There’s this scene in the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in which Leatherface attacks a victim, but they escape. After a brief bit of yelling, the killer sits and holds his head in his hands in despair and sorrow. Without saying a word, the practically mute character tells us everything we need to know about the plot, the pressure he’s under from his family, and his desperation. As he creepily licks his lips at the end of the scene with apparent determination, we come full circle, so it’s no wonder this chainsaw-wielding pawn of the Sawyer family is the face of the franchise. Whether you’ve seen the movies or not, you know the face and the name, so why is Leatherface seemingly the worst character in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre game?
The TCM release date was an astounding success for the Gun Interactive and Sumo Nottingham asymmetrical horror game, as over a million players logged in during the first 24 hours, and it quickly became the third-most-watched game on Steam, just behind CSGO and GTA 5. In The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, players step into the shoes of one of four victims or a member of the killer family in a 4v3 setup, but Leatherface himself, as we reveal in our TCM tier list, is surprisingly the worst of the Slaughter family killers.
Sure, as the iconic horror lead man, you’re armed with a chainsaw that deals a significant amount of damage, and you begin in the basement alongside the victims. The latter, as you can read in my TCM review, deals a unique amount of pressure for an asymmetrical game. However, the character you would think would be the most powerful is actually one of the least popular – at least if the lobbies I’ve been in are anything to go by.
Leatherface is the only compulsory character in each match, so while you can play as anyone – victim or killer – and no character can appear more than once in the same lobby, someone must play as Leatherface, which I’ve seen devolve into more than a few meltdowns already. “Please can you play Leatherface, Johnny is my fave,” “Someone else pick Leatherface,” “I’m not going to play as Leatherface,” like siblings fighting over who gets the TV remote. So why is it so hard to get anyone to play as this legendary icon over the likes of new killers Johnny and Sissy?
For a start, I think it has something to do with the game’s balance. In an asymmetrical game with one killer, they have it all, but there needs to be some balance with three: one with more damage and less speed, another with more maneuverability who’s less brutal, for example. Leatherface is the first of those, and is able to break down obstacles that can otherwise stand in the way of the family’s success, perhaps one of the reasons he must be present. However, he’s sluggish and cannot follow victims through small spaces, which may be why no one wants to be lumbered with the chainsaw killer.
Both new killers seem to have been created as the two most desirable characters, perhaps in a bid to make sure they are accepted into the Texas Chainsaw canon. Sissy and Johnny are both slim and fast, and the former is able to follow players over obstacles, while the latter can track their footsteps. Hitchhiker is also highly maneuverable, making him another favorite, while Cook sadly lags behind. However, even he can pinpoint the location of victims, an incredibly useful ability for team players. This leaves Leatherface as the runt of the litter, bumbling around the map under the control of whoever buckled first.
Of course, it could just have something to do with the fact that he is compulsory, and an element of desirability is lost in being forced to play as Leatherface. Either way, he’s by no means a bad character, and I’ve been killed off by many a Leatherface before I’ve even managed to locate my first unlock tool, let alone any of the TCM exits. If he finds you in the basement, you’re practically a goner. My recommendation, then, if you’re a killer main is to get used to playing Leatherface and working with his advantages, and you won’t be so disappointed if you pick the short straw.