Review: Blair Witch: From Iconic Horror Movie To Immersive VR Experience

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When the Blair Witch game was first introduced, followers of the long-lasting horror film franchise had been desperate to see what the story could be like. When Layers of Fear studio Bloober Team was confirmed to be on the helm, that pleasure grew. While Blair Witch as a game was met with blended reception attributable to its size and its mechanics meant to confuse the participant, this horror journey carved a singular area of interest for itself throughout the style. Now that it’s in VR, these scares are amplified and the in-game decisions matter greater than ever. 

We sat down with Daniel Engelhardt, Lionsgate Senior VP of Interactive Venture & Games, to speak about how this partnership with Bloober got here to be and why the leap to VR regardless of the blended opinions. Usually, when two corporations come collectively over an IP, the method is lengthy, sophisticated, and filled with negotiations. Engelhardt tells us that this wasn’t the case with Blair Witch. In reality, it was espresso and mutual fandom that made this a match made in heaven (or Hell, if we’re speaking horror). 

“The thought of a Blair Witch game was actually pure, humorous sufficient,” he tells us. “The head of Bloober is a big fan of the Blair Witch motion pictures and I’m an enormous fan of their games like Layers of Fear. So it grew to become this ‘I’m a fan, you are fan, let’s do that’ kind of scenario. We truly began speaking about this idea simply over a espresso.” 

From there, the idea grew to become a actuality and the partnership between Lionsgate and Bloober was quick-acting and easy. “We spent a number of time with the Bloober staff, working collectively to make this actual.” He provides, “It’s actually about simply aligning with actually wholesome groups and making nice content material. In some circumstances, like Blair Witch, it is about integrating these groups which have widespread targets and fervour.” 

“In phrases of creating the game for us, it was actually a few game the place they’ll inform nice tales, and actually craft attention-grabbing narratives,” Engelhardt tells us. “For us the storyline takes priority, and so we gave [Bloober] as a lot inventive freedom as we might, which was lots, to actually honor what makes the Blair Witch franchise so particular. There had been so many superb parts within the game that had been so intelligent just like the digicam mechanics or being caught in a home whereas having this mind-bending expertise throughout the world round you. For us, we wished the studio to deliver one thing new to Blair Witch and we wished to do every thing we might to facilitate that.”

With Blair Witch diving into the world of VR, many parts of the game grow to be extra elevated. The mechanics meant to make you’re feeling misplaced when confronted with the Blair Witch grow to be much more disorienting and terrifying, and the sensation of being hunted turns into much more real looking. Bloober tempered this by tweaking interactions with Bullet, the in-game canine, by giving him all of the pets and treats he can eat, however it’s nonetheless a horror game on the finish of the day; a horror expertise that’s ramped up by the immersive nature of VR.

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“Blair Witch is extra than simply leap scares,” Engelhardt explains when speaking concerning the leap to digital actuality. “Jumpscares are apparent, proper? While Blair Witch has them, that is not the entire image. An enormous a part of how we thought concerning the game, from a VR perspective, was the notion of with the ability to be unified with somebody who’s being stricken by the witch and will lose to these outdoors forces. Going by way of that have is basically compelling and VR takes it to an entire new degree and makes it much more visceral and immersive. When taking a look at that potential, we knew we needed to inform this story once more with this medium.” 

Interacting with a doorknob clumsily, seeing the refined shifts in surroundings when deep into the woods sparking hallucinations and paranoia; this all performs a component in how the VR version of Blair Witch ups the ante. To make this much more real looking, the event staff needed to go in and rework many facets of the game to make them work seamlessly in digital actuality. These changes led to enhancements of in-game mechanics and options designed to terrify the participant and make them really feel actually doomed. 

So what does this game imply for the way forward for Blair Witch? Will we be getting a sequel to the game? A brand new film? The reply: something is feasible! While he could not inform me a tough no for a brand new film, which is one thing in itself, Engelhardt does point out that the long run is fairly open for the place Blair Witch goes subsequent. Seeing how the game continues to be acquired will play an enormous position in that and Lionsgate additionally simply partnered with the tabletop journey “Hunt a Killer” for a particular Halloween Blair Witch collaboration. 

While the sequel motion pictures that adopted after the unique did not pull in the identical numbers, the 1999 movie modified the game when it got here to horror. Social media wasn’t like how it’s in the present day and when that movie first launched, many thought it was an precise documentary and never a fictional documentary-style film. The movie’s success spawned a brand new wave of documentary-framed fictional tales and altered how administrators and creators approached this style as an entire. 

The Blair Witch game itself is a totally standalone story, not an adaptation of the movie’s narrative. It places the participant within the position of somebody who’s pressured to confront, and survive, in opposition to the dreaded Blair Witch. While the title is pretty brief, often clocking in at round 5 to 6 hours, it’s distinctive in the way it actually makes the participant really feel disoriented, susceptible, and like they’re in precise hazard. The VR model takes that have to an entire new degree of realism and you’ll test it out for your self as a result of Blair Witch VR is obtainable now on Oculus Quest.


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