So, a lot of Warner Bros. fans were already left disappointed with announcement that many titles fans had been clamoring for were not being featured. With their big announcements being teased earlier in the year it seemed strange that the WB announced a standalone presence. What unfolded was a presentation for Back4Blood, the spiritual successor for Left4Dead brought to us by Turtle Rock Studios
Back4Blood is widely considered the spiritual successor to Left4Dead. Laid bare before you is a cooperative multiplayer campaign that pits 4 of you either against the AI or another group of 4 in a PvP battle for survival. So far, feeling very much like the similar Left4Dead games right? You play as either one of the Ridden or as one of a group of the “Cleaners” a group of veteran survivalists sent to clean up the post-apocalyptic world.
So what makes Back4Blood different to previous titles from Turtle Rock? Firstly, you depict hardened veterans, not simply scared survivors. In the wake of disaster, the Cleaners are focused on making safe spaces instead of hiding and skulking. But, in terms of gameplay, the biggest change is in the addition of “cards” and “deckbuilding”
Any board game fanatics might immediately draw parallels to the Resident Evil Deck Building Game. To be fair, there is enough to warrant the comparison. Players build their decks that focus on 4 main areas: Reflex, Discipline, Brawn and Fortitude. At the beginning of each level, the idea is that three cards are drawn, and one picked until you have four cards designed to give you an advantage in the upcoming level.
But… your opponent also has a collection of corruption cards. These can cause problems for your group in the form of more enemies, tougher enemies, or even environmental challenges. Both sides can add to their decks over times and the game is reported to have a “classic” mode where this feature is non-existent.
The only other addition is the opening shop. Whereby players can purchase upgrades and health in order to buff them in later levels. This requires the use of copper found throughout the levels and replaces previous loot collection mechanics.
So much of the footage looks and feels like Left4Dead, which you would expect really considering the majority of Turtle Rock began life as the Valve studio that are credited with bringing the co-op survival game into existence. The focus is still on the survival of the whole party rather than any one member and the enemies themselves are very on theme. There even feels to be an homage to Gears of War, with the Retches being very similar to Boomers.
Following the presentation, fans were posing questions to developers, a few of them are added here. But for die hard fans who want to know more, it is defintely worth revisiting the presentation. One of the more useful questions were around the functionality of the PvP aspect. The game wont support 8 players in a 4v4 setting. You can log in with three others but you cant face a group of your own friends.
In a similar vein, the developers have acknowledged that there will be no split screen co-op for Back4Blood, but the phrasing suggests that this could be something they intend to work on for future releases.
Considering I originally was looking forward to a presentation that gave me insight into the wider scope of Warner Bros. Interactive. It was disappointing to say the least. What originally had so much hype (ironic considering our topic for Big Daddy Digest this week) was dashed so quickly.
With regards to Back4Blood. It is encouraging having the team behind the original Left4Dead franchise returning to the genre they practically created. The sheer focus of developers on PvP however, means this is most likely to be destined to either be a huge commercial success or just another of many. And with the most popular first person shooter PvP being free to play, it already has a hill to climb. Hopefully what it does different is enough to draw players in and deal it a good hand!