After Microsoft’s E3 2019 new Blair Witch game press conference we left, as usual, wanting more. Today, finally, we have what we want. An official gameplay trailer. And it looks horrifyingly good. After its reveal at E3, I was left with Goosebumps. Today I had a similar feeling. Watching the narrow view of our protagonist, Ellis, and his dog wandering a frighteningly familiar forest made my skin crawl. Though the trailer lacks adoration for Bullet, our protagonist’s sidekick detective and dog, it echoes the familiar claustrophobic fear of the 1999s The Blair Witch Project.
The new gameplay follows the story of an ex-cop named Ellis in a search for a missing child in the Black Hills Forest. We’re taken back to the 1990s in two ways. This isn’t just through The Blair Witch Project, but through Ellis’ state of the art, presumably, Nokia phone. A slight upgrade from the walkie talkie of previous gameplay we’ve seen. It seems the Bloober developer team is adding new elements into horror games where previously they’ve been frowned upon. Their likely using communication with the outside world as another form to create some tense moments.
What’s New in Blair Witch?
The trailer doesn’t really reveal a whole lot we didn’t already know. Though, it does show several ways that could help you progress the story. The infamous camcorder is used, similarly in Resident Evil 7 to drop subtle hints of what’s to come or to shrink your field of view further, whereas his companion, Bullet could be used as a search tool. As we see in the gameplay you have five different actions to select for Bullet to do. So far, we have ‘seek’, but the other four interactions are ambiguous. Each icon simply looks like an option for petting him (which, quite honestly, I wouldn’t mind).
At one-point Ellis is in a truck driving through the woods with a something charging towards him. But, of course, it cuts before we see what it is. Though, we do see a few flashes of human-like monster, too fast for the camcorder, as it only picks up dark orange and white blurs. Freaky. Surprisingly, what is too often presented as hopeful escapes (cars, phones, etc.) when it comes to horror, Bloober is using as devices to continue the story. This could give a refreshing outlook on horror titles that have so often used phones and cars are motifs of escape, whereas in the Blair Witch game it seems as they’re motifs to go further in.
Blair Witch releases surprisingly soon, on August 30th, 2019. It’ll be available on PC and Xbox One (sorry PlayStation) and cheaper than most new releases. You’ll be looking at about $29.99, which isn’t a bad price for some ‘90’s nostalgia and to frighten yourself in some potentially new ways. For more on Blair Witch, stay tuned to The Nerd Stash.