Should you care about Redfall, the delayed open-world co-op vampire FPS from Arkane?
Sink your teeth into this: a town that was, once upon a time, known for its quaint streets, breezy boardwalks and charming neighborhoods has been taken over. A new sect has moved in. The vampires. They ruined everything. They have eclipsed the sun. They are using the town’s population like their own personal feedbags. And they’re keen on taking more.
That’s the premise of Redfall – the now-delayed title coming from Arkane Austin for Xbox Series X/S and PC. You will be taking a trip to the quaint island town of the eponymous Redfall, Massachusetts, to try and fend off these science-experiments-gone-wrong and bring a semblance of sanity back to the area. It sounds a bit like a mix of From Dusk ‘til Dawn and The Lost Boys. And that sounds great.
Though the debut trailer we got from the game at E3 2021 paints the title as some sort of Left 4 Dead/Back 4 Blood-alike, little bits of information we’ve been left to scrape off the sides of press materials and leaks seems to suggest that we’ll actually be getting an experience that’s more akin to, say, Borderlands. Like the sound of that? Well, here’s what we know so far.
A few leaked images gave us an early (and likely quite unreliable) look at how gameplay will come together. Unsurprisingly for a four-player, co-op first-person shooter, you will be able to make the most of customizable loadouts and special abilities, whilst level requirements will gate you from equipping certain items too early. Seemingly, you’ll be able to hold up to three weapons, some armor, a memento, a medkit, and remnants (whatever they are).
You’ll be able to play as four characters:
- Layla Ellison, a medical research doctor for in-world company Aevum Therapeutics, who was victim to some sort of bad event in the lab which seemingly conferred psychic powers on her. She’s basically your mage.
- Devinder Crousley, a cryptozoologist and paranormal investigator that makes weapons. He is in Redfall to document and livestream the paranormal events to his followers, and has got more than he bargained for. Think of him as your hunter/ranger.
- Remi de la Rosa, a combat engineer and a special rescue operative coming from the US Navy, de la Rosa is a whiz with electronics and has even created her own little battle drone – Bribón – to help keep the streets of Redfall free from vamps. She’s effectively your engineer.
- Jacob Boyer, armed with a mysterious ‘vampire eye’ after something went down when he first got to Redfall, and a spectral raven companion that can help him survey the battlefield, Jacob Boyer is your sharpshooter/sniper, and will likely work best when working far away from the combat frontlines.
If you’re going in expecting something that merely meets Left 4 Dead and Borderlands somewhere in the middle, though, you’ll likely be surprised; Redfall comes from Arkane – you know, the folks behind Dishonored, Deathloop, and Prey – and so has a lot of ‘immersive sim’ in its DNA, too. Bethesda’s own Pete Hines has said that Redfall is “very similar” to Arkane’s previous output when it comes to its design pillars, so you can expect this level of mechanical freedom in here, too. Given that your vampire enemies will also “continue to evolve” as the game progresses, I think it all sounds like a pretty exciting package.
For an open world game, Hines has also said that “every time you play it, you’re getting something different” because “the world is changing from the last time you played it, in ways that are meaningful from a gameplay standpoint.” It could all just be lip service, sure, but with one of the most consistent and exciting developers in games working on this – and knowing it needs to impress off the bat as an Xbox Game Pass keystone – I think Redfall is worth keeping at least one vampiric eye out for.
If this all sounds quite up your street, you’ve sadly got a little bit longer to wait before checking it all out. Bethesda announced a delay for the game in May 2022, nudging Redfall out of its planned ‘summer 2022’ slot and into somewhere in the ‘first half of 2023’.
“The teams at Arkane Austin (Redfall) and Bethesda Game Studios (Starfield) have incredible ambitions for their games, and we want to ensure that you receive the best, most polished versions of them,” the developer said at the time. Following this, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer stated that he understands the frustration fans must feel over the delay of both Redfall and Starfield, and noted that “[Xbox] will continue to work to better meet those expectations.”
Here’s hoping the delay pays off. We need a decent co-op game to get our teeth into. Expect to finally see some actual gameplay of Arkane Austin’s experimental title at the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase on June 12. In the meantime, at least, we’ve got some other decent vampire-based games to enjoy.