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Opinion Game Dev Back 4 Blood Special Ridden Were "Inspired by Gameplay Needs" with "Inevitable" Left 4 Dead Similarities | No Versus Campaign

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman
Dec 1, 2014
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Speaking to Robb during an interview before the game’s beta began, we asked how Turtle Rock Studios went about designing these Ridden and if conscious efforts were made to avoid copying designs from the Left 4 Dead games. Robb said the team focused more on designing Ridden around what the game needed but agreed that some crossovers were bound to happen.

“I think basically our Ridden are inspired by gameplay needs,” Robb said. “There being some crossover into the abilities that the Left 4 Dead zombies had is somewhat inevitable because we need a guy that can break up a party. We need a guy that can pin characters that are … that can mess with characters who decide to run off on their own. So, a lot of it is dictated by gameplay.”

Continuing, Robb said the developers “took great pains” to give the special Ridden their own unique aspects and mechanics while avoiding “doing straight rip-offs of other zombies.”

Whether it was because of learnings from past games or fluid designs alone, Robb said the team didn’t really run into situations where special Ridden they came up with were completely out of line for Back 4 Blood. In the event an idea for one was too powerful, the team was often able to modify it and make it work instead of scrapping plans.

“We had a pretty clear idea – as clear as you can have – at the beginning of what kinds of mechanics we needed the Ridden to use or what kinds of things we needed,” Robb said. “We didn’t have as many dead ends as we did in past games where we came up with something and were just like ‘This doesn’t work.’”

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Back 4 Blood, the upcoming co-op zombie shooter which is meant to be a spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, has been confirmed not to contain a fan-favorite mode from the Valve-published series. Specifically, that mode happens to be a Versus Campaign, which would allow players to play through the same missions from the main game against other human players. While the lack of this feature has seemingly upset many prospective Back 4 Blood players, though, developer Turtle Rock Studios still has another plan when it comes to PvP.

News regarding the lack of a Versus Campaign in Back 4 Blood was recently shared in the game's Discord server by one of the developers working on the project. When asked whether the game mode would be appearing, the developer in question from Turtle Rock clearly replied, "No." Not long after this news was made clear, those on the Back 4 Blood subreddit began expressing their disappointment at the lack of this beloved feature from Left 4 Dead.

Although a further explanation from Turtle Rock for the lack of a Versus Campaign in Back 4 Blood wasn't mentioned on Discord, in a recent interview with us here at ComicBook.com, the studio did shed some more light on this decision. Plainly, creative director Phil Robb said that the decision not to include a Versus Campaign purely was done to spice things up. "We don’t want to just do the same thing, right?" Robb mentioned of making Back 4 Blood almost too similar to Left 4 Dead. The bigger reason for this omission, however, seems to purely be due to the time it takes to play. "But, two: One of the things about the campaign PvP is that it’s a really big time commitment. I would say that most PvP games out there, you can jump in and have a few matches in 10, 15 minutes. So, it’s not as big of a time commitment," Robb said.

 
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matty3092

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Jun 18, 2019
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Yeah no versus campaign is a major disappointment tbh if it weren't for this game coming to gamepass on day one I wouldn't buy it without a versus campaign
 

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman
Dec 1, 2014
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Enemy design is paramount in a game like Back 4 Blood where you must be able to identify and prepare for special enemy types from a distance. As part of our August IGN First, we talked with Brandon Yanez, lead designer on Back 4 Blood, and Lianne Papp, Executive Producer, in order to find out some developer secrets involving the design of the most fearsome threats in the Ridden scourge: The Tall Boy, the Retch, and the Ogre.
 
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MiguelItUp

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I'm still pretty excited about the game, but it really is weird to me. I mean, these special Ridden don't come across nearly as identifiable or memorable as the special Infected in L4D/L4D2...
 
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Kev Kev

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Oct 25, 2012
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I'm still pretty excited about the game, but it really is weird to me. I mean, these special Ridden don't come across nearly as identifiable or memorable as the special Infected in L4D/L4D2...
Agreed. There was a sound each special would make in L4D that tipped you off, but I didn’t notice it in B4B. Either because the audio mix wasn’t right, the sound they made wasn’t identifiable enough, or because they didn’t make identifiable sound at all.

The variants of each special were hard to identify by appearance as well.

Worst of all, imo, I felt the weak spots weren’t really that weak. I usually wound up taking them down faster just unloading on them. Slowing down to try to hit the weak spot just gave them time to draw closer, and even when I unloaded what felt like I whole clip into that spot, it wasn’t always enough to take them down. I noticed the card for making weak spots more vulnerable to damage, but there are just so many other cards I felt I needed that I never worried about using it.

I have a lot of complaints about the game, biggest of all being the inclusion of iron sights, but there’s not much we can do about that now because it’s too integrated with the core game play. However, I still enjoyed it a lot. It was a long awaited scratch for my L4D itch, and I’ll definitely be purchasing a few months of Ultimate in order to play this upon release. How long it will be able to scratch that itch for, is another question entirely.
 
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MiguelItUp

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Agreed. There was a sound each special would make in L4D that tipped you off, but I didn’t notice it in B4B. Either because the audio mix wasn’t right, the sound they made wasn’t identifiable enough, or because they didn’t make identifiable sound at all.

The variants of each special were hard to identify by appearance as well.

Worst of all, imo, I felt the weak spots weren’t really that weak. I usually wound up taking them down faster just unloading on them. Slowing down to try to hit the weak spot just gave them time to draw closer, and even when I unloaded what felt like I whole clip into that spot, it wasn’t always enough to take them down. I noticed the card for making weak spots more vulnerable to damage, but there are just so many other cards I felt I needed that I never worried about using it.

I have a lot of complaints about the game, biggest of all being the inclusion of iron sights, but there’s not much we can do about that now because it’s too integrated with the core game play. However, I still enjoyed it a lot. It was a long awaited scratch for my L4D itch, and I’ll definitely be purchasing a few months of Ultimate in order to play this upon release. How long it will be able to scratch that itch for, is another question entirely.
Yeah! That was something I almost totally forgot about until watching Gman's impressions. The cues that would give you a heads up, their distinct sounds, etc.

In the end I think the game is getting a ton of excessive negativity thrown at it that it doesn't deserve. However, there are a number of mechanics that just fall flat, or feel lacking. It's really strange. The card system, the guns not really playing special roles, etc. Hell, even comparing small things to L4D 1/2, and somehow they did them better. I feel like, for the amount of time this game has been in development, it should be in a much better position than it's currently in. Much like you, I still enjoyed it, and was looking forward to it as I adored L4D 1/2. I'm just really wondering how it's going to be received, and how it's going to be supported.

This game could do REALLY well, but for whatever reason I feel like the marks it needs to hit in order to have that happen it's completely missing. I'm still genuinely surprised there's no campaign versus. I never expected there to be, but I had hoped it would. But they've come out multiple times saying it wouldn't, unless they're lying and plan on dropping it later. A part of me is wondering how they COULDN'T do that, haha.
 
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bender

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Apr 12, 2010
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The designs are all super lame. Maybe I need to take off my L4D tinted glasses, but that's what I came out of the beta thinking.
 
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bender

Candy Corn Aficionado
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You're not alone. The L4D thing come only from the same dev.

What I saw is a WWZ competidor.

I was mainly taking about the special infected designs but the game did give me WWZ vibes too. It just feels like a weird mishmash of borrowed concepts and the card and economy system over complicate something that should be pick-up and play.
 
Feb 24, 2018
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This thing is very lukewarm. All the beta did was make me want to play L4D. A step backwards in nearly every facet. Almost felt like a new mode of COD Zombies.

This needs to be $29.99 to have a chance.
 
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MiguelItUp

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I enjoyed the Beta but it ultimately drove me toward world war Z which is excellent
This is actually what happened to me, lmao. I've owned WWZ for awhile, but never really gave it a chance. When the beta last weekend wrapped, I thought I'd actually give it a shot, and enjoyed it quite a bit. I'll nab that expansion when it drops.
 

GnomeChimpsky

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Can't believe theyre getting away with calling it Back 4 Blood. Do they have a deal with Valve or something?
 

GnomeChimpsky

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does Valve have a universal copyright on the usage of 4 in the middle of a zombie game?

it's like saying "I can't believe they got away with using Super in the title of this platformer!"

it doesn't work like that
It works exactly like that. It's just a question of how litigious the company holding the copyright is. Companies have been sued for using words like 'sky', 'scrolls' and 'edge' in completely unrelated games so I don't see why this game would be safe.

I assume they have a good relationship with Valve and cleared it with them.
 
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elliot5

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It works exactly like that. It's just a question of how litigious the company holding the copyright is. Companies have been sued for using words like 'sky', 'scrolls' and 'edge' in completely unrelated games so I don't see why this game would be safe.

I assume they have a good relationship with Valve and cleared it with them.
they're free to try and file a lawsuit, but like with "Scrolls" it can end up just being settled because it wasn't a very strong case.

Valve would be free to try and sue. Doesn't mean they would win.
 

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman
Dec 1, 2014
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One of the most unique aspects of Back 4 Blood is the Game Director, the devious AI that dictates what enemies spawn, where they'll attack you from, what items get hidden throughout the world, and so on. To get a grasp on how the director differs from past games, we talked with lead designer Brandon Yanez, and Turtle Rock co-founder Chris Ashton.
 
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Boneless

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Apr 4, 2020
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Sure it's enjoyable and a good way to pass the time but calling this left 4 dead 3 is an absolute insult to left 4 dead.