Witchfire, the long-awaited spooky shooter from The Vanishing of Ethan Carter developer The Astronauts, has been delayed to early 2023 to facilitate a shift to open world gameplay.
Announced in a blog post on The Astronauts’ website, the development team blatantly said that Witchfire is now better thanks to the open world change, but such a drastic shift has required extra time.
Players will now be able to tackle the game in almost any order they want, presumably indicating a change from Doom-style arena-based combat to the more open style of something like Fallout 4.
“The feature is now 95% implemented. It makes the game better. It is kind of hard for me to imagine the player did not have that freedom before,” said creative director and co-founder Adrian Chmielarz.
“You can still be trapped by the witch in this or that spot, and some doors will be closed until you find a key, and it might be too dangerous to enter areas closer to the boss before you are ready, but the world is wide open for you to explore in almost any order, and you can both push forward and retreat as you please.”
Despite the delay only spanning a few months, as Witchfire was previously intended to enter Early Access in late 2022 (and will still be in Early Access when it’s released in 2023), the game has been a long time coming given it was originally revealed in 2017.
Having gone quiet for nearly five years, however, Witchfire was re-revealed during Summer Game Fest 2022 with a new gameplay trailer that shows off its grimdark fantasy setting.
Witchfire – Summer Game Fest 2022
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.