Get ready to venture into the Black Hills Forest for yourself this summer, as the official Blair Witch video game was just revealed at the Xbox E3 briefing. From the movie studio Lionsgate and game developer Bloober Team (Layers of Fear), the game has been set to be released in just in a couple months on Aug. 30. Coming with the announcement is a trailer for the game, showcasing its gameplay and lead character. This will technically be the fourth official Blair Witch video game, as a trilogy of Windows games based on the movies were originally published in the year 2000.
The new Blair Witch game will be set in 1996, taking place a few years before the events of The Blair Witch Project. Players control Ellis, a former police officer described as having a troubled past. When a young boy vanishes in the mysterious Black Hills Forest near Burkittsville, Maryland, Ellis joins in on the search to locate the missing child. Finding the legendary Blair Witch instead, the ex-cop must confront his fears to find the boy and escape from the Black Hills Forest alive. Paying homage to the original movie, the trailer also suggests heavy use of a camcorder during gameplay, adding the trademark found footage effect to the psychological horror story.
Originally released in 1999, The Blair Witch Project was written, directed, and edited by filmmakers Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez. The low-budget venture was presented as a "found footage" movie telling the story of three filmmakers investigating the legend of the Blair Witch in the Black Hills Forest. According to the movie's marketing, the three were never found, with footage of the fatal adventure being all they left behind. Because this came out before the years of smartphones and Google always at our fingertips, many filmgoers thought the movie was a genuine documentary as opposed to a horror movie. This led to immense success, as the movie grossed over $248 million on a measly $60,000 budget.
With Hollywood noticing the box office achievements of The Blair Witch Project, a popular new sub-genre of horror was born. Found footage movies has since become a horror staple, with successors like the Paranormal Activity movies finding their own success. Additionally, there would be two sequels to the original Blair Witch Project, with the most recent being 2016's Blair Witch. While falling well short of reaching the same heights as the original, the movie was still very profitable for Lionsgate, topping $45 million against a budget of just $5 million. It's unclear if we'll ever see a fourth movie in the film series, but for fans of the franchise, it's nice to see the story further expanded upon in the upcoming video game.
If you ask me, there just aren't enough video games directly based on real horror movies, making Blair Witch a welcome addition to the gaming world. Considering the success of Friday the 13th: The Game, hopefully the Blair Witch game performing well will also help bring about more officially licensed horror games. You can pick up the game when it releases this summer on Aug. 30, and you can also watch the trailer below courtesy of Bloober Team.