However, we recently had the opportunity to talk with Design Director Kelvin Moore and Executive Producer Darren Campion during the recent EGX 2022. Thankfully, both were more than happy to answer some questions about their upcoming horror game.
Q: How would you describe the game?
Design Director Kelvin Moore went on to explain Texas Chainsaw is a 3 vs. 4 multiplayer game. You are either trying to escape or hunting victims as a family member. As a member of the family, you play as Leatherface, Hitchhiker, or The Cook. You will also receive help from Grandpa, who alerts you to the presence of victims.
Executive Producer Darren Campion added that the game is made for the IP, not just using the IP. The game is canon in the Texas Chainsaw series. Set several months before the original movie. It’s meant to build on the existing universe, not relying on what’s already been established.
Q: When using an established IP, how do you balance things for existing fans and newcomers?
The game has to be modern in its design. It can’t just be fan service (although that is there), it has to appeal to a wider audience. The game serves as a prequel of sorts to the franchise, being several months earlier. This makes it a good introduction to the IP for anyone unfamiliar.
Q: How does the game differ from the likes of Friday 13th, and Dead by Daylight?
Moore was very keen to stress the main similarity is the horror genre. For the team, that is where the similarities end. The 3 vs. 4 dynamic makes it much more of a team game. You aren’t just avoiding one killer. There will be lots of strategy involved when playing as a victim or not. You’ll find many “Film Like” hiding spots and different ways to escape.
The gameplay I saw was also set during the daytime, which gave things a completely different atmosphere compared to other horror games. Not to mention a completely different look because of the lighting. More on lighting later! There are three confirmed maps: Family House (the map I saw), Gas Station, and Slaughterhouse. The final map count has yet to be confirmed, so there could be more.
Q: How Accessible is the game?
Moore – “By its nature, the game is quite accessible. It’s not a twitch or quick-fire shooter.” The game is slower-paced due to the strategic nature of the gameplay. He believes that you should be able to have a fun time as a victim, for example, at many different ability levels. Which is great to hear!
To me, this sounds promising, of course, we need to see more of the game. Especially to see exactly how many accessibility options are available.
Q: How deep are the upgrading/skill systems?
Each member of the family suits a different play style. With their own set of abilities and skills, one example being The Cook. has a unique hearing ability that can be used to track victims. Hitchhiker, can get through spaces that the other family members can’t and lay traps for the unsuspecting. Each family member has a skill tree, and Grandpa can also be upgraded to provide more help. As for the victims, they will also have their own abilities.
But is it Authentic
Outside of my questions. Both Campion and Moore were keen to bring up Authenticity. The team has seemingly gone the extra mile in the quest for Authenticity. Both for the location of Texas and the IP itself. Capturing thousands of photos for the environments in the game.
Things like actual flowers from Texas, but it’s not just visuals that received this care. They also captured audio of Texas native birds. Authenticity doesn’t stop there. Edwin Neal, the actor that played Hitchhiker in the 1974 movie, is back to voice the character for the game.
On top of this, the team made sure to cast the right motion capture actors for each part. To get the most Authentic movements for each character. They recreated the chainsaw part for part, to get the most Authentic sound. Authenticity is something the team at Sumo Digital Nottingham is very clearly proud of. From the looks and sound of it, they absolutely should be!
Lighting as a Gameplay Feature
The last thing we discussed, and something I thought was possibly a game-changing feature, is the lighting as a gameplay feature. Which is something we don’t see enough of in games, especially in the horror genre where it is most suited.
We spoke about how you can hide in plain sight by using shadows as a victim. Which on a daytime map could be crucial. Incorporating lighting in this way outside of just beautiful aesthetics and tone setting. Is exciting and should make for some interesting gameplay opportunities!
I went into this interview not sure where Texas Chainsaw Massacre really would fit, given that we already have a handful o horror games, that could be seen as similar. Was it just trying to be Dead by Daylight but using a pre-existing IP, was something I had thought before speaking to the developers?
Ultimately I came out floored. The clear passion for building on the Texas Chainsaw IP meaningfully. Creating something approachable to newcomers while being Authentic for die-hard fans. Is something rare and difficult. Doing all this and trying to put your own stamp on a well-established game genre is even harder. The team at Sumo Digital Nottingham seem confident they have done it. Time will tell! Look out for hands-on impressions from us in the future.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre coming in 2023 to PC, PS4/PS5, Xbox Series S/X, Xbox One (Day One on Gamepass)