At Microsoft's E3 press conference, Xbox Game Studios' Blair Witch was revealed, and is a hugely unexpected throwback to the 1999 film that spawned the found film horror genre. It follows an original story, and it looks damn scary.
Xbox at E3 2019 is all about the games, and Blair Witch is one of literally dozens. Recently rebooted by the 2016 film of the same name, this new Blair Witch game looks like Outlast set in a terrifying, fever dream-like forest. Armed with nothing but video camera and flashlight, it appears that (in true franchise fashion) Blair Witch gives players no way to fight back against the forest's collection of horrors. The game is being created by Layers of Fear developer Bloober Team, one of many smaller studios acquired by Xbox Game Studios in their push to deliver a large library of games on Xbox's current and next-gen consoles.
Set in 1996 and following a former cop and his painfully eager dog, Bullet, on their search for nine-year-old boy who's gone missing, Blair Witch is shaping up to be a Lynchian nightmare in its premiere cinematic trailer. Like a horror-themed Groundhog's Day, the first-person protagonist seems doomed to repeat his fateful search through the terrifying woods over and over again. Of course, the Blair Witch itself is the source of the player character's endless misery, and the dark being doesn't seem keen on ever letting him or the missing boy walk beyond the vast woods' shadow.
Opening on the protagonist dirtied and seemingly running for his life while entering a dilapidated cabin, they pull out an obligatory handheld camera, which suddenly displays footage of himself and his dog first entering the cursed area. Appearing to walk the line between the supernatural and hallucination, Blair Witch's paints a picture of a mind-bending horror experience. Quality gameplay beyond walking or running away from eldritch horrors while gasping for air is, of course, not guaranteed, but it looks interesting all the same.
Completely turning the tide after the botched reveal of the Xbox One at E3 2013, Microsoft's E3 2019 conference was purely about the dozens of games coming to the current and next-gen Xbox consoles, and Blair Witch is one of the only horror titles among that numerous bunch. For now, the video game take on the 20-year-old franchise has shown off zero gameplay despite it's rapidly approaching release date, but if the final product can live up to the super creepy atmosphere and pacing of the trailer, then Xbox fans will have an exceptionally horrifying experience with which to torture themselves in just a couple months' time.
Blair Witch releases on August 30, 2019 for Xbox One and PC.