Our initial impression of Redfall (opens in new tab), the next game from Dishonored studio Arkane, was that it’s a Left 4 Dead-style shooter (opens in new tab) that swaps out zombies for vampires. In a new interview with GamesRadar (opens in new tab), however, creative director Ricardo Bare and studio director Harvey Smith said that’s really not an accurate assessment.
“It’s totally understandable for somebody to come to that conclusion,” Bare said. “There are four playable characters, you can play together cooperatively, and you’re going against the undead. But, in terms of the way that you play and experience Redfall, it’s not like those games at all. Redfall is more like loading into Far Cry.”
At its core, Left 4 Dead and other games like it—Warhammer 40K: Darktide, Deep Rock Galactic, and Turtle Rock Studios’ L4D spiritual successor Back 4 Blood—are a frantic race through a series of linear levels packed with hordes of “infected” of various sorts. The only goal is survival, and speed and efficiency are paramount. Redfall, on the other hand, is set in an open world, and offers both story-driven missions and immersive sim-style exploration.
“You’re in a big-ass open world,” Bare said. “We have a home base where you can talk to NPCs and get side quests. You can go to the mission table and pick up story-driven missions. Or you can not give a shit about any of that and just head outside, pick a direction, start hauling ass, and run into the living world stuff that we have going on.”
“Big-ass open world” is a relative thing: Redfall will presumably be larger than, say, Deathloop’s Blackreef or Prey’s Talos 1, but likely much smaller than those of Ubisoft’s Far Cry games. But the smaller scale will hopefully allow for a denser and more interesting game world, and is counterbalanced somewhat by the fact that Redfall will not have vehicles.
“Redfall is an on-foot game—the scale and the pace is a little slowed down in that respect,” Bare said. “We want you creeping through a cornfield at night in the fog, hearing vampires whisper in the dark. Maybe you’ll spot a farmhouse in the distance and sneak over to it, only to find that it’s full of cultists and a few trapped survivors who you can save. That’s the kind of vibe that Redfall has.”
In all honesty, I’m a little iffy on Redfall. Not because I don’t like shooters (although the Left 4 Dead series never did much for me) but because Arkane is wasted on them. It should be making new and better immersive sims (for heaven’s sake, I’ve waited long enough for Arx Fatalis 2), not trying to capture the magic of Turtle Rock (opens in new tab) or Ubisoft. This interview has me a little more interested in it: I’m still not entirely sold, but I’m open to being convinced.
“Redfall sometimes feels like what you’d get if you blended the Arkane creative values with Far Cry 2 or Stalker,” Smith said. “That’s the kind of thing that we have wanted to do for a long time.”
Redfall still doesn’t have a release date, but it’s currently expected to be out sometime in the first half of 2023.