Back in the old days of 2008, when Valve actually made and released new games on a semi-regular schedule, the publisher took a chance on independent developer Turtle Rock and a little co-op focused, AI-driven zombie swarm game called Left 4 Dead. The game was a multimillion-selling success, as was its 2009 sequel and associated DLC packs. So of course Valve and Turtle Rock built on that success by… letting the franchise lay fallow for almost a decade now.
Fast-forward to today, when Warner Bros. Interactive announced it has recruited Turtle Rock to bring the Left 4 Dead flavor back with the not-at-all-coincidentally titled Back 4 Blood.
While an accompanying FAQ makes it clear that this is not Left 4 Dead 3 (an IP that’s owned by Valve, in any case), the announcement notes that the new game will share the same creators, development team, and zombie-shooting flavor of those well-remembered classics. “We get to return to a genre that was born in our studio with over ten years of additional experience and zombie ideas racked up in our brains,” Turtle Rock cofounder and Design Director Chris Ashton said in a statement.
Turtle Rock still isn’t ready to discuss what form those “new ideas” will take or how precisely the studio will make use of new “state-of-the-art technology,” but it did provide a few broad strokes. Back 4 Blood will be a premium (read: not free-to-play) game with campaign and PVP modes, but without a flavor-of-the-moment battle-royale mode (we’re looking at you, Black Ops). No release date window has been announced, but the team is targeting PC, PS4, and Xbox One versions.
The team couldn’t commit to whether microtransactions would be in the final game but said it wasn’t a focus of the development right now and promised “if we do have paid post-launch content, like microtransactions, we want to do something that the community feels good about.”
Since Left 4 Dead, Turtle Rock has spent most of its time on the ambitious, asymmetric four-on-one shooter Evolve. After its 2015 launch, that game faced middling reviews, disappointing sales, and quickly declining player numbers. Publisher 2K tried pivoting to a free-to-play model in 2016, but cut off continuing development by cancelling its contract with Turtle Rock just months later. Evolve‘s dedicated servers were officially shut down last September, though the game can still be played over peer-to-peer connections.
Turtle Rock has also been experimenting with a number of VR projects in recent years. But the studio’s previously announced partnership with Chinese MMO maker Perfect World Entertainment has now been cancelled, with Turtle Rock simply saying “both parties decided to move on.”
- L4D’s original creators are making a co-op zombie shooter, but it’s not Left 4 Dead 3
- Turtle Rocks Studios and WB Games Announce New Back4 Blood Shooter
- Dying Light Left 4 Dead 2 Crossover In The Works?
- Left 4 Dead 3 may be back in development, according to new leak
- This Left 4 Dead 3 trailer is very cool, but almost certainly fake