Redfall: New Gameplay Footage Revealed as Dev Previews Arkane’s ‘Most Ambitious’ Setting Yet
Redfall production designer Ben Horne stopped by the IGN Fan Fest and showed off some new gameplay footage while sharing some additional details about Arkane’s upcoming open-world vampire shooter.
Given that it’s a game where players can choose from one of four playable characters to fight against the undead, it’s unsurprising that it’s seen a lot of comparisons to Left 4 Dead. But Arkane has previously said it’s more like Far Cry because of its open world, and Horne went into what sets it apart in more detail.
“Left 4 Dead is a great game, but we wanted to do something different,” he said. “We wanted to do something that we feel has the DNA of Arkane that we’ve done in games from the past, games like Dishonored, Dishonored 2, Prey, most recently Deathloop. You can think of all those games almost as a Venn diagram where they overlap in really key areas or critical areas that we like to tell stories in games and we like to make games that have a rich, coherent story, systems that players can exploit and use to their advantage, perhaps in some surprising ways.
“For Dishonored, we went a little stealthy, and for Prey, we really focused on the physics. For Redfall, we wanted to focus on world building, we wanted to focus on that narrative story. So that’s what we’re focused on delivering.”
Check out an extended gameplay and world exploration trailer below.
Vampire hunting (and loot)
When it comes to weapons in the game, Horne clarified that they wanted some weapons that players would “feel immediately comfortable with”: things like assault rifles, shotguns, and sniper rifles.
But, he added, Redfall has some unique weapons included when it comes to slaying vampires, such as flame guns, spike launchers, and UV rays.
“These help defeat vampires in a very unique way, because in Redfall, vampires can’t be defeated with bullets alone,” he explained. “They need something special and so a stud shooter, for example, can really shoot from a distance when they’re vulnerable. And it really allows players to scour the world, look for the weapon that they really want, how they want to play, and it allows them to be expressive in that way of dealing with the vampire threat.”
This freedom of choice is something Horne came back to a lot, saying that players who want a more “guns blazing” style and those who use a more stealth-based approach will both find what they’re looking for.
“In our game, it’s not unusual to hear an explosion in the distance and wonder ‘well, what was that?’ and you go to that area and two factions are fighting each other,” he said. “And that’s not always written; sometimes this is just something that happens systematically in the game. And then you have a choice. Do I jump into the fray? Should I sneak around, grab some loot, and get out? There are benefits and pros and cons to all of these approaches.”
Redfall – Xbox Dev Direct
Arkane’s biggest world yet
Going into Redfall, Horne said Arkane had a big dream “to deliver the biggest, most ambitious environment we’ve ever had” — but not in a way that didn’t feel like an Arkane game.
“We knew that with this, we wanted to keep the things about Arkane’s DNA that we love, the things about our past games that we really value: environmental storytelling, strong kind of pervasive narrative in the world so that the world feels lived. -in, it feels worth saving. And so as we took on this challenge to create such a large open world, we wanted to make sure that every house that players walked into, or convenience store, was legible.”
Horne said there are “thousands and thousands of readable lines” that tell the story of the town of Redfall before it was overrun by vampires, something he thinks made the game “really special”.
Additionally, he revealed that there was never a version of Redfall that wasn’t unlocked.
“Actually, that was one of the exciting parts of starting a game like this,” he said. “It was something new. I think it’s natural to make games and maybe you’ve made some that are in a certain mold and say, ‘we want to get what we want here and we want to break the mold.’ Making a big, open-world game, that was breaking the mold for us.”
It supports both single player and multiplayer
Another part of that breaking the mold, Horne said, was the multiplayer aspect of Redfall. As he says: it wasn’t just “can we go further?”, but “can we create an experience, a true Arkane experience, that you can play with your friends?”
“So the focus has been on supporting all those playstyles,” he continued. “When you play single player in Redfall, you’re playing yourself. There is no AI team. And then you can add friends up to a squad of four players and what we found is that as you add more and more friends, the game almost takes on this party mode when you’re playing. There’s a lot of fun, a lot of action, a lot of ways your skills and abilities can play with your teammates.”
He also found that the multiplayer experience doesn’t leave teammates connected to each other; players can wander the map away from their friends. However, those who take this approach miss out on a benefit from the game’s belief system, which provides a cheerleader when the team sticks together.
“It’s a really, really cool system that allows players to be expressive with how they want to play with their friends. You don’t have to be locked up all together if you don’t want to,” he said. “But there is a benefit. We encourage people to join.”
Redfall releases on Xbox Series X/S and PC on May 2.
Alex Stedman is a senior news editor with IGN, overseeing entertainment reporting. When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her reading fantasy novels or playing Dungeons & Dragons.