Arkane's long-rumored vampire game has finally made its debut as Redfall, a new co-op FPS from its Austin studio. While Arkane has historically stuck with immersive sims, this looks to take the DNA we all know and love and give it a nice twist. As co-creative director Ricardo Bare says, their "focus remains on deep world building and inventive game mechanics." We'll run through everything you need to know about Redfall ahead of its release on Xbox and PC. Judging from what we've seen so far, fans are in for a bloody good time.
Redfall: What is it?
Forgoing its usual singleplayer immersive sim design found in its previous Xbox games, Arkane is crafting an open-world co-op FPS that can be played either alone or with up to three other players. Players will be able to choose which character to play as, and each offers unique skills to help destroy the legion of vampires plaguing the town.
Set in the island town of Redfall, Massachusetts, the vampiric horde has blocked out the sun and caused the water to recede around the island, effectively cutting off survivors from any form of help.
The gameplay in Redfall should play out similarly to previous Arkane titles, except with its own mechanics. In its open-world setting you'll be able to explore the environment, collect and customize new gear, and upgrade your hero's abilities. Should you want to go in guns blazing or choose a stealthier approach, you can do so.
It's not a full-on stealth game, however, so don't expect something like Dishonored. Arkane's Harvey Smith likens it to a "stealth-enabling shooter" where players can scout the area and gather recon before planning their next moves, possibly avoiding confrontation entirely. And when it comes to weapons, players have an arsenal at their disposal.
“Our weapons are an interesting twist on the genre,” says production director Ben Horne (opens in new tab). “We have loadout options players already know and love, like rare shotguns and sniper rifles, all with randomized weapon traits to make each drop feel like one of an endless potential of combinations. In addition to that, some of our weapons are unique vampire-hunting weapons — like the Stake Launcher or UV Beam — that can be used tactically to eliminate the vampire threat.”
Arkane boasts that the "ever-changing" setting will react to your choices and actions, which is par for the course for this studio. Not only will you be facing off against a horde of vampires, but you'll also contend with human cultists who have grown to worship the monsters in the hopes that they'll be accepted into their ranks.
As for the vampires themselves, they have their own hierarchy that players will need to contend with. The usual pawns are the garden variety that can be taken out pretty easily, but up near the top are more formidable vampires that Arkane calls vampire gods. It should go without saying that these are more deadly and won't go down without a fight. Smith says that these vampire gods serve as breakpoints for each chapter, and they're the ones wielding all the power.
Redfall: Story and characters
We don't know too much about the story in Redfall, but we do know that the vampires you'll be facing aren't your typical ones. The ones in Redfall were created after a scientific experiment went horribly wrong, according to Bethesda. In an interview at QuakeCon, it was revealed that a biotech company named Aevum Laboratories came to Redfall to research longevity, ending up turning themselves into vampires in this pursuit.
Bare explains that the vampires in Redfall are distinct in that "the vampirism that they have is not a disease. It's not an accident, it's not something that you can cure ... The people who became vampires in our game, in a sense they already were vampires on the inside. It's more like a metamorphosis, not a disease that they caught ... They're not innocent people that you're trying to save."
After turning, they then eclipsed the sun and transformed into various archetypes, like the Angler, who can use a psychic harpoon to drag you away from your friends. Another, the Bloodbag, serves as a vampire grunt to produce blood for those at the top of the hierarchy. You'll also be dealing with insane cultists who have begun to worship the vampires as well. It's clear that there's a lot going on in this once quaint town.
As for your squad, you'll be able to play one of four characters:
- Devinder Crousley: Someone has to be the crazy conspiracy theorist of the group, and that's Devinder. Described as an internet-famous paranormal investigator and amateur cryptozoologist, he's on a mission to figure out the truth behind the vampiric invasion of Redfall.
- Layla Ellison: A whip-smart biomedical engineer, Layla suffered an accident at a mysterious research facility that left her with telekinetic powers.
- Remi de la Rosa: Being a part of an elite Navy rescue unit, Remi always wants to do what's right for the people around her. With her robot companion Bribon, she hopes to save Redfall's survivors.
- Jacob Boyer: One of the strangest of the bunch, Jacob is ex-military who was sent to Redfall as part of an elite private security force just before everything went sideways. He's been left with a vampiric eye and a spectral raven thanks to whatever supernatural forces are at play.
Teammates can try various loadouts of characters to see what works for them best, so you aren't just stuck to one character or set of weapons and abilities. There's a ton of customizable weaponry to find across the island.
Arkane calls Redfall a story-driven experience, so it will definitely have some type of narrative that people will play through. In addition to its main story arc, players can take on side objectives like retaking control of Redfall's neighborhoods and wiping out enemy bases.
Redfall: Is it singleplayer or multiplayer?
The last few releases from Arkane have been singleplayer, but its upcoming games look to buck that trend. While Deathloop has blended singleplayer and multiplayer, Redfall is a full-fledged 4-player co-op game (though Arkane has taken to describing it as blending singleplayer and multiplayer seamlessly). Thankfully, you won't be forced to play with other people if you don't want to, and you can go it entirely solo. You won't be tied down with bot companions in co-op, either.
“A huge emphasis for Redfall has been the solo experience, in keeping with Arkane’s passions,” Smith says. “Redfall is an open-world game, but it can be soloed with any of the heroes. The pace becomes more exploratory; you can use recon and stealth to gather info on encounters and avoid enemies or get the drop on them.”
In an interview with IGN, Smith also revealed that campaign progress is only tied to the host. Character progression, however, including loot, abilities, and level will be persistent.
Interestingly, Redfall won't lock players out of any characters no matter who else is on their squad, so all four players can be Layla, for instance.
Redfall: Release date and platforms
Redfall was expected to hit Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC in Summer 2022, but it has since been delayed until the first half of 2023 along with Starfield, Bethesda's next big RPG. When it does eventually release, Redfall will launch into Xbox Game Pass on day one.
It looks like it will only be for current-gen Xbox systems because Xbox One was not mentioned. However, that doesn't rule out a potential cloud release as Xbox head Phil Spencer has stated his intention to ensure that older Xbox One users aren't left out from newer games in the coming years, possibly through Xbox Cloud Gaming.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Grab an Xbox Game Pass subscription for your access to all things Xbox. Now that Bethesda and Arkane are under the Xbox Game Studios banner, exclusives like Redfall are hitting the service day one when they release.
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