Witchfire Delayed To Add Semi-Open World

Dark fantasy roguelite Witchfire has been delayed to early 2023, but that delay is due to a pretty big redesign of the game's combat and exploration elements.

Published: October 12, 2022 9:49 AM /


The player standing in a gloomy field with an imposing castle silhouetted in the background in Witchfire

If you were hoping not to see dark fantasy roguelite Witchfire delayed, then sadly, you're out of luck. The FPS has been pushed back to early 2023 for its Early Access release, but unlike the usual game delay, this one's been put into effect in order for the team to redesign a major feature of Witchfire's gameplay.

On developer The Astronauts' official website, creative director Adrian Chmielarz confirms that Witchfire won't launch during its original intended window of Q4 2022. Instead, the game is now targeting early 2023 for its Early Access release on the Epic Games Store, but there's a good reason for that: Chmielarz says the devs have "redesigned the core experience" of Witchfire.

That doesn't mean there's a major overhaul on the horizon. Witchfire is still very much the dark fantasy roguelite shooter it was when it was revealed way back when. However, rather than using arena-style engagements, Witchfire will now take on a semi-open world aspect, meaning you'll have much more freedom when you engage in combat or explore the game's world.

The player facing down a barrier in one of Witchfire's roguelite areas
Witchfire originally took place in a series of large arenas closed off by barriers, but The Astronauts are taking a different direction now.

Big changes are coming to Witchfire

According to Chmielarz, Witchfire was originally designed to take place in a series of arenas closed off by barriers, which would help "control the flow of the game" and stop players leaving the current area until enemies were dealt with. This system made sense, until one day, Chmielarz says he "realized [he] hated the barriers"; they "felt old-school, looked kind of bad, and limited the potential" of Witchfire.

He brought his complaints to the team, who objected on the grounds that Witchfire's Early Access release was too close to change fundamental gameplay mechanics. The idea proved to be difficult to implement because a lot of aspects needed to be reimagined. For instance, in Witchfire's previous state, players couldn't escape from arenas, so they either killed enemies or enemies killed them. Now, however, the team would need to think about whether enemies could follow the player through the semi-open world, what would happen if more enemies were spawned, and more challenges.

The player standing on a wooden platform overlooking a castle in Witchfire
Witchfire is posing its fair share of gameplay challenges for The Astronauts.

In the end, however, Chmielarz says that Astronauts designer Karol saw "potential" in the system and that he was "having fun again", giving Chmielarz an indication that this was the right direction to take the game in. I'm not surprised; The Astronauts are known for their ingenuity, particularly when it comes to finding novel solutions for technical challenges, so this was probably just another challenge to overcome for them.

Chmielarz says that although the new semi-open world system is "95% implemented", the game isn't ready yet, which is why Witchfire is being delayed by a few months. The team is "back on track" with regular development, though, and recently gained "a great programmer and designer", so development should be pretty steady going forward. Chmielarz also teases "something nice" in a couple of weeks for Halloween. It won't be a major gameplay trailer, but it should keep you happy if you're a fan of Witchfire and want to know about its story or art direction. Stay tuned for that.

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More Info About This Game
In This Article
Game Page Witchfire
The Astronauts
The Astronauts
PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Release Date
September 20, 2023 (Calendar)
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