Back 4 Blood, Turtle Rock Studios love letter to Left 4 Dead, is officially coming this year. After being first announced at the Game Awards 2020, this zombie co-op shooter was extensively shown off at E3 2021.
Turtle Rock Studios certainly weren't shy with the details. Not only did the developers show off plenty of gameplay during the annual video game showcase, but we also got confirmation that Back 4 Blood will be coming to Xbox Game Pass at launch.
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This team-focused action game will be releasing on PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC, plus it’s coming to last-gen consoles as well. If you can't wait to ensemble your team and start battling the zombie hordes, there are plenty of details to keep you satisfied until launch below.
Here’s everything we currently know about Back 4 Blood, including the release date, gameplay trailers, and beta information.
Back 4 Blood release date
There is good news and bad news on the release date front. The good news is that Back 4 Blood now has a confirmed release date of October 12, Turtle Rock Studios took to Twitter to announce this information in late March.
pic.twitter.com/Mv2i9HLIwoMarch 25, 2021
The bad news is that this does mean the game has been delayed from its original June 22 release date, which means a longer wait before we start mowing down hordes of Zombies.
Of course, we’d rather a polished game than a rushed one, and with the COVID pandemic still impacting game development, we’re not surprised to see another game receive a delay. On the brighter side, the October release date does mean that Back 4 Blood is perfectly timed for Halloween.
Back 4 Blood trailer
Back 4 Blood was announced at last year’s Game Awards with a slick cinematic trailer. The news that Turtle Rock Studios, developer of the original Left 4 Dead, was making essentially a spiritual successor to the popular co-op Zombie shooter series was unsurprisingly well received.
This first trailer introduced us to some of the core elements of the game. Including the cast of playable characters, and some of the unique classes of zombies (known as Ridden in this world) that will be trying to munch on you.
At E3 2021 we got an additional trailer during the Xbox Games Showcase. This trailer confirmed that Back 4 Blood will have a player versus player mode, that will allow you to take control of the infected zombies yourself.
Considering that Left 4 Dead 2 released way back in 2009, and there’s been no hint of a third game in the series since it’s no wonder that Back 4 Blood instantly won gamers over. It looks set to fill the Zombie-slaying hole in our hearts.
Back 4 Blood gameplay
Turtle Rock Studios have certainly given us plenty of gameplay to chew on. Less than a week after the game was revealed the developer streamed over 30-minutes of action on YouTube, giving us a proper look at how the game will play.
It looks like a frantic co-op shooter in which a steady aim and solid team communication will be key. The dark sense of humor that so many gamers loved in Left 4 Dead looks to be replicated in Back 4 Blood as well, and for a game with such strong horror overtones it’s surprising how humorous the game looks at times.
We also got a peek at one of the special infected types called an Ogre, who is a 20-foot-tall monstrosity that literally explodes onto the scene to decimate your team —you’ll need plenty of ammunition to take one of them down.
The devs haven’t gone quite since releasing that substantial chunk of gameplay either, in 2021 we’ve got a steady stream of information which has keep our interest in the game at peak levels.
During the recent Future Game Show, we got a further look at the game and specifically got to learn more about the ‘director system’ which will help to make Back 4 Blood endlessly replayable.
The system essentially adds modifiers to maps, changing up the enemy and item placement so no two runs ever feel the same. The modifiers can be more substantial than just more or less enemies as well.
Turtle Rock Studio executive, Lianna Papp, told GamesRadar: “You're gonna start in a safe room with three of your friends, and the game director is gonna play what we call Corruption Cards. You get to know what kind of challenges he's gonna throw at you and your team by looking at what these cards are. They might be things like Swarm of Bruisers, or Ridden on Fire.
Papp also explained how the player-selected cards system will work in-game: “So after you see those Corruption Cards, you're then gonna be given a hand from a deck that you've built. And you need to decide what cards you're gonna play. Coordination with your team is gonna be super key here as you can do things like improving the quality of items and weapons that are found in the world, you can make it so your team can carry more molotovs or medkits, or you can even do something cool like, your team gets a burst of health when you get incapacitated.”
It sounds like a pretty interesting system that should elevate the game beyond just mindless zombie-shooting. The tactical element of picking the right cards for the situation will give Back 4 Blood some much-needed additional depth.
If the mention of a card system sends a shiver down your spine as you imagine a horribly balanced pay2win nightmare, don’t worry. Turtle Rock is using this card system to enable you to create a loadout that suits your playstyle rather than to tempt you to spend extra money on microtransactions.
As mentioned above, during E3 2021 the PvP Swarm Mode was announced. We got more than just a reveal trailer though. We also got a deep dive look at the game mode in action, thanks to a live-stream hosted by Turtle Rock Studios themselves.
Swarm Mode will allow you to select from a range of special infected types, then it will be your job to stop the human players from completing tasks on the map. For the human players carefully thought out strategy and quick reflexes will be required to avoid getting overwhelmed by the zombies.
The new mode looks like plenty of chaotic fun, but most importantly it will presumably add some longevity to the game. Once you've beaten the main campaign, Swarm Mode will give you a reason to keep coming back.
One disappointing detail that did come out of E3 is that Back 4 Blood will require a persistent online connection to play. Even if you're playing solo with AI-controlled teammates you must be online otherwise the game won't function. This is a shame, but Turtle Rock Studios have suggested they may fix this issue post-launch.
Overall, Back 4 Blood is shaping up to be the Left 4 Dead 3 we never got, and that’s certainly a prospect that has grabbed our attention.
Back 4 Blood beta
Back 4 Blood previously had a closed alpha in December 2020. This allowed a small group of players the chance to go hands-on with the game and provide feedback to the devs.
If you missed out on the chance to participate, the good news is that Turtle Rock has confirmed that Back 4 Blood will be having a beta this summer. So everyone can experience the thrill of surviving a zombie horde with friends for themselves ahead of launch.
Unfortunately, E3 2021 didn't bring a firm date for the beta but expect to receive further information about the timing, and what platforms it will be available on, in the coming weeks.
We do know that it will be an open beta so you won't need to worry about signing up ahead of time or getting a pre-order exclusive code. When the beta goes live, everyone will be able to play.
Back 4 Blood crossplay
For an online-focused game like Back 4 Blood, a large community of players will be key to the game’s longevity. To this end crossplay, which allows for gamers on different systems to play together, seems like a must-have feature.
There hasn’t been any official word on whether Back 4 Blood will support crossplay however according to Gamewatcher Turtle Rock reportedly confirmed the feature on the game’s official discord.
This is certainly a hopeful sign that crossplay will be included, but we’d wait for confirmation in some form of official marketing material before getting too excited.