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Back 4 Blood release date, open beta, and everything else we know

Back 4 Blood cleaner
(Image credit: Turtle Rock Studio)

Back 4 Blood is a co-op zombie shooter that follows in the footsteps of Left 4 Dead. Developed by Turtle Rock, the game will blast its way onto Xbox, PlayStation, and PC in October, and an open beta starts on August 5. 

Back 4 Blood looks packed full of gore, guns and enemies will see a crew of capable "cleaners" battling the zombie "ridden," in four-player co-op and eight-player PvP. As the game's release draws near Turtle Rock is dropping hot new information and trailers on a regular basis, so we've made sure you can stay updated with all the facts right here. From the new release date to the upcoming open beta, to co-op and PvP, and loads more, here's what Back 4 Blood is all about.

Back 4 Blood release date

Back 4 Blood ridden

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Turtle Rock posted an update on Twitter to announce that the Back 4 Blood release date has been delayed from its original June 22, 2021 release window. It's now expected to launch on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on October 12, 2021.

Back 4 Blood reveal trailer

The Back 4 Blood reveal trailer is a triumphant cinematic introducing some of the characters, weapons, hordes of zombies, and some of the unique mutant beasts we'll encounter here and there - that Tank/Boomer hybrid thing looks terrifying and we can't wait to light it on fire and blow it up. For fans that were waiting 11 years for Left 4 Dead 3, watching the Back 4 Blood trailer is cathartic. Left 4 Dead is back, and better yet, it's not even that far away.

Back 4 Blood open beta is on the way

Back 4 Blood door

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Back 4 Blood closed alpha sent out invites in mid-December and ran from December 17 to December 21, 2020. If you missed out that time, Turtle Rock has revealed that an open beta is kicking off August 12 and running until August 16. You can register for the Back 4 Blood open beta here, or you can pre-order the game to access the beta a week early, from August 5 to 9.

The August Back 4 Blood open beta will have two PvP maps, two co-op maps, and the Fort Hope community hub. 

Back 4 Blood gameplay

The first Back 4 Blood gameplay showcase revealed a full 30 minutes of team-based, zombie-slaying fun mixed with some developer insights. You get to see a good variety of environments, melee combat and gunplay, player characters, and of course zombies. 

Throughout the footage, you can see a few things that differentiate Back 4 Blood from Left 4 Dead. I mentioned earlier a new big guy that looks like a Tank mixed with a Boomer, and you can also see the new "roguelike" card system in action.

Most recently, Turtle Rock debuted another extended gameplay trailer along with insights from the developers during the Future Game Show Spring showcase. As you can see in the above video, it gives you an in-depth look at Back 4 Blood's new director system, which will add bigger modifiers to each map and change up where and when enemies will appear to keep things feeling fresh and new when you play a stage again. 

Back 4 Blood multiplayer explained

Back 4 Blood multiplayer

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Back 4 Blood's FAQ details that it can be played with up to 4 players in online co-op, and up to 8 players in PVP, and you can also play solo with AI teammates in the campaign. 

During E3 2021, we learned a little more about Back 4 Blood multiplayer, and it's not all good news for fans of Left 4 Dead. For one, Turtle Rock confirmed that split-screen multiplayer will not be supported at launch, which means Left 4 Dead fans that played the games with friends couch co-op style will need to brace for a slightly different experience. We also learned that Back 4 Blood won't have an offline mode at launch, meaning you'll need an online connection to play both multiplayer and single-player modes.

Back 4 Blood card system explained

Back 4 Blood card system

(Image credit: Warner Bros. (via DualShockers))

Did you do a double-take when we mentioned Back 4 Blood having a card system? Don't worry, it's not as bad as it sounds. In fact, it's actually quite innovative and doesn't get in the way of the zombie-bashing at all. Back 4 Blood has a system in place that you interact with before each match, allowing you to choose cards from different categories to build up a 15-card deck. Some cards give specific passive stat boosts for stamina or attack power, or faster healing or more ammo storage, while some are triggered by certain actions, like stowing a weapon. You'll want to build a deck with lots of melee benefits if you picked a character that doesn't start with a gun.

Then there are corruption cards that are applied to each match, deciding which unique zombies will appear as well as which weather effects will make things more challenging for you and your team, i.e. heavy fog that limits your visibility. Corruption cards are chosen by "the Dynamic Game Director," which is designed to monitor players and constantly adjust enemies and environments to ensure every run-through is unique.

Back 4 Blood story 

Back 4 Blood story

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

As the Back 4 Blood FAQ details, the story of the game takes place after a "catastrophic outbreak, where most of humanity has either been killed or infected. A group of veterans known as the "cleaners" come together to take on the "parasite infected horrors known as the Ridden to take back what is left in the world." 

Back 4 Blood crossplay

Back 4 Blood crossplay

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Turtle Rock hasn't explicitly confirmed Back 4 Blood crossplay in any of their official marketing materials or trailers, but the studio has reportedly confirmed cross-platform support on their official Discord (via Gamewatcher).

Back 4 Blood will be like Left 4 Dead but with lots of new features 

Back 4 Blood and Left 4 Dead

Turtle Rock has been transparent about Back 4 Blood innovating the Left 4 Dead formula since the beginning. As a spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, Back 4 Blood will still see you shooting up a lot zombies, but it also promises to build on that with lots of new features that will set the new IP apart. Early on in development, the community manager wrote in the FAQ: "you'll be able to shoot up a lot of zombies like in Left 4 Dead, but there's a whole lot of new stuff in Back 4 Blood which makes it unique."

Back 4 Blood is set in an entirely new game universe 

Back 4 Blood enemy

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment president David Haddad spoke about the multiplayer FPS in a news release in March, saying that the publisher is excited to "create a new gaming universe build specifically with the large co-op Zombie shooter community in mind." Since it's not a sequel, it was a given that'd it make a departure away from setting in the Left 4 Dead games. But we can't but wonder how far it’ll stray from the settings in America and it if will include any subtle nods or easter eggs to Left 4 Dead. 

Back 4 Blood could have paid post-launch content

Back 4 Blood DLC

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Microtransactions have become more of a concern for players when it comes to the release of a new multiplayer game. As such, Turtle Rock did make mention of the topic in its FAQ, saying there could be additional paid for content after release, but it's currently focusing on the base game before thinking ahead to any sort of DLC: "Right now, we’re focusing on making the best, most fun and exciting game we can. We’ll figure out the post-launch stuff later, but if we do have paid post-launch content, like microtransactions, we want to do something that the community feels good about."

Here's how Back 4 Blood is using a card system to be different from Left 4 Dead.