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Redfall: Everything we know about Arkane’s co-op vampire shooter

Redfall - Four characters walk down a destroyed city street carrying weapons with a small robot companion.
(Image credit: Arkane)

Redfall, which made a surprise debut at E3 2021, is a new cooperative shooter from the Austin branch of Arkane—the studio that created Dishonored and Prey. It is definitely not The Elder Scrolls 6 (opens in new tab). No matter how much Redfall sounds like an Elder Scrolls subtitle, we're still ages away from the new Elder Scrolls. Sorry.

We're gradually piecing together a picture of what Redfall will play like: The gameplay trailer we've gotten from Bethesda portrays it as open world Left 4 Dead with vampires, and the info we have so far paints the image of a hybrid of Valve’s co-op classic and Arkane's past games.

Redfall release date

When does Redfall come out?

Redfall launches in the first half of 2023. At least that's what we've been told to expect. It was originally planned for summer 2022, but was pushed back in May 2022.

Bethesda announced the delay in May 2022, saying that "The teams at Arkane Austin (Redfall) and Bethesda Game Studios (Starfield) have incredible ambitions for their games, and we want to ensure that you receive the best, most polished versions of them."

Redfall trailers

Here's the latest Redfall trailer from June 2022

This trailer from the 2022 Xbox & Bethesda showcase gives us our first look at Redfall's vampire-slaying co-op gameplay, and a lot of it. It looks like Redfall will play with a real Left 4 Dead rhythm, with some added complexity in character abilities and skill trees. Characters deploy active camouflage or deploy electric javelins and traps, all while exchanging some delightfully quippy chatter.

There appears to be an element of loot collection, based on a shot of a player's inventory with weapons sorted by rarity color. It looks like there could be some weapon customization as well—specifically, in the form of a stake bayonet mounted on the demo player's shotgun.

Are there other Redfall trailers?

In 2021, we sank our teeth into the Redfall announcement trailer. It shows four playable characters hanging around an abandoned convenience store, before flashing back to an intense battle the group experienced on the same street. Using guns and various powers and abilities they fight a group of masked humans, followed by an encounter with Redfall’s primary adversaries: a swarm of powerful vampires.

Redfall story and characters

What is the story of Redfall?

While the specifics of Redfall’s story are unknown, Bethesda has sketched out the basic plot. According to a reveal page for the game, Redfall is an island town that "used to be known for its quaint streets, breezy boardwalks and charming neighbourhoods. Then the vampires moved in and ruined everything."

Redfall’s vampires are not typical undead bloodsuckers. Instead, they’re the product of a scientific experiment gone wrong. I assume that experiment wasn’t "Can we make vampires?" because that would be astonishingly stupid. The page also mentions that these vampires have managed to "eclipse the sun," which gives us some insight into their power (and Redfall’s willfully schlocky tone). Bethesda has yet to confirm whether Redfall is a tie-in with the classic Simpsons episode "Who shot Mr. Burns?"

(Image credit: Arkane Austin)

Who do you play as in Redfall?

Redfall lets you play as one of four characters, each with a different backstory and particular set of skills. Here’s a quick rundown of the motley crew:

Layla Ellison

With a degree in biomedical engineering from Redfall Technical University, Layla worked at a local research organisation named Aevum Theraputics before the vampire attack. Her last memory prior to the takeover is of some terrible occurrence at the facility, before she woke up with powerful (and extremely purple) telekinetic abilities. In short, Layla is the mage of the group, able to push and pull objects in the world.

Devinder Crousley

Dev is a professional influencer specialising in cryptozoology and investigating the paranormal. He ventured into Redfall specifically to document the events happening there, and probably to sell branded trainers to his audience in the process. But he isn’t there exclusively to take selfies and flog crummy merch, he’s also an inventor, fighting with weapons of his own creation. This likely means there’ll be some kind of crafting or weapon-modding element to Redfall, centering around the Devmeister (which is surely how he refers to himself).

Remi de la Rosa

Remi de la Rosa is a robotics engineer and a special rescue operative from the US Coast Guard. She’s also a genius, apparently, exemplified by how she’s built herself an autonomous robot companion to fight by her side. The robot’s name is Bribón, which translates from Spanish roughly as "rascal." It is also adorable.

Jacob Boyer

There’s a little bit of Odin about Jacob. His experiences in Redfall have left him with a strange "Undead Eye" (might want to get some eyedrops for that), as well as a spectral raven companion who helps him out in battle (less certain eyedrops will help here). As you can probably guess, Jacob is the sharpshooter of the group, able to pop vampire heads better than anyone else in the team.

Redfall gameplay

Is Redfall just Left 4 Dead with vampires?

Redfall certainly has a lot in common with Left 4 Dead. Cooperative play, intense action, an undead foe.

There are also more specific features Redfall shares with Valve’s shooter. For example, there are multiple types of vampire that attempt to hinder your group’s progress in different ways. One example seen in the trailer is the Angler, which according to the reveal page "uses a psychic harpoon to drag you away from your team." In other words, it’s a handsomer version of Left 4 Dead’s Smoker.

But there are some crucial differences, chief among which is Arkane’s immersive sim heritage. In an interview with Gamespot’s Tamoor Hussain, Bethesda’s Pete Hines cites an example from Dishonored where the player can use the "possession" ability to break their fall by possessing a fish before they hit the ground: "That’s not a gameplay intended feature, that was a tester, who figured out the systems in the game allowed them to do it."

Hines says that Redfall is "very similar" to this in terms of design ethos, ensuring that powers and abilities are consistent and logical in terms of how they can be used in the world. There’s an example of this in the trailer, where Layla uses her telekinetic abilities to lift Jacob onto a rooftop, giving him a better sniping position. These are the kinds of ability combinations and extrapolated systems that Arkane is known for, and it appears Redfall will continue to support them.

One other point worth mentioning is that, according to Bethesda’s announcement page, your vampire enemies are "continuing to evolve." What this means for the game is not specified. But it could mean that enemies become more powerful and adapt to your combat style as the game progresses.

Is Redfall an open world game?

On Redfall’s website, Bethesda explicitly states the game is a "co-op, open world first-person shooter." That’s not all, either. In his interview with Gamespot, Hines states that the town will have a dynamic element to it. "Every time you play it, you’re getting something different," he says. "The world is changing from the last time you played it, in ways that are meaningful from a gameplay standpoint."

It’s possible the evolving vampires tie into this, with more challenging and resistant variants prowling areas you’ve explored before, like Metal Gear Solid 5’s adaptive guards. Or, taking a page from Left 4 Dead, there could be an AI Director-like system in play that's dynamically altering enemy encounters. But these are educated guesses.

Can Redfall be played solo?

Yes. In his interview with Gamespot, Pete Hines stated that "You can play [Redfall] essentially singleplayer, solo it, and play it by yourself. Or you can play it with other folks."

A blog post on the Redfall website from 2022 describes that solo play will be fully solo, meaning no AI teammates. That won't render you helpless against special vampire enemy varieties, though. In the blog post, Arkane studio director Harvey Smith describes solo play as having a more deliberate pace, saying that it "becomes more exploratory; you can use recon and stealth to gather info on encounters and avoid enemies or get the drop on them."

Is Redfall coming to Xbox Game Pass?

You betcha. Redfall is coming to Game Pass on day one.

Are you sure Redfall isn’t The Elder Scrolls 6?

Look, if you need an Elder Scrolls fix that badly, try Enderal: Forgotten Stories. For all intents and purposes it’s a new Elder Scrolls game, and it’s completely free. Now stop asking.

(Image credit: Bethesda, modded by SureAI)