There's a number of good and potentially must-buy games coming out this August 2019, and two of them are horror spectacles that promise to be cinematic through both nature and name: The Dark Pictures Anthology Man Of Medan and The Blair Witch. However, while there isn't any anxiety surrounding the former thanks to its developer having delivered the excellent PlayStation 4 exclusive Until Dawn, Bloober Team's adaptation of the most famous found footage horror movie is different. Although fans of the movie and horror video games are eager to step into the labyrinth of trees and leaves, it's impossible to say with confidence that the title will be faithful and scary rather than boring and frustrating like Layers Of Fear 2.
Bloober Team's The Blair Witch was revealed at the pretty lacklustre E3 2019, and - despite its announcement feeling like it was made only yesterday - the game will be available to play in less than fifteen days.
Yet, despite its release coming up ridiculously fast, there hasn't been much shown to inspire any confidence that the experience will be a worthwhile stroll through the woods in the thick of night. It's undoubtedly a title to anticipate thanks to The Blair Witch name alone, but is it destined to be as boring and frustrating as Layers Of Fear and its horrendous sequel? Does it even stand any chance of being a frightening, faithful and traumatising ordeal, or will it be dead on arrival thanks to its source material?
The Blair Witch is an odd choice for a video game
The biggest concern with The Blair Witch is that the movie series is such a bizarre choice for a video game. Regardless whether you think trees or a woman's snot is scary, the famous Blair Witch movie is both famous and infamous for being a tame horror spectacle where barely anything happens.
Hell, the only thing that happens in The Blair Witch Project is that three teenagers get lost and bicker about like idiots, meanwhile the only memorable thing about The Blair Witch Book Of Shadows is that it utilised Marilyn Manson's Disposable Teens.
With that being the case, why are we getting a Blair Witch video game? It can't be the setting because woods aren't a unique location exclusive to the series, which means it can only be because of the lore.
But what even is the Blair Witch? Judging by the first film alone, the Blair Witch is nothing more than a bunch of leaves and twigs. The film never showed what she looks like or provided definitive proof of her power, meanwhile Book Of Shadows turned the Blair Witch into an OP but still invisible fiend that could take over bodies, twist reality, and edit videos.
At the same time, no one's really sure if the Blair Witch is even real because both movies imply yes and no at the same time. The characters certainly believed they were under the witch's influence, but both films still have arguments for the teenagers simply being or becoming loopy.
This uncertainty could work to Bloober Team's advantage, but it still makes a Blair Witch adaptation bizarre because the supernatural phenomena is refutable.
When you don't know what and who the Blair Witch is, and if she's even real, it's difficult to feel any sense of dread because it's impossible to define what you're supposed to be scared of.
From a premature opinion formed solely by the game's trailers, Bloober Team's horror adventure doesn't need to be affiliated with The Blair Witch Project. Yes, there's probably some symbolism fans will recognise, but the game's setting, story, and twisted reality doesn't need the Blair Witch name except to sell copies.
Will The Blair Witch be boring and frustrating like Layers Of Fear?
Fans of The Blair Witch Project will no doubt think otherwise, but people really shouldn't be concerned about whether Bloober Team's contribution to the series is faithful.
Thanks to it being a video game rather than a 90-minute movie, it's already bound to take liberties as not a single person wants to play a dull walking simulator through the woods. Even the trailers alone have been more eventful than the movies combined, meaning it should offer some visually intense scenes.
But will it be boring and frustrating? This worry doesn't emit from the movie, but rather Bloober Team being responsible for Layers Of Fear.
Everyone has their worst video game of the year so far, but Layers Of Fear 2 has to be a contender because of how dull, pretentious, and unbearably long it was. Yes, it was undoubtedly pretty and had a fantastic setting with its ship, but its gameplay and frights made it nothing more than a cheap haunted house attraction that wouldn't have scared anyone above the age of ten.
Bloober Team has confirmed that The Blair Witch will feature some form of combat, but the notion of time loops and whacky visuals is off putting. Layers Of Fear 2 was style over substance despite how scary and intelligent it thought it was, and The Blair Witch could very well be the same.
The shocking and warped images that appear out of nowhere once you turn around aren't scary as they're nothing more than cheap and easily predictable thrills, and it's worrying that The Blair Witch could fall victim to the outdated formula thanks to how Bloober Team say in the below video that they believe Layers Of Fear perfectly embodies psychological horror.
If The Blair Witch is nothing more than an amusement park attraction in the woods with a pettable dog that is 99.9% guaranteed to die, then it'll be a worse games of the year contender alongside Layers Of Fear 2.
Players should - of course - hope for the best as the premise of searching for a missing boy as a stereotypically tortured cop is compelling, but don't expect too much as it's likely that you'll be greatly disappointed.
The Blair Witch affiliation feels unnecessary and tacked on from an admittedly superficial observation, and the developer's history with Layers Of Fear inspires zero confidence.
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