It’s an outstanding time to be a fan of horror video games. In what feels like a long overdue resurgence for the genre, teams are eager and willing to take bold stabs bold at experimenting with established franchises. From Evil Dead: The Game to Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed, the market suggests that interest in multiplayer-centric horror experiences is greater than ever.
Beyond the waves of recently released asymmetrical horror multiplayer titles lays a horizon of upcoming video game adaptations of beloved fright-filled franchises. Alongside unbelievable announcements like Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game came the reveal of Gun Interactive’s latest foray into “kill or be killed” space, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Fans have been itching to see what’s in store with this twisted Southern nightmare, developed by the team credited with essentially creating asymmetrical horror.
I recently had the opportunity to go hands-on with several rounds of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and sit down with Matt Szep of Gun Interactive to gain insights into what makes this horror game special. After mercilessly chain sawing victims to death, blasting through pane glass windows, and feeding dear old Grandpa copious amounts of human blood, my introduction to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre proves this team is aiming to deliver a unique offering that’s unapologetically true to the source material.
What is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?
For players unfamiliar with the premise of Gun Interactive and partner studio Sumo Digital’s upcoming project, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a 3v4 asymmetrical horror multiplayer game that pits a trio of bloodthirsty family members against a group of potential victims. As the abducted innocents, your primary objective is to escape the terrifying confines of a grisly basement and cleverly battle your way to freedom. Unfortunately, Leatherface, The Cook, The Hitchhiker, and Grandpa will do everything they can to kill and eat the victims.
Victims must carefully and quietly maneuver iconic locations like the Texas farmhouse from the classic 1974 horror film. This team of four will scour soiled environments for tools, supplies, and signs of the deadly family. With an array of escape routes, survival is constantly dangled just out of reach but can easily be achieved with the proper strategy.
On the other hand, The Family is required to perfectly coordinate to track down and kill feeling victims. While many other asymmetrical horror games only feature one player-controlled antagonist, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre veers from this formula by providing three distinct characters with defined roles. As Matt Szep jokingly noted in our interview, “Whether you're cannibals or cattle ranchers, everybody has a job to do.” However, despite the increased numbers, the odds aren’t always stacked in the killers’ favor. The victims are nimble and can quickly evade the towering presence of family members like Leatherface and The Cook.
What makes The Texas Chainsaw Massacre special?
During my time with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the team at Gun Interactive consistently emphasized the importance of authenticity. From studying the migration patterns of the specific birds featured in the environments to painstakingly recreating memorable set pieces, these developers take the source material incredibly seriously. I’m pleased to report that this attention to little details significantly enhances the sense of time and place in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
When cautiously creeping around the upper levels of the Texas Farmhouse, I discovered enormous piles of feathers. Shuffling through these mounds of down caused a cascade of feathers to flutter around me, partially obscuring my vision. Makeshift bone alarms are also found dangling in doorways in the home, and unsuspecting victims will create a ruckus if they carelessly pass through them. The subtle yet impactful merging of visual styling and gameplay direction kept me thoroughly engaged during my victim rounds of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
Another exceptionally delivered component of this asymmetrical horror title lies in its beautifully produced dynamics. Each round of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a bite-size three-act film. The disheartening opening sequence begins with our victims pulling their punctured torsos from meat hooks only to find themselves in a basement packed with severed limbs and murdered corpses. Literally and metaphorically, players start at the lowest point possible.
From here, glimmers of hope are presented as victims emerge from the depths of hell to find rays of sunlight entering through the windows of the house’s main level. The contrast between a gorgeous Texas sunrise and impending dread, horror, and gore instantly elevates the scenery in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I adored the organic ways horror and beauty complement each other in this experience. In the poetic words of Szep, “There’s nothing quite like dying in a Texas sunrise.”
What to expect from gameplay and ongoing support.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is notably different than many of its genre contemporaries. For victim players, there’s an increased emphasis on stealth and noise awareness. This means a bulk of the moment-to-moment gameplay revolves around dipping into the shadows for cover and slinking around locations undetected. If you enjoy the slower, tension-driven pacing of titles like Dead by Daylight or Friday the 13th, you’ll likely appreciate Gun Interactive’s approach with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Ffor players who prefer a bit more action and dramatics, jumping into the shoes of a family member will almost certainly be more your speed. Leatherface has the ability to cut through walls, obstacles, and unfortunately positioned victims, while The Cook uses his heightened sense of hearing to track the movements of escapees. Altogether, the rigorously considered restrictions in place for The Family and the victims provide a palpably distinguishable gameplay loop for every character.
A potential boon for matchmaking lies in the game’s ability for up to three players to queue together as the killers as well. In titles like Evil Dead: The Game, only solo players have the option to terrorize survivors, and with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, there are opportunities for squads to play together on both sides. Hopefully, this, in addition to the launch on Xbox Game Pass, will ensure a stable, healthy pool of players.
I wasn’t able to squeeze out much in the way of information surrounding ongoing support and player progression. The game’s menus suggest there will be a respectable amount of customization and even skill trees. When speaking with Szep from Gun Interactive, it thankfully sounds like the team plans to reveal those specifics in the nearish future. In the meantime, the team seems confident that The Texas Chain Saw Massacre will have long legs.
When is The Texas Chain Saw Massacre releasing?
As it stands, there’s no official release date for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but Gun Interactive has announced its plans to launch the game some time in 2023 on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, and PC. This upcoming horror title will also be dropping in Xbox Game Pass on day one.
While not confirmed, it’s also incredibly likely that The Texas Chain Saw Massacre will offer open and closed beta tests for wider pools of players in the coming months. My limited play time with this anxiety-inducing multiplayer project presented a healthy dose of laughs, scares, and blood-drenched sunflowers. I’m eager for more players to get their hands on Leatherface’s chainsaw.
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Miles Dompier is a Freelance Video Producer for Windows Central, focusing on video content for Windows Central Gaming. In addition to writing or producing news, reviews, and gaming guides, Miles delivers fun, community-focused videos for the Windows Central Gaming YouTube channel. Miles also hosts Xbox Chaturdays every Saturday, which serves as the Windows Central Gaming weekly podcast.