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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre game is a violent love letter to the classic movie.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a horror classic that tells the story of a family of cannibals who hunt and kill the unlucky souls that come their way. In the original film, there is only one survivor who narrowly escapes. In the next video game adaptation, it’s possible that all of the victims will triumph and escape together… or they could die a horrific and grisly death at the hands of the Sawyer family. Polygon was invited to preview The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where we had the opportunity to try both sides of the game.

Developed by Sumo Digital and published by Gun Interactive, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an asymmetrical horror game in which four players take on the role of victims in a team and three players oppose them as family. The game takes place in the iconic house from the film, which is littered with meat hooks, bleached skulls, and bloodied torsos. The victims have a simple goal: survive and escape. The family must stop them by any means necessary.

Each match begins with the Victims moving free of their restraints in the basement, a claustrophobic network of crawl spaces, tunnels, and killing rooms. Escaping the basement unlocks the rest of the house, which is full of useful resources, such as lockpicks, health tonics, and bone fragments that can serve as a handy knife. Finally, once they leave the house, the victims have to navigate an open, well-lit farmhouse. Everything has been painstakingly reconstructed from the original film, and it’s truly unnerving to navigate.

get out of the basement feel as a relief at first, but it quickly becomes clear that more room to navigate and more light to see is both a danger and a blessing. You can briefly hide in sunflowers or bushes, but if you want your freedom, you’ll have to walk past one or more of the Family. And all the while, you’re haunted by him rum rum rum of Leatherface’s chainsaw.

Victims vary somewhat; Connie, for example, can instantly pick a lock without passing a skill check, perfect for escaping the basement early on or making one last run to freedom, while Ana is much more durable and can get away from the family while hitting the tank. There are also upgrade trees to chase, allowing you to further customize victims and their chances of survival. Party-to-party differences manifest themselves both in these systems and in their interactions with the other three victims. In a match, we work together to forge a path. In my next match, I walked out of there and let everyone else die. I am sorry! oops!

Image: Sumo Digital/Gun Interactive

On the other side of the fence, playing as a family is a fun twist on the lopsided horror formula. Leatherface is the star of the show, of course: he’s a brute with a chainsaw, and if he catches a victim, he’ll butcher them. He is joined by two other players: the cook, who is slow and unwieldy but excellent at tracking Victims and finding his locations, and the hitchhiker, a wiry fellow who compensates for his small knife with his makeshift bear traps. Then there’s Grandpa, an NPC who hangs out in his rocking chair. When the family feeds him blood collected from unlucky victims, Grandpa is able to send out a kind of sonar sensor to detect victims in the area.

These two sides combine nicely to create a fun cat and mouse rhythm. Sometimes a Victim may find their way to the outer courtyard only to run into Leatherface, at which point she may run and fall down a shaft back into the basement. Players launch through windows to freedom only to find another family member outside.

As a victim, there is a strong and constant tension in the process, even when none of the cannibals are on screen. As a member of the family, it’s a bit like a game of overcooked — you and your comrades are trying to stop these terrible, ungrateful kids from escaping from the meat hooks, and it’s a frantic fight to make sure all the doors are locked, the generator is running, and grandpa is fed. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m interested to see if the charm holds up after a dozen or a hundred rounds.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre It will be released in 2023 and will be available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Windows PC via Steam.

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