Back 4 Blood has generated a significant fanbase even though it's still a ways away from its release. Fans are really excited for Turtle Rock Studios' spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, and it's easy to see why. It's exactly the same formula: survivors in teams of up to four have to work together to mow through zombie hordes and take down particularly menacing mutated versions of the undead. Back 4 Blood's gameplay loop looks like it'll be exactly the same as Left 4 Dead, but brought into the modern age. Turtle Rock might get the big comeback it's looking for if Back 4 Blood does turn out to be Left 4 Dead with cutting edge graphics, polished gameplay, and sprawling new settings.
However, there's one thing that Back 4 Blood can't beat Left 4 Dead at using next-gen technology. Left 4 Dead wasn't just famous for offering so much inspiration to survival horror gameplay. It was also very much about the characters. Many Left 4 Dead fans still look on the two games fondly because Turtle Rock and Valve worked hard to shape the characters into relatable and compelling figures. Back 4 Blood has its own cast of established characters, but an emphasis on customization might suggest that Turtle Rock isn't as interested in telling a character-focused story this time.
The Survivors from Left 4 Dead had all kinds of story content dedicated to them. The first Left 4 Dead focused heavily on Zoey and Bill's relationship, for instance. The pair established something of a father-daughter bond, but ultimately, Bill sacrificed himself to save his fellow survivors and Zoey eventually took charge of the team. Similar arcs run through Left 4 Dead 2, like how Nick's dislike of his team and reluctance to cooperate melt away over time, replaced with a strong bond with his fellow survivors. Turtle Rock and Valve even went as far as to unite the two teams in The Passing, bridging everyone's character development to make one cohesive unit.
In comparison, little is known about Back 4 Blood's plans to characterize its Cleaners. While the game is still built around teams of four Cleaners with unique personalities all working together to fight the Ridden zombies, little is known about their backgrounds. Instead, most of Turtle Rock's efforts to promote the game have revolved around the gameplay and the opportunity to customize Back 4 Blood's cleaners. The low emphasis on plot doesn't make it sound like Back 4 Blood's Cleaners will be as deep as Left 4 Dead's Survivors. Even if the rest of the game is great, some Left 4 Dead fans might end up being disappointed by the characters.
Of course, it's totally possible that there's big plans for Back 4 Blood's story that fans just don't know yet. Even if that is the case, though, Turtle Rock Studios has considerably more work ahead of it than it had in Left 4 Dead. There's supposed to be two teams of four Cleaners in Back 4 Blood at launch, which means there's twice as many main characters to develop with good story threads and interesting personalities. While that's not necessarily an overwhelming challenge, Turtle Rock hasn't given fans much indication of how it's going to pull that off. Story details for Back 4 Blood remain few and far between.
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