Turtle Rock Studios has revealed that they are in the process of creating a co-operative first-person shooter named Back 4 Blood in a partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive. Not many details have been announced, but we've compiled everything that you need to know right here.
Left 4 Dead was created by Valve South back in 2008. The studio had formerly been known as Turtle Rock Studios, but was purchased by Valve in the same year due to the success of Counter-Strike: Source, which Turtle Rock had developed for Valve. The game was incredibly well received for the variable spawning of enemies that responded to how well players were doing. This AI Director meant that each playthrough of a Left 4 Dead level would be a slightly different and continually challenging experience. Due to the co-op focus and tight gameplay, over 11 million copies of the game were sold between its launch and 2011. 2011 saw Turtle Rock separate from Valve and begin working on Evolve, a 2015 multiplayer shooter pitting players against a player-controlled monster. Evolve didn't do well for a lot of reasons, but the game itself was enjoyable. The studio dedicated two years after the game's launch to turning it around, but nothing ever quite stuck. It makes sense, then, that the team is going back to one of the works that helped put the studio on the map: Left 4 Dead.
Of course, Back 4 Blood is not Left 4 Dead 3. Turtle Rock Studios is very careful to clarify that this is not the long awaited sequel to the popular co-op zombie shooter. Instead it is an entirely original co-op zombie shooter that brings many elements that were never present in Left 4 Dead or Left 4 Dead 2. What exactly those new elements might be, the studio declined to clarify. However, they hinted that they are bringing the design lessons they've learned over the years and seeing what they can do with the framework of a co-op zombie shooter with modern tech. They seem confident that they will be able to stand out from the pack with what they have in mind for Back 4 Blood.
“We are not resting on any past laurels. Our goal is to take all we’ve learned and push forward. We know that’s a tall order,” said Phil Robb, Turtle Rock Studios' co-founder and current creative director. “We’re growing the team considerably because we’re stepping up to the biggest challenge in this studio’s history. We know this title has to stand out and we fully intend to make that happen.”
Turtle Rock Studios expect to launch the game in the AAA price range of titles, so customers should see it hitting shelves and digital storefronts with a price tag of anywhere from $40-$60. Of course, one of the biggest issues that plagued Evolves launch was the way the game included micro-transactions. The studio didn't say that there would be no micro-transactions this time around, however they did say that they are open to the idea of adding content the community might want post-launch. At the very least it seems like Back 4 Blood is not being designed with micro-transactions in mind.
As for actual gameplay, there will be no Battle Royale-style conflicts. Back 4 Blood will instead focus on co-op and some form of PvP mode, though what form that might take remains a mystery. The game will also include a story-driven campaign of some kind. Given the unique way the narrative played out in Left 4 Dead and Evolve, how that campaign will look is anyone's guess. Chris Ashton, Turtle Rock Studios' co-founder and design director, gushed a little bit about being able to return to the co-op zombie genre they helped begin saying, “It’s hard to overstate what an awesome opportunity this is. We get to return to a genre that was born in our studio with over ten years of additional experience and zombie ideas racked up in our brains."
The announcement was sparse on details as it was designed mostly to begin building a community of excited fans and let professionals across the industry know what Turtle Rock is working on and possibly bring them aboard. However, it's always exciting to see a veteran developer return to their roots after some time away. There's little doubt that the studio will make something incredibly interesting with their skills and dedication. It remains to be seen whether people will flock to what they have to offer as wildly as they once did.
Back 4 Blood will release for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, though the team is open to additional platforms if the opportunities present themselves.
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