Back 4 Blood Open Beta set to break records in player numbers

The spiritual – if not quite the literal – successor to the acclaimed Left 4 Dead franchise, Back 4 Blood has opened its beta build to the public. The developers, Turtle Rock Studios, are the same studio that developed the original Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 games. Valve, however, retained the IP rights to the series after the studio left the company. After a few games with different formats that had middling success, Turtle Rock Studios are returning to a format with which they have achieved success before.

Back 4 Blood keeps the familiar format of four survivors against hordes of undead. In this case the undead have been afflicted with a parasite and are known as the Ridden. Despite the Zombie outbreak and complete collapse of society, the game world is presented to be more hopeful than that of most other zombie apocalypse games. In Left 4 Dead the survivors were relatively normal people, simply fighting to survive and to find safe spaces to rest. The survivors, known as Cleaners, aren’t as afraid of the zombies and are instead fighting to clear and create safe spaces.

Back 4 Blood

© Turtle Rock Studios

Back 4 Blood Open Beta Access

The open beta has two stages: Early Access and Open Beta. Early Access ran from the 5th to the 9th of August 2021. During the weekend, Back 4 Blood netted over 100k concurrent players during Early Access alone. .

Coming up, the Open Beta is open to all testers and pre-order holders. You can also get an Early Access key by watching an hour of Back 4 Blood on a Twitch stream with Back 4 Blood Twitch Drops enabled. You also need to have your Twitch and WB Games accounts connected. The Beta is available to all players on all platforms in all regions in which the game will be sold, except Japan. No purchase is necessary to play in the Open Beta. The full release of the game will be on the 12th of October. We wish you the best of luck surviving the horde.

Based on how Early Access went, we can potentially see more then 1 million recurring players. Plenty of Twitch Streamers are picking up the title for novelty play and some audience generation.

Back 4 Blood Open Beta

© Turtle Rock Studios

New and improved

The AI Director system from the Left 4 Dead franchise that was designed to provide a unique experience each play though has been enhanced in Back 4 Blood with a new card system. Players can build custom decks of 15 upgrade cards that boost certain personal or team stats. At the start of a game, you select which deck you want to play with and then at the start of each phase of the campaign you are dealt five cards from your deck and can choose one of them to apply. The AI director also gets to pick Corruption Cards which provide extra challenges by altering the zombies and game world.

A modular gun upgrade system allows players to adjust their weapons to their personal preference over time. The colour coded system will be pretty familiar to anyone with experience in other modern shooters like Apex Legends or Call of Duty.

Back 4 Blood Gameplay Modes

The game has two modes a coop 1-4 player PvE campaign and a 4v4 PvP mode. The campaign format will be instantly familiar to veterans of the Left 4 Dead franchise. You can team up with up to four friends or can play solo with AI teammates. Coop play is drop-in drop-out so your friends can leave or join at any time. Unfortunately though, solo play does require a constant internet connection. PvE has a series of multi-stage campaigns through which the players must fight to survive.

In the PvP mode, two teams of four face off with one side playing the Cleaners and the other respawning as special Ridden enemies in the midst of a standard horde. The objective of the game is for the Cleaners to survive as long as possible, although death is eventually certain. After one round the teams switch, with the overall winner being the Cleaners that survived the longest. The maps are relatively small and encourage the Cleaners to find defensible positions and holding out for as long as possible before being pushed out by the horde of Ridden combined with a poison cloud/safe-zone system common to battle-royale titles.

Rounds are relatively short in order to minimize frustration and rage quits from dragged out deadlocks and obviously imbalanced teams. The new title promises a more expansive PvP system that might be suitable for esports competition.