Bullet The Dog Helps Blair Witch’s Eerie Setting Retain Its Frightening Atmosphere


Bloober Team’s upcoming Blair Witch attracts sturdy parallels to Outlast, one other first-person horror expertise that is primarily considered by the lens of a video digital camera. Blair Witch has one obviously apparent distinction in its design though–and it is one thing that differentiates the sport from developer Bloober Team’s earlier horror video games as properly: a dog.

“Traditionally, a Blair Witch movie involves a group of students or a group of teenagers just going into the woods and then…dying one after the other,” Bloober Team author Basia Kciuk stated in an interview with GameSpot. “But in Blair Witch, we wanted to give the player someone to connect with over the course of the game, someone to care about.” It’s uncommon for a horror recreation to present you companions. A pleasant presence can present a help system and act as a crutch that eases the dread a setting is making an attempt to create, or show to be an annoyance that must be cared for. In Blair Witch, your dog–Bullet–is neither of these.

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Blair Witch is an unsettling recreation that takes place within the franchise’s chilling Burkittsville, Maryland woods, and Bullet does present a pleasant safety blanket along with his presence and playful barks. But he is additionally a information that ensures you are transferring ahead as an alternative of remaining caught in a single place or aimlessly wandering round seeking clues about easy methods to proceed. You can command Bullet to hunt issues out, however he’ll additionally convey again objects that each additional flesh out the historical past of the woods you are exploring and remind you of simply how creepy the setting is. Though it at first seems random, his misadventures nearly all the time appear to happen within the common path you are alleged to go–ensuring you are by no means caught for too lengthy in anybody place.

Bullet appears like an integral part to fixing the sport’s puzzles and surviving the monstrous entities you encounter. For instance, throughout considered one of Blair Witch’s video digital camera puzzles–fascinating riddles during which it’s essential to rewind, fast-forward, and pause tapes with a view to affect your actuality and alter the environment–Bullet pointed us within the path of the tape we would have liked to proceed. And given how darkish the woods are in Blair Witch, Bullet’s eager senses are important for determining what’s actual and what’s an phantasm. “[The witch] is more like this overpowering, otherworldly force that reshapes reality,” Kciuk stated. “The creatures that attack you in the game are just one of her aspects. They aren’t her. That’s not her taking physical shape. In the game, the witch just uses everything she has against you and this includes reshaping your reality, your environment, and your mind. Sometimes that means creating monsters that hunt you.”

One of the extra outstanding points for horror video games like Outlast II and Bloober Team’s Observer is that their open settings often create moments the place you don’t have any thought what you are alleged to do or the place you are alleged to go subsequent. Eventually, the monotony of aimlessly wandering across the identical space begins to strip away the strain that was constructed by the creepiness of the setting. In our time with Blair Witch, we moved ahead at a gentle tempo by 5 elements of the 5 to six-hour recreation, and a way of dread was maintained all through every one. Four of these 5 chapters had been pretty open, with factors the place you can freely discover an area, however Bullet was there to encourage us to maintain entering into the fitting path.

Bullet, as an animal, additionally opens Blair Witch as much as mechanics that are not usually included in first-person survival horror video games. Bullet can sniff out and growl within the path of supernatural threats which you can’t see, for instance. You do not fairly notice how helpful he’s till the sport takes him away from you, and through these temporary cases the place he is gone, threats you had been as soon as comfy dealing with turn into horrifying in new methods.

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“Originally, we were thinking about adding another human being, but in the end, adding another human would be just giving you another set of hands,” Kciuk stated. “Because, obviously, humans can do what humans do. But dogs have totally different skill sets. So, in the end, it gives you a lot more mechanics. Also, if you have another human, it would be an equal relationship, while here, you have a relationship where sometimes one of you is more useful than the other. Bullet can find things for you but he can’t solve puzzles, for example. So you really need to cooperate and communicate with each other to fully utilize your partnership’s potential.”

This have to depend on Bullet helps construct a degree of belief between you and your canine companion, one that you simply get to form all through the sport. After Bullet does something, you may select to reward or scold him. “It’s not as easy as just petting him all the time and ensuring everything works out,” Kciuk warned. “It’s much more subtle, it’s a much more complicated system. Just petting him won’t do the trick.” If you reward Bullet each time he goes off on his personal, as an example, he’ll do it extra usually and that may lead him into moving into hassle.

Bloober Team did not need Bullet’s inclusion to rework Blair Witch right into a troublesome escort mission though–and from what we have seen, the studio appears to have succeeded in steering away from that consequence. How you deal with Bullet merely shapes your relationship all through the sport, so you do not have to fret about making the improper alternative and getting your canine killed. “An annoying partnership is exactly what we wanted to avoid,” Kciuk stated. “You needn’t all the time deal with Bullet. For essentially the most half, he is protected, and he will not all the time be following you. He’s extra like Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite. She was very useful, she was there for you, she had her personal character and was an awesome character. You cared about her however she did not require your safety on a regular basis. She was there that will help you.”

Blair Witch is scheduled to launch for Xbox One and PC on August 30. The recreation was first introduced at E3 2019 during the Xbox press conference, the place it was revealed to be part of the identical canon because the Blair Witch motion pictures. Blair Witch will probably be obtainable by way of Xbox Game Pass on day one.

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