When Gun Interactive revealed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre final yr, I used to be underwhelmed by its brief teaser however enthusiastic about its potential. It’s considered one of my favourite horror film franchises, partly due to how a lot it nonetheless scares me – each good haunted home has a Leatherface on the finish that chases you out to the exit, proper? – but additionally due to its backdrop: Texas. Horror, be it motion pictures or video games, sometimes attracts consideration to dreary atmospheres, spooky ambiance, maybe some dangerous climate, and nighttime. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre bucked that pattern within the Seventies. After going hands-on with Gun Interactive’s upcoming asymmetrical 3v4 multiplayer game with the identical identify, I’m most impressed by how a lot the in any other case serene Texan farm works as a playground for escape makes an attempt and homicide.
Gun Interactive, previously Gun Media, is maybe greatest identified for Friday the thirteenth: The Game, which it revealed for developer Illfonic. I liked Friday the thirteenth; it turned the nightly hangout game for my associates and me. It’s residence to a few of my favourite gaming reminiscences, like turning on a Tiny Tim track so campers would hear it by proximity chat as my Jason went in for the kill. However, some mental property rights points held that game again from reaching its full potential, successfully ending its development save for normal upkeep. The rights holder of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre had been large followers of Friday the thirteenth: The Game and had been conscious of the problems it encountered as a result of they approached Gun Interactive with this game concept and the will to let the studio lead the cost.
“They contacted us, which was a very humbling experience,” Gun CEO Wes Keltner tells me. “We were still with Friday the 13th, and I received an email from the rights holders of [The Texas Chain Saw Massacre], and they had played that game and loved it and loved our approach. They loved that it was sort of a white glove treatment to Friday the 13th, and they thought, ‘These are the guys. These are the ones we trust that we want to bring our game to market.’”
Keltner tells me that he speaks with the rights holders of this franchise day by day and that they’ve been simple to work with in development. He says rights holders generally get a nasty rap, however that’s not the case right here. They’ve been open to concepts, progressive in pursuing them, and open to letting the staff play with this world.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s a great idea, let’s go do it,’ so that’s been really, really cool to work with,” Keltner says, teasing that there would possibly even be some sort of relationship between this game and previous and future motion pictures, stopping in need of telling me something extra.
Keltner says the staff met with them and determined the game ought to hone in on the unique 1974 movie. It was all the time going to be an asymmetrical game from the soar – that’s what the staff does greatest, in any case – however in what means and to what extent they might play with the franchise was a query. The staff ultimately landed on a 3v4 format that tasked 4 victims with escaping the home of horrors that’s this Texan farm and three murderers, one being Leatherface, with killing them earlier than that occurs.
It’s a novel setup within the already area of interest realm of asymmetrical horrors at present dominated by the likes of Dead by Daylight, however taking part in it felt nice in a well-recognized means. Each sufferer has a novel capacity, and Gun designer Robert Fox III says that gamers can customise every with cosmetics and issues that straight have an effect on how they play. This consists of unlockable expertise, perks, and extra. He and Keltner say that gamers will be capable to determine totally different builds that work greatest for them, and this, coupled with the game’s customization choices and distinctive 3v4 dynamic, is what they’re hoping retains gamers round for 1,000 hours.
In my hour with the game, I performed as Connie, who has a chargeable capacity to interrupt by locked doorways, which permits her to bypass the straightforward however efficient door unlock minigame. Smashing by a locked door was extremely helpful, particularly when Leatherface, the Cook killer, or the Hitchhiker assassin had been in tow.
When the match started, all 4 victims had been within the basement. Leatherface was too, which I liked as a result of it meant that the spherical instantly began with chaos. You can’t mosey round, deciding how greatest to flee along with your staff. There’s probably a chainsaw roaring in your ears, and you should get out of the basement as quickly as potential. Connie’s capacity to shortly bust by locked doorways made doing that simple, however the home’s first and second flooring offered their very own set of challenges. That’s the place the grandfather NPC resides, and the three playable killers can feed him blood to enhance his capacity to see and listen to the place victims could be in the home. It’s additionally the place the Cook and Hitchhiker prowl.
I didn’t get to play with the Cook, however I did go hands-on with the Hitchhiker. This lanky character slashes at victims with a small knife, and killing them takes considerably longer than Leatherface and his chainsaw. Killing is barely half of his equipment, although. He can place bone traps across the map, which alert everybody in the home when stepped on by a sufferer. Hearing and seeing a sufferer step on my entice introduced an thrilling adrenaline rush to my fellow killers and me as all of us rushed to its location, hoping to discover a sufferer to kill.
In the third match I participated in, I managed the present’s star, Leatherface. He’s a large, bouldering determine that’s loud and the precise reverse of agile. That’s okay, although, as a result of the place victims can crawl by cracks in a wall or tight gaps, Leatherface can lower proper by particular boundaries. I preferred that I couldn’t spam the chainsaw; it’s loud, and each sufferer will know the place you’re when it’s on. Plus, turning it on requires you to play a fast and straightforward minigame. It was enjoyable utilizing this crank and subsequent chainsaw roar to let victims know I used to be onto them, and urgent the left set off to throttle it for a louder impact had me laughing out loud maniacally to myself. The most satisfying a part of this character, although, was the kills. His chainsaw takes victims out shortly, with loads of blood spurting from my weapon’s incision level.
All these killings and escapes occurred to the backdrop of a stunning Texas sundown on a lusciously inexperienced farm full of sunflowers, outdated barns and sheds, overgrown grass, and a terrifyingly macabre home. Fans of the unique 1974 movie will acknowledge how a lot love and element was put into the house, full with hanging our bodies, buckets of blood, knick-knacks, and extra.
“If you watch that film, the majority of it [is] bright, sunshine-y, happy, beautiful vistas, right?” Keltner says. “[That] allowed us to kind of play around more with beauty and find that balance between the macabre and certain things that were serene. There are moments where that, yeah, you’re running for your life, but you may stop by like, ‘Dang, it’s beautiful here.’”
And he’s proper! The game seems nice. It’s a giant step up from Friday the thirteenth’s visuals, however The Texas Chain Saw Massacre nonetheless retains a few of the jank that followers of the previous, in the event that they’re something like me, got here to like concerning the game. It’s not a large triple-A game, however the staff has crafted it lovingly. And it’s additionally not fairly out but. I may inform what I performed was a preview construct. I hope the staff can therapeutic massage the game extra to make motion really feel smoother, gore extra life like, and animations extra fluid.
I’m excited to see what the staff is ready to polish extra between now and its 2023 launch, and I can’t wait to study extra about skins, how Gun will incorporate different Texas Chain Saw Massacre motion pictures into the game, the opposite maps, and extra. If what I’ve seen to this point is any indication, although, I feel my associates and I’ll have a brand new hangout game subsequent yr.