Redfall: As much as you might want Arkane studios to return to the Dishonored series they have shown time and time again that it might be better to keep exploring and discovering the new. Prey and Deathloop are perfect examples of that and Redfall looks just as promising.
Smith himself says about this: We want to stick to Arkane’s core creative values while taking on an open world game. It will still have the rich narrative design that guides every square inch as we always do.
The strong focus on storytelling clearly jumps out in the first images you see of Redfall Massachusetts. The sea around this island has dried up with fishing boats scattered across the dried sand leading to colonial style buildings.
A darkened sun hovers over the city giving a result of a dark magic that is perfect for vampires because they can walk freely through the streets and hunt the living.
Before you begin Redfall you choose a character. Each character has a unique story to tell and approaches killing vampires in a different way. Layla Ellison is a biomedical engineer who voluntarily participated in a trial and awoke with telekinetic powers.
Jacob Boyer is an ex-military, sniper who very much enjoys hunting from the shadows. He can summon a spectral raven.
Remi de la Rosa is a combat engineer and is never alone thanks to her robot Bribon.
Devinder Crousley is a well-known internet personality who has traveled to Redfall to prove that vampires are real. He brings with him Tesla-like weapons that he designed himself.
These characters level up, gain new skills and hunt for better weapons. Like all of Arkane’s games, Redfall offers a single player experience but, in a first for Arkane, it also supports four players to play cooperatively. You and your friends can bring all four characters into the fight up to you the choice of how you want to play.
“Let’s imagine that you and I select Devinder characters, and we get together to play together,” Bare says. “By the time we’re 10 hours into the game, my Devinder is probably different from yours. I’ve spent my skill points on other things and am wearing a firefighter’s costume.”
In addition to completing missions to advance the story, players must take back the city from the vampires. Redfall consists of two huge districts, each housing a variety of neighborhoods, and a player base.
“We deliberately chose community centers,” Smith adds. “The first one is a fire station.”
A special mission allows you to liberate a community, making that area a little safer to navigate. Taking areas also brings ramifications, but Smith and Bare wouldn’t reveal what those are.
In various gameplay snippets through the city’s streets and buildings, you’ll see what all four characters are capable of and how the conflicts in Redfall encourage different approaches, such as sneaking from rooftops or alerting enemies to create a cluster for an electrical blast.
The vampires are not the romantic kind you see in most fiction, but instead products of science. They hover, run quickly in your direction or escape a hailstorm of fire, and use claws to attack you.
In one clip, you see a pink gun interact with a vampire, sparks flying off his body before he explodes in a storm of fire and ash.
In another clip, a character carefully sees a “blood bag” emerge, which is a vampire with giant, pulsating bags of blood on his back. The bags explode, and the smell of blood immediately lures a vampire horde.
The visual design of the characters and environments is similar to Dishonored’s realistic yet subtly cartoony aesthetic. The themes are dark, yet the world is colorful, even at night. All the characters can run, jump, sneak, and climb, but each also has unique traversal powers. Layla can create an old-school lift to reach higher ground. She can also bring a teammate up. Devinder has a translocate power.
Arkane has a knack for turning genres on their heads and delivering innovative experiences. Redfall’s run-and-gun gameplay looks rote at first glance but quickly takes on a different vibe when the characters give us a taste of their wild abilities.
Redfall is no longer hitting in 2022. Arkane is now aiming for the first half of next year. Despite the uncertainty in date, Smith makes it sound like the team is getting close to the finish line. “We’re very clearly past our launch date,” he says with a laugh. “I don’t know what we can say on this, but we’re moving toward content lock. And after that, it’s just months and months of polish.”