Back 4 Blood beta: How to play, start date, sign-ups, and more

Back 4 Blood
Back 4 Blood (Image credit: WB Games)

The spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead is Back 4 Blood, a thrilling and intense co-op zombie shooter that evolves the formula with a dynamic card-based loadout system and modernized shooting mechanics. We loved what we were able to play of the game during the Back 4 Blood Closed Alpha gameplay preview and think it has the potential to end up being one of the best Xbox games, so we were delighted to see that the game is getting an open beta.

In this beta, players will be able to try the game out and help the developers stress test the servers and systems before its official Oct. 12, 2021 release. Here's a look at everything you need to know about Back 4 Blood's beta, including how to play it, when it starts, how you can sign up, and more.

What is the Back 4 Blood beta?

Source: WB Games (Image credit: Source: WB Games)

The Back 4 Blood beta is a pre-launch version of the full game that players can play if they want to try Back 4 Blood out, get a head start on learning how the mechanics work, and help the developers test the game's systems and servers so that everything (hopefully) works smoothly by launch day. Progress made during the beta may also carry over into the full game, although the developers haven't commented on this yet.

It'll be available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and PC. Cross-gen and cross-play support will be available during the beta.

When is the Back 4 Blood beta start time and date?

Source: WB Games (Image credit: Source: WB Games)
  • Early Access Beta: Aug. 5, 2021 at 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET to Aug. 9, 2021 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET
  • Open Beta: August 12, 2021 at 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET ET to August 16, 2021 at 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET

Turtle Rock Studios has announced that the Early Access Beta will begin on Aug. 5 at 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET and will end at the same time on Aug. 9. The Open Beta will then start soon after on Aug. 12 at 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET, which will then run until Aug. 16 and then end at the same time.

What can I expect from the Back 4 Blood beta?

Source: Windows Central / Zackery Cuevas (Image credit: Source: Windows Central / Zackery Cuevas)

Both the Early Access Beta and Open Beta are expected to feature access to Back 4 Blood's PvE game mode that pits four players against hordes of zombies called the "Ridden." As the "Cleaners," players will have to move throughout levels and kill every Ridden enemy they come across while picking up new weapons and supplies along the way to stay in fighting shape. Each player will be able to control a unique Cleaner character that comes with intrinsic strengths and weaknesses, and everybody will also be able to engage with Back 4 Blood's card-based loadout system and use it to tweak their stats and abilities to suit their preferences.

As you progress through campaigns, cards that make the Ridden stronger will activate as well, forcing players to adapt (for more on this system, check out our guide on three ways Back 4 Blood differs from Left 4 Dead). Like Left 4 Dead, Back 4 Blood also has a "Director" AI that dynamically alters how many Ridden spawn, which types of Ridden spawn, what supplies are available in each level, and more depending on how the Cleaners are performing.

We anticipate that both betas will also allow players to try out Back 4 Blood's Swarm PvP mode, which tasks four Cleaner players with surviving as long as possible against four special infected players that fight them alongside armies of Ridden zombies. For now, it's unclear how the game's card loadouts will work in this mode (if at all), but we'll hopefully learn more information soon.

How can I sign up for the Back 4 Blood beta?

Source: WB Games (Image credit: Source: WB Games)

If you're interested in signing up for the Early Access Beta, there are several ways you can (potentially) get access to it. The easiest way to ensure you get access to the Back 4 Blood Early Access Beta is to preorder the game, as doing so grants you guaranteed access to this beta when it starts on Aug. 5. However, if you're not interested in preordering, there are still two other ways that you can get access.

The first is to register for Early Access Beta access on the official Back 4 Blood beta homepage. Once on the page, click the blue Register button and then enter in your email address. Make sure to frequently check your email once you register, as you may be selected to play in the Early Access Beta. Registering doesn't guarantee you'll be able to play, though, so keep that in mind.

The second way to get Early Access Beta access is to link your Warner Bros. Games account to your Twitch account and then watch a streamer play the Back 4 Blood Early Access Beta for 60 minutes with Twitch Drops enabled. You'll then receive a Twitch Drop that gives you access to the Early Access Beta. Full instructions on how to complete this process are available on the Back 4 Blood website.

Note that all players will be able to access the Open Beta when it goes live on Aug. 12, regardless of whether or not you've preordered the game, signed up for Early Access Beta access, or have received access to the Early Access Beta via Twitch Drops.

Will there be Back 4 Blood beta rewards?

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Many games provide players who play their pre-release betas rewards, usually in the form of unique cosmetics or early access to in-game unlocks. The developers of Back 4 Blood haven't confirmed or denied whether beta players will receive rewards or not, but hopefully they will soon. If there are beta rewards, we expect that players will get some special cosmetics for their weapons (or maybe even their characters).

Note that while we don't know whether or not playing the beta will give rewards, we do know that preordering the game will give players access to four weapon skins (pictured above). These include the Fort Hope Elite version of the M4 Carbine, the Uzi SMG, the 870 Express Shotgun, and the RPK LMG. These skins feature green, brown, and black camo.

When is the release date for Back 4 Blood?

Source: Windows Central / Zackery Cuevas (Image credit: Source: Windows Central / Zackery Cuevas)

Back 4 Blood is launching on Oct. 12, 2021. The game (and its betas) will be available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, PS5, PS4, and Windows 10 (and Windows 11) PCs. The game costs $60 to preorder and is expected to have that price at launch as well.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.