Blair Witch was something of a cultural phenomenon when it arrived in 1999. The found-footage horror movie found its scares not from gore or jumps, but what might be lurking just out of frame, waiting, watching.
This writer developed an irrational fear of camping, finger painting, and grown men stood in corners after being exposed to Blair Witch at the tender old age of seven, so it’s with a cautious mind that I approach the new video game adaptation from developer Bloober Team, who also developed Layers of Fear and Observer.
Blair Witch was announced during Microsoft’s E3 2019 press conference, where we got a moody new trailer that was, admittedly, pretty light on gameplay. Fortunately, we’ve now been given a fresh look at the game courtesy of Game Informer.
Here’s the game’s official description from Bloober Team:
Blair Witch is a first-person, story-driven psychological horror game based on the cinematic lore of Blair Witch. It’s 1996. A young boy disappears in the Black Hills Forest near Burkittsville, Maryland. As Ellis, a former police officer with a troubled past, you join the search. What starts as an ordinary investigation soon turns into an endless nightmare as you confront your fears and the Blair Witch, a mysterious force that haunts the woods…
Before we discuss anything else, let’s focus on the dog companion, for dog is the most important thing in this footage. His name is bullet, and you can interact with him a variety of ways. You can pet the dog, get him to explore spaces you can’t, warn you when monsters are nearby by barking, and help solve puzzles. I love Bullet.
Combat will also feature in the game, via the Blair Witch’s minions; horrible twig-like beasts that attempt to encircle you while Bullet warns you which direction they’re coming from. They can be stopped by shining your torch at them, though I expect there are bigger threats in the woods that aren’t so easily dealt with.
You’ll also have a walkie-talkie that can be used to keep in touch with the rest of the search party, but the witch can also use it to send fake messages, get into your head, and taunt you with memories of your past. Shudder.
Blair Witch is launching on Xbox Game Pass on August 30, and I can tell you now that if Bullet doesn’t make it out okay, I will be sending Bloober Team hate mail every day for a month.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.