One of the bigger surprises of E3 2021, Redfall is a new cooperative shooter from the Austin branch of Arkane—the studio behind games like Dishonored and Prey. It is not, I repeat not The Elder Scrolls 6. Much as Redfall might sound like an Elder Scrolls subtitle, that game isn’t coming out for years. Sorry!
As for what Redfall is, well, that’s an interesting question. The reveal trailer Bethesda showed off makes it look like Left 4 Dead with vampires, but a closer look at the available information reveals an intriguing hybrid of Valve’s cooperative masterpiece and the design ethos that made Arkane such a highly regarded developer.
What is the Redfall release date?
Arkane hasn’t given us an exact day to expect Redfall. But there is a rough launch window: summer 2022, which is specific enough, but growing ever closer now that we're in 2022. That said, given the continuing pandemic and its various side effects, alongside the generally tricky nature of game development, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Redfall slip to later in the year instead.
Here is the Redfall E3 2021 Trailer
Above you can sink your teeth into Redfall’s E3 2021 announcement trailer. It shows the game’s 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.
Is Redfall coming to Xbox Game Pass?
You betcha. Redfall is coming to Game Pass on day one.
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." (Sure sounds a lot like The Lost Boys' Santa Cruz.
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 wilfully schlocky tone). Bethesda has yet to confirm whether Redfall is a tie-in with the classic Simpsons episode "Who shot Mr Burns?"
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:
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.
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 probably how he refers to himself).
Remi de la Rosa
Remi de la Rosa is a combat engineer and a special rescue operative in the US Navy. She’s also a genius, apparently, exemplified by how she’s built herself a robot companion to fight by her side. The robot’s name is Bribón, which translates from Spanish roughly as "rascal." It also sounds like a brand of probiotic. For a healthier gut, drink Bribón!
There’s a little bit of Odin about Jacob. His experiences in Redfall have left him with a strange "Vampiric 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.
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 reveal page, 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. But that’s an educated guess.
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."
As for how solo play will work, that’s not yet clear. Considering the emphasis on working together as a team, one thing that would be cool is if the game let you switch between characters on the fly in solo play, enabling you to deploy their powers for different combinations and effects. That might sound complicated, but it’s not that far removed from Dishonored’s possession mechanic.
At the very least I’d expect the game to let you command AI bots so you can make use of their powers when going it alone.
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.