Back 4 Blood has undoubtedly been marketed somewhat as a spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, but that certainly doesn’t mean the former is a carbon copy.
Besides the obvious leap in visual fidelity and mechanical depth, Turtle Rock Studios is not only delivering a more diverse cast of playable monsters but an all-new way to play in the form of Swarm. While this aptly-named multiplayer mode shares a great deal of DNA with so-called campaign versus playlists found in Valve’s series, though, a distinct difference (and the now-confirmed lack of any direct alternative) has left fans disappointed.
For those not aware, Swarm is a 4v4 affair that pits a team of survivors against Ridden. These special variants all boast their own abilities intended for specific purposes (crowd control, area denial, etc.), with both sides tasked with eliminating the other in a standalone arena.
By contrast, campaign versus adopted the exact same format as co-op story chapters, only replacing AI-controlled Special Infected with player-controlled creatures instead. Due to their obvious similarities, then, the assumption has always (wrongly) been that Back 4 Blood would have something similar, though Turtle Rock co-founder Chris Ashton has since confirmed that not to be the case.
As revealed by user RadiumPwd over on Reddit, Ashton outright confirmed that no competitive campaign option would be available, citing how gameplay design decisions were much better suited to an ambush/defensive format rather than running from safe house to safe house. Whether this revelation will have any effect on longevity remains to be seen, but judging by responses to the news on Reddit, this is a deal-breaker for many.
Back 4 Blood releases October 12th for Xbox One, Series X|S, PS4, PS5 and PC. See here for a breakdown of how to access this week’s open beta.