We Played The Texas Chainsaw Massacre And Hung Out with Kane Hodder at an Amazing Pre-Release Party
Based on true events.
Who will survive and what will be left of them? That’s the question I got to answer this weekend when I had a chance to hang out with Gun Interactive and a few notable guests. We gathered in Austin, Texas heat to play Sumo Digital’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, have a few cocktails, and rub elbows with Jason fuckin’ Vorhees himself, Kane Hodder–among other cast members, new and old.
I got a chance to play a few rounds of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre , an asymmetrical horror game where “The Victims” are tasked to sneak around and survive while avoiding “The Family” full of unique murderous psychos hellbent on killing you, each with their own abilities and quirks. I had the chance to play on two different maps, each based on a location from the original 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre film. Each map was full of hiding places for The Victims and traps for The Family to set–and of course, there was Grandpa. When grandpa is fed blood, his ability to let the other Family members “see” The Victims increases in frequency.
Each member of The Family has their own abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. For example, Leatherface (with motion capture by the legendary Kane Hodder, who we had the privilege to chat with at the party) has the ability to break objects, and hits the hardest out of any of the family members. However, he tends to be slow. Whereas Sissy is faster and can get through areas only the victims can access. Family attributes are measured in three categories: savagery, harvesting, and endurance. Savagery is essentially how much damage each family member does. Harvesting is how much blood you take from victims when you attack them, and endurance is a measure of stamina recharge rate and total stamina. The higher your endurance, the longer you can run or the more swings you can take on the hapless Victims.
Unlike other asymmetrical horror games, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre gives the opportunity for The Family to work together to execute each of The Victims before they can escape. This does seem to give a slight advantage to The Family for those inexperienced Victims–but with patience, stealth and cunning, I saw plenty of Victims make their way to freedom.
Surprisingly, playing as The Victims never felt too one-sided. As a Victim there is a constant sense of dread. In other asymmetrical horror games, if you had an idea where the bad guy was, you might have an easy time avoiding them. However, in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre there is always the threat of an unseen Family member finding you. And since The Family hunts in threes, you can’t be sure you’re safe just because one of The Victims is being executed in one of the game’s grisly death animations. I never felt safe playing as a Victim.
The Victims aren’t completely helpless, though. They each have their own abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. For instance Sonny’s Heightened Sense ability will let him know if anything is nearby based on the sound they make. Or you can save yourself or even other Victims with Leland’s Life Saver ability which allows him to rush and stun a Family member–even if they’re about to execute a fellow Victim. While other asymmetrical horror games might incapacitate you–rendering you unable to play unless another player helps you–The Texas Chainsaw Massacre keeps you in the action until you escape–or you’re brutally murdered, with your blood being fed to Grandpa.
Despite the sweltering Texas heat, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre pre-release party was an absolute blast–and we had a great time playing the game. Of course it was a thrill meeting some of the cast of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as well as the motion capture performers and voiceover actors of the game. I think Gun Interactive might be onto something with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and while I’m not saying it’s guaranteed, it’s definitely time for a new asymmetrical horror title, and I can’t wait until its full release in August.
Photos: Marielle Bokor