Witchfire Roguelite FPS to Enter Early Access in Q4 2022, RTX/DLSS Support Being Considered

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Polish indie developer The Astronauts announced that its long-anticipated dark fantasy Witchfire game will be released in late 2022, albeit in an early access form.

The Astronauts has only released The Vanishing of Ethan Carter so far, but it was founded by ex People Can Fly developers who worked on Bulletstorm and Painkiller, so they're more than proficient with first-person shooter games. Witchfire, first announced over four years ago at The Game Awards 2017, does come with a brand new roguelite formula. According to the developers, this convinced them to go with an early access release.

Witchfire Is A Great Looking ‘Dark Fantasy FPS’ by The Astronauts

Why Early Access? Well, this is something that never made any sense for basically any games we’ve worked on before. How exactly would EA work for a game like Bulletstorm or The Vanishing of Ethan Carter?

But it makes total sense for Witchfire. A game with world-building and lore, but heavily focused on the roguelite gameplay loop. We’re looking to how Hades or Dead Cells or Risk of Rain 2 or other notable roguelites did it, and will most likely combine elements of these paths to reach the full release.

Elsewhere in the blog post, the developers answered a few more questions about the game. Witchfire will be playable offline. Support for technologies like NVIDIA's RTX/DLSS and others from AMD and Intel is under evaluation. Ultrawide monitor support is already working. A transition to UE5 is not planned, as The Astronauts do not consider the new version of the Unreal Engine to be production-ready yet.

The write-up does mention some game mechanics of Witchfire as well.

We are currently experimenting with Soulsborne-like checkpoints. It’s not that simple, as the main problem is speed. Soulsbornes are Third Person-Perspective games with relatively slow movement. Witchfire is a First Person game with fast movement. Thus going back to an area and reaching your remains is much more dangerous in Soulsbornes than it is in Witchfire.

But we’re testing some ideas to see if we can raise the stakes. If not, it’s not a big deal, we have other mechanics in place to keep the tension and immersion.

There’s your hideout, your safe space — everything else is a hostile land of pain and misery. The inventory is both unlimited (hoarder’s paradise) and limited (what you can equip going out for a run) at the same time. You can upgrade weapons and spells. Not sure if we’ll do a bestiary, but it’s possible.

It will most likely not get co-op. At least not for the EA release. One, it’s more than we can chew at the moment. Two, it makes the game too easy and trivial. Sort of like playing Souls in a duo.

Never say never and we do bring up co-op every now and then in internal meetings. But for now, we’re 100% focusing on the single player experience.

We dropped the randomized perks on weapons. Balancing the RNG against the preset is a tough act. You want enough RNG for replayability, but also enough of the preset for mastery. And we felt that random perks on weapons, on top of other things we already have, was just too much.

Weapons will be upgradeable, and that process will require some dedication and skill. And there are some new mechanics connected to weapons that we’re not ready to talk about yet. But that’s it, no RNG.

Also, we’re trying to make sure Witchfire is long enough and replayable enough to satisfy the modern gamer.

Lastly, the developers of Witchfire shared some new brief gameplay clips. Check them out below.

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