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

Back 4 Blood
(Image credit: Turtle Rock Studio)

Turtle Rock and Warner Bros are bringing us Back 4 Blood later this year. The spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, was first revealed during the Game Awards 2020, and not long after, a gameplay trailer, development insights, and an alpha back in December gave us our first proper taste of the upcoming co-op zombie game. While it's since been delayed from its original June release date window, Turtle Rock showed off an extended gameplay trailer during the Future Games Show Spring Showcase to give us even more Back 4 Blood goodness. 

First and foremost, we're happy to confirm that the same frantic team-focused gameplay, distinctive style, and loud personality have returned in Back 4 Blood. Everything we've seen from Turtle Rock on Back 4 Blood is pure, nostalgia-inducing glee in the form of an upcoming next-gen co-op zombie bashing romp, and we absolutely can't wait to team up on Xbox Series X, PS5, PC, and last-gen consoles later this year.

Below you find all the information you need to know about Back 4 Blood, including the release date, open beta, crossplay, platforms, and gameplay.

Back 4 Blood release date

Back 4 Blood

(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

Back 4 Blood

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

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

(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 on the way sometime this summer, but no exact date has been revealed just yet. 

Back 4 Blood gameplay

The first Back 4 Blood gameplay showcase is 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'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. 

Back 4 Blood card system explained

Back 4 Blood

(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

(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

(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 

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

(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

(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.