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News video games 19 December 2019, 23:26

author: Jacob Blazewicz

Is Witchfire a Looter Shooter? Adrian Chmielarz: „Yes, But Not Really”

Adrian Chmielarz published another entry about Witchfire. This time the head of The Astronauts referred to the allegations concerning the recent presentation of the game. Some players are disappointed that the production seems to be „just another looter shooter”. But is it really?

The presentation of Witchfire in the eyes of players: too bright, too much interface and... it's a looter shooter?

For over two years we have been waiting for the release of Witchfire, the new project by Adrian Chmielarz and The Astronauts team he founded. During this time, the devs were constantly sharing new information about the game and some materials from it. Chmielarz's latest entry on the studio's official website refers to an issue raised by Internet users after the last show of the game. The devs noticed that many of the players commenting on the recently presented demo seemed to hold a grudge against the devs for developing, in their opinion, a looter shooter. These opinions and their negative overtones slightly surprised the developers, so the head of the studio considered it appropriate to clarify this issue.

Witchfire's genre classification has been somewhat controversial.

The dev's extensive entry takes a lot of time dwelling on what a looter shooter actually is and where the reluctance of some people to this genre comes from. Without going into details, the Pole's investigation revealed that players are supposed to be discouraged by the concept of an immersion-breaking RPG interface (numbers showing damage, health bars over enemies, etc.), while the second business model identified with this type of game (vide the Destiny series) and related practices aimed at maximizing publisher profit. Chmielarz quickly waved off the first argument, citing, for example, Bloodborne and other games made by From Software (by the way, we know that the devs have a high opinion of the works of Hidetaka Miyazaki's team). As far as the business model is concerned, Chmielarz, as you can easily guess, does not consider this to be a genre-specific feature.

It seems that for some "loot box" and "looter shooter" are almost synonymous.

And how does this look like for the latest work of The Astronauts? Is Witchfire a looter shooter? To quote Adrian Chmielarz: "Well, yes, but actually no." In the game we will find elements that are important components of the genre: loot and a pinch of RPG and randomness. However, the devs emphasize that the new equipment will not be an end in itself, the universally-hated RNG will be severely limited and there is no chance that a lucky "drop" will win the game for us. In short,Witchfire will focus on shooting and not on new toys, which will only be a tool instead of the main target. This does not mean that Chmielarz categorically forbids to describe his work as a looter shooter, which may cause the name to lose its, according to some, offensive meaning:

"But at the end of the day, we’re not going to protest every time someone calls Witchfire a looter shooter. I mean, there will be loot, and there will be shooting. If the label sticks for some reason, we’ll just do our best to bring it back to its former glory."

Apart from an extensive analysis of the definition of a looter shooter, the entry also addresses other allegations against the December demo. Adrian Chmielarz emphasized that although the game may seem more or less finished, it is still only a working version. Hence too bright and "cheerful" colours, outdated interface, modest size and slowness of knights, etc. There is still a lot of work ahead of the devs and many elements will change before the release. However, if you are not convinced by the devs' arguments about health bars and damage displayed in numbers, do not count on them removing these feature. The dev made it clear that they do not interfere with anything and are not going anywhere. More details can be found on the studio's official website.

Jacob Blazewicz

Jacob Blazewicz

Passionate about video (and other) games for years, he completed an Mba in linguistics, defending a thesis about games. He began his adventure with Gamepressure in 2015, writing in the newsroom, later also covering film and – oh, horror! – technology (also contributor to the gaming encyclopedia). He started with platformers, which he still dearly loves (including metroidvania), but he's also interested in card games (including 'analog'), brawlers, soulslike games and basically every other type of game. Don't ask about the graphics – after a few hours of exposition, he can be delighted with pixelated characters from games that remember the days of the Game Boy age (if not older).




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