Redfall is "not a horde shooter" and the vampires are a metaphor, actually

Redfall key art
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Upcoming supernatural slayer Redfall might look like Left 4 Dead with vampires, but one of the studio's directors wants to set you straight on that.

In Edge magazine #381, Redfall developer Arkane's Harvey Smith sat down to reminisce on his impressive history in games development. On the subject of Redfall, the Dishonored 2 creative director is quick to address any misgivings you might have about what the game actually entails. "We've pushed this since day one: this is not a zombie game, this is not a horde shooter."

Arkane has insisted time and time again that Redfall isn't a Left 4 Dead spinoff. Sure, the Redfall Bite Back edition offers flashy gun skins and character cosmetics not dissimilar from L4D's spiritual successor Back 4 Blood, but Smith wants to zero in on the more subtle subtext.

"On a narrative level, [Redfall] is about a group of very privileged, controlling-elite people coming into a small, sleepy community, and basically undermining it and warping it to their own needs," Smith told Edge. "This startup, [villainous biotech firm] Aevum, they were vampires before they were vampires. They're the 0.1 percent."

Now that might sound very Umbrella Corporation circa Resident Evil 2, but despite the vampires, Redfall isn't quite a survival horror game either. "It's more of an open-world shooter, and it's a different experience whether you play solo or co-op, even though it's the same missions," he said. This means we can likely bid farewell to biome-specific quests and self-contained maps, as in the likes of Deathloop. "In an open-world game, you can improvise a lot." 

When it comes to its unique DNA and how it fits into the studio's brand, Smith is confident in what Redfall has to offer. "It's built on Arkane's creative values: the immersion, the good audio work, the narrative beats and improvisations," he says, so we can look forward to some vampire-slaying open-world antics when Redfall launches on May 2, 2023.

From Prey to Dishonored, check out our ranking of the best Arkane games ever. 

Jasmine Gould-Wilson
Staff Writer, GamesRadar+

Jasmine is a staff writer at GamesRadar+. Raised in Hong Kong and having graduated with an English Literature degree from Queen Mary, University of London in 2017, her passion for entertainment writing has taken her from reviewing underground concerts to blogging about the intersection between horror movies and browser games. Having made the career jump from TV broadcast operations to video games journalism during the pandemic, she cut her teeth as a freelance writer with TheGamer, Gamezo, and Tech Radar Gaming before accepting a full-time role here at GamesRadar. Whether Jasmine is researching the latest in gaming litigation for a news piece, writing how-to guides for The Sims 4, or extolling the necessity of a Resident Evil: CODE Veronica remake, you'll probably find her listening to metalcore at the same time.