‘Once Upon A Time We Played A Game For The Experience’, Says Back 4 Blood Dev

The Creative Director for Back 4 Blood has explained how developing a co-op zombie game is different now compared to the days of Left 4 Dead.

The developer has a storied history with co-op zombie titles. Turtle Rock Studios was the initial developer of the Left 4 Dead games before partnering with Valve. As such, the current team has the difficult task of creating something that can be judged on its own while existing in the mighty shadow of their own successes.

In an interview with GameByte, Lead Game Designer Brandon Yanez told us: “We really set out to make our own game. There are similarities, sure, but we started with an idea and it evolved over time. What it started out as and what it ended up as aren’t really the same.’

We wanted to know more about how different it is to create a zombie game now in comparison with 13 years ago. Phil Robb, Co-Founder and Creative Director at Turtle Rock Studios explained to us how he thinks that the player expectations are entirely different these days.

“I think most of the newer challenges are around ways to keep players engaged outside of the core gameplay. Once upon a time, we played a game just for the experience. No other rewards required besides a fun time,” Robb told GameByte. “Modern games often have the expectation of progression, content rewards and customization. It’s not a bad thing, but it does add more factors than you need to consider in the design and on the development side.”

Back 4 Blood Hoffman
Credit: Turtle Rock Studios

Is having fun not enough for gamers these days?

Back 4 Blood features a card deck building system that forms part of the game’s progression system. Completing campaign runs can earn the player new cards with gameplay modifiers to help alter the gameplay experience. It’s a system Left 4 Dead didn’t have and is intended to bring some replayability to the latest zombie zest-fest. 

Thousands of players flocked to give the Open Beta a try over the weekend ahead of Back 4 Blood’s upcoming release in October. While not quite reaching 100k, an all-time peak of 98,024 is still an impressive feat.

Despite the hordes of gamers logging onto the game, some of the response online appears to be less than savoury. A sweep of the Back 4 Blood subreddit indicates that a lot of players are disappointed with what they’ve played. However, much of the criticism doesn’t seem aimed at the progression systems. Players are more upset that the game seemingly omits fan favourite Left 4 Dead features, like a campaign versus mode.

Back 4 blood open beta

The Back 4 Blood Open Beta will run again from August 12th until the 16th. You can give our thoughts on what the game has to offer over in our preview!

Have you been playing the beta over the weekend? Let us know your thoughts on the game on our social channels.

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Featured Image Credit: Turtle Rock Studios/WB Games