Posted by: Mark Delaney; Tuesday, May 30, 2023; 2:38:02 PM PDT
Years would pass before the slasher genre would completely dominate the horror industry after the 1974 release of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (TCM). Horror fans had already encountered the likes of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger by the time the sequels started rolling in 12 years later. In this brave new world, TCM’s marketers needed a horrific mascot to lean into, and so Leatherface went from being one of a particularly heinous family of murderers to being the focus of his own movie.
Since the mediocre 2003 reboot, every current take on the franchise has centred on the Ed Gein-inspired villain, typically leaving out any involvement of his family. The planned video game based on the film from Gun Interactive and Sumo Nottingham, however, will not be a simple Leatherface game. A game centred on the Slaughter clan is a must. It appears that they grasped the task after spending a few hours with the game during the course of the weekend’s tech test.
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Playing Now: An R-Rated Gameplay Trailer for “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”
A lot of asymmetrical horror multiplayer games apparently have to deal with the issue of players wanting to be the powerful slasher at the centre of the series. Dead By Daylight appears to have the same problem that Friday the 13th did in that players prefer to queue as one of the numerous killers in the game rather than as one of the many potential victims. Time will tell if players prefer killing to being killed in TCM’s unique 4v3 configuration, but if they do, it’s reasonable to assume that many of them will want to play as Leatherface himself, what with all the attention he’s gotten over the past four decades and more. Possibly in the first few days or weeks after release. However, the Cook and the Hitchhiker are also members of Leatherface’s family, and based on my past interactions with them, I think I might choose one of them over the huge man.
The abilities of these other villains are the key to raising them to Leatherface’s level. Each villain, and the sole survivor on the ominously called “Victims” side, possesses their own set of skills that can only be used in concert with those of their teammates. While Leatherface’s raw strength allows him to disable some entrances and exits, there are still many places he can’t reach. As the lanky killer can squeeze through the same openings as the survivors, the Hitchhiker is essential in such situations. Being younger than the Cook and smaller than Leatherface gives him an advantage in speed, and he is also capable of setting traps.
To his credit, the Cook is perhaps my favourite family member to play as right now. Though he moves slowly, his extraordinary talent allows him to pinpoint where survivors are making noise. He can do this from a fair distance away, too, making him somewhat of a mobile, more reliably available version of the stationary NPC grandpa who, when given enough blood during a match, can periodically perform a sonar-like skill.
This weekend, I spent a lot of time playing as Leatherface because the tech test didn’t include several of the launch features, such character selection. But for now I like playing the Cook role the best. He reminds me of a support character from a more standard, less terrifying online multiplayer game. Without getting my hands too grimy, I was able to contribute significantly to my team’s success. One time, I trapped a lone survivor in a room from where I could ping them at regular intervals until Leatherface arrived to help me finally catch them. It wasn’t until after the tech test was through that I realised how similar Leatherface, Hitchhiker, and Cook’s roles were to those of the tank, DPS, and support in Overwatch.