The trailblazing Left 4 Dead and its 2009 sequel redefined cooperative shooters, carving out a new path in the genre that later paved the way for countless co-op-centric experiences. Despite their best efforts, though, no development team could recapture the unique thrill of zombie killing in the Valve-owned franchise; as such, the company’s decision to cease regular support on Left 4 Dead 2 marked the end of an era. A much-coveted Left 4 Dead 3 wouldn’t reinvigorate things either, leaving other studios with the task of carrying the torch. But the likes of Killing Floor 2 and World War Z, while admirable in their own right, arguably paled in comparison to that which came before. With the industry still itching for a comparable zombie experience, Left 4 Dead’s original creators took it upon themselves to revisit the genre through the lens of a new IP—Back 4 Blood.
Billed as Left 4 Dead’s spiritual successor, Back 4 Blood followed the same basic structure—pitting up to four playable heroes against zombie hordes in campaign and competitive modes. However, developer Turtle Rock Studios switched gears in some respects, crafting more capable protagonists, introducing card-based progression, and updating the classic L4D formula with modern systems.
The anticipation ahead of Back 4 Blood’s debut suggested the beloved zombie series had truly returned via another name, yet the former’s October 2021 release left much to be desired. Content-related shortcomings and a handful of technical woes plagued Turtle Rock’s new property during its first few months on the market, resulting in a rapidly declining user base that never returned to full strength.
This is the tragedy of Back 4 Blood.
The Tragedy of Back 4 Blood 3:42