Blair Witch recreation was actually pure, humorous sufficient,” he tells us. “The pinnacle of Bloober is a big fan of the Blair Witch motion pictures and I am an enormous fan of their video games like Layers of Fear. So it turned this ‘I am a fan, you are fan, let’s do that’ sort of state of affairs. We truly began speaking about this idea simply over a espresso.”
From there, the idea turned a actuality and the partnership between Lionsgate and Bloober was quick-acting and clean. “We spent a whole lot of time with the Bloober workforce, working collectively to make this actual.” He provides, “It is actually about simply aligning with actually wholesome groups and making nice content material. In some instances, like Blair Witch, it is about integrating these groups which have widespread targets and keenness.”
“By way of making the sport for us, it was actually a couple of recreation the place they’ll inform nice tales, and actually craft attention-grabbing narratives,” Engelhardt tells us. “For us the storyline takes priority, and so we gave [Bloober] as a lot artistic freedom as we might, which was loads, to actually honor what makes the Blair Witch franchise so particular. There have been so many superb parts within the recreation that have been so intelligent just like the digicam mechanics or being caught in a home whereas having this mind-bending expertise throughout the world round you. For us, we needed the studio to convey one thing new to Blair Witch and we needed to do the whole lot we might to facilitate that.”
With Blair Witch diving into the world of VR, many parts of the sport change into extra elevated. The mechanics meant to make you are feeling misplaced when confronted with the Blair Witch change into much more disorienting and terrifying, and the sensation of being hunted turns into much more practical. Bloober tempered this by tweaking interactions with Bullet, the in-game canine, by giving him all of the pets and treats he can eat, but it surely’s nonetheless a horror recreation on the finish of the day; a horror expertise that’s ramped up by the immersive nature of VR.
“Blair Witch is extra than simply bounce scares,” Engelhardt explains when speaking in regards to the bounce to digital actuality. “Jumpscares are apparent, proper? Whereas Blair Witch has them, that is not the entire image. An enormous a part of how we thought in regards to the recreation, from a VR perspective, was the notion of having the ability to be unified with somebody who’s being affected by the witch and will lose to these outdoors forces. Going via that have is actually compelling and VR takes it to an entire new degree and makes it much more visceral and immersive. When that potential, we knew we needed to inform this story once more with this medium.”
Interacting with a doorknob clumsily, seeing the refined shifts in surroundings when deep into the woods sparking hallucinations and paranoia; this all performs an element in how the VR version of Blair Witch ups the ante. To make this much more practical, the event workforce needed to go in and rework many facets of the sport to make them work seamlessly in digital actuality. These changes led to enhancements of in-game mechanics and options designed to terrify the participant and make them really feel really doomed.
So what does this recreation imply for the way forward for Blair Witch? Will we be getting a sequel to the sport? A brand new film? The reply: something is feasible! Whereas he could not inform me a tough no for a brand new film, which is one thing in itself, Engelhardt does point out that the long run is fairly open for the place Blair Witch goes subsequent. Seeing how the sport continues to be obtained will play an enormous function in that and Lionsgate additionally simply partnered with the tabletop journey “Hunt a Killer” for a particular Halloween Blair Witch collaboration.
Whereas the sequel motion pictures that adopted after the unique did not pull in the identical numbers, the 1999 movie modified the sport when it got here to horror. Social media wasn’t like how it’s at present and when that movie first launched, many thought it was an precise documentary and never a fictional documentary-style film. The movie’s success spawned a brand new wave of documentary-framed fictional tales and adjusted how administrators and creators approached this style as an entire.
The Blair Witch recreation itself is a totally standalone story, not an adaptation of the movie’s narrative. It places the participant within the function of somebody who’s compelled to confront, and survive, in opposition to the dreaded Blair Witch. Whereas the title is pretty quick, often clocking in at round 5 to 6 hours, it’s distinctive in the way it actually makes the participant really feel disoriented, weak, and like they’re in precise hazard. The VR model takes that have to an entire new degree of realism and you’ll test it out for your self as a result of Blair Witch VR is out there now on Oculus Quest.