Filled with furious dark knights, vibrant magic and truckloads of guns, Witchfire looks like a frantic, fun time to be had, especially if you like your shooters with a steampunk flavor. But, if you’ve been following its development, you might wonder why it took the team so long to complete the game. We finally have an answer.
Originally announced way back in 2017, developer The Astronauts has explained what caused the significant delay: They made Witchfire semi-open world.
At first, Witchfire was going to be a strictly closed-world experience. “Witchfire offered you to play these huge areas in a distinctive, very rogue-lite way,” said creative director Adrian Chmielarz. a new blog post (opens in new tab), “You enter an area, fight some monsters, and then there’s a choice: take this reward and go left, or take that reward and go right.” Paatal Lok 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 that I hated constraints,” said Chmielarz, and so the magical constraints that were supposed to keep the player locked in certain locations were scrapped.
We see this in some gaming websites as well… #Witchfire didn’t become an open world game. The levels are bigger and now you can explore them freely unlike the old design but that’s all. That’s why we call it a “semi-open world” in today’s blog post… Hub-based? closed world? https://t.co/fq9MOmZX9kOctober 12, 2022
It may sound simple in theory, but the change in direction took an enormous amount of work for the team. As with the original constraints, once you’ve chosen a direction, all enemies and environments below that path that you didn’t travel will be removed. However, with no hindrances, the team now had to figure out what to do with all those creatures. “Should the enemies stay? Should they obey? But what if the player moves to another new area and triggers even more spawns? Should the two groups of monsters merge?” Chmielarz said.
Thankfully, the feature is reportedly 95% implemented now, according to chmailarz, so we shouldn’t have to wait too long. Soon we will see for ourselves whether the constraints could have been useful or whether this new found freedom is to be savored.
Until then, it looks like we’ll have to satiate our witchcraft appetite with all the trailers that have been dropping recently.
For the most part, The Astronaut has provided us with dark and epic trailers, not to mention the most recent gameplay trailer uploaded by publisher Epic Games. It featured all the best Witchfire battles we can expect in the game. Smashing through monstrous enemies sounds like a great idea when you’re armed to the teeth in aesthetic medieval firearms.
I don’t want these trailers to get me too excited about witchcraft; Hype is never a good thing. However, I look forward to seeing how the changes to the world order will affect the many fights that look awfully fun.