back from the dead —
Warner Bros. picks up the co-op zombie shooter ball Valve dropped a decade ago.
Back in the old days of 2008, when Valve actually made and released new games on a semi-regular schedule, the publisher took a chance on independent developer Turtle Rock and a little co-op focused, AI-driven zombie swarm game called
Left 4 Dead
. The game was
, as was
and associated DLC packs. So of course Valve and Turtle Rock built on that success by… letting the franchise lay fallow for almost a decade now.
Fast-forward to today, when Warner Bros. Interactive announced it has recruited Turtle Rock to bring the Left 4 Dead flavor back with the not-at-all-coincidentally titled Back 4 Blood.
While an accompanying FAQ makes it clear that this is not Left 4 Dead 3 (an IP that’s owned by Valve, in any case), the announcement notes that the new game will share the same creators, development team, and zombie-shooting flavor of those well-remembered classics. “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,” Turtle Rock cofounder and Design Director Chris Ashton said in a statement.
Turtle Rock still isn’t ready to discuss what form those “new ideas” will take or how precisely the studio will make use of new “state-of-the-art technology,” but it did provide a few broad strokes. Back 4 Blood will be a premium (read: not free-to-play) game with campaign and PVP modes, but without a flavor-of-the-moment battle-royale mode (we’re looking at you, Black Ops). No release date window has been announced, but the team is targeting PC, PS4, and Xbox One versions.
The team couldn’t commit to whether microtransactions would be in the final game but said it wasn’t a focus of the development right now and promised “if we do have paid post-launch content, like microtransactions, we want to do something that the community feels good about.”
Left 4 Dead
, Turtle Rock has spent most of its time on the ambitious, asymmetric four-on-one shooter
. After its 2015 launch, that game faced
, disappointing sales, and quickly declining player numbers. Publisher 2K tried
in 2016, but cut off continuing development by
just months later.
‘s dedicated servers
, though the game can still be played over peer-to-peer connections.
Turtle Rock has also been experimenting with a number of VR projects in recent years. But the studio’s previously announced partnership with Chinese MMO maker Perfect World Entertainment has now been cancelled, with Turtle Rock simply saying “both parties decided to move on.”