Having firmly established itself as one of the premier developers in the industry with games like Prey, Dishonored, and its follow ups, any time a new Arkane game is around the corner, it’s hard not to sit up and take a notice. The studio’s next game, Redfall, is fast approach its launch, and even though it’s looking to diverge from the path that Arkane has followed in the past a little bit, it’s still very much looking like a game that’s going to be worth diving into, and one that, alongside every new thing it’s trying, is going to continue to do the sort of things that Arkane has built its reputation on over the years. Ahead of its release on May 2, here, we’re going to take a look at some key details that you should know about the game.
Arkane’s games have taken us to some pretty fantastical locations in the past, from the plague-ridden city of Dunwall in Dishonored to the eerily isolated space station of Talos I in Prey, but with Redfall, the developer is going to take some of those sensibilities and that weirdness and blend them with a nice dose of groundedness. The shooter is set in the titular town of Redfall, which is situated on an island off the coast of Massachusetts, and you can expect it to be brimming with all the details of a small, quaint American town- corner stores, baseball fields, peaceful neighbourhoods… or, well, they used to be peaceful, once. Not so much anymore now.
The town of Redfall has seen better days. Once quaint and peaceful, it now faces a terrifying threat in the form of a plague of literal vampires that have taken over the town and now rule it with an iron grip- and they’ve done more than just that. For starters, they’ve blocked out the sun, with the town now looming in the oppressive shadow of a constant eclipse, so that even when it’s daytime, it’s not very bright out- which makes sense. They’re vampires, after all. In addition to that, the vampires have also pushed back the sea off the coast of Redfall, which means the town is now completely isolated from the rest of the world- no one comes in, no one goes out.
Where these vampires came from is clearly going to be one of Redfall’s biggest mysteries, but Arkane has said that it’s not leaning into supernatural explanations all that much. Redfall’s vampires are, instead, more sci-fi vampires. Think experiments gone wrong- likely down to a company called Aevum Laboratories, which was researching a “miracle cure” based on blood from a special test subject, which then led to the elite classes of the town infecting themselves with that cure. Meanwhile, the kind of expert environmental storytelling and lore that Arkane’s games have become known for over the years is also going to be present and accounted for here, according to the developer.
Full cross-platform multiplayer is also confirmed, so players on Xbox Series X/S, PC Game Pass, Steam, and Epic Games Store will all be able to play together.
This right here is probably one of the biggest and most obvious changes Redfall is making to Arkane’s tried and tested formula. Unlike the likes of Dishonored, Prey, and Deathloop, Redfall is going to be a completely open world game, making it a first for the studio in its history. Naturally, then, it’s also going to be the largest world the studio has ever built, and according to the developers, it’s going to easily outsize Prey’s Talon I, which previously held that crown. Players can also expect plenty of environmental diversity- there will be all sorts of neighbourhoods and areas that you’d expect to see in a small American town, but there’s definitely going to be a very spooky vibe to all of it, given all the vampires crawling about. Meanwhile, you can also look forward to a variety of different landmarks, including dark and eerie forests, a lighthouse that towers over the island on the coast, and more.
Given the fact that Redfall is shifting to an open world approach, it’s also going to be structured a little differently than past Arkane titles. Our goal is going to be to take the town back from the vampires and send them back to the depths of hell, which means we’ll be going through the titular setting neighbourhood by neighbourhood and regaining control of it piece by piece. Plenty of safe houses will be scattered about the open world, where players will meet with NPCs and accept missions and side quests, which will culminate with players squaring off against a powerful vampire that rules over a specific neighbourhood in large-scale showdown battles. The vampires in charge of the town, however, won’t quietly sit back and let you fight back against them to your heart’s content- as you take down more and more of them, especially ones higher in their ranks, they’ll send after you a special enemy variant known as The Rook, a recurring enemy who’ll frequently appear to take you down as you kill more vamps and complete side quests.
Another area where Redfall is going to differ from Arkane’s past games quite a bit is its inclusion of four player co-op. The developer insists that, like its previous games, solo gameplay is still a major point of emphasis, to the extent where they even recommend that players go through the game by themselves first before jumping into it with friends. However, mixing together different characters with unique abilities in a four player party is, as you might expect, is going to bring a very different flavour to the proceedings, and a very different pace to the moment to moment gameplay.
How exactly will co-op function though? Well, for starters, it will be untethered, so even if multiple players are playing together, if one wants to go off in a completely different direction and do their own thing far away, they will have the option to do so. It’s also been confirmed that all four players will be able to play as the same character, since Redfall is putting plenty of emphasis on builds and loadouts, so even two of the same character are likely going to play in very different ways. Sadly, one foible that likely many are going to be annoyed by is the fact that story progression is going to be tied to the host,
While co-op gameplay is going to be emphasized and encouraged, Redfall is still going to have solo play at its heart. Arkane is insisting that the game has been designed as a story driven experience, just as its previous titles have been, and as mentioned earlier, even recommends that players go through it by themselves first. Of course, as you’d expect, the pacing of the experience and the style of gameplay will change if you’re playing by your lonesome. You won’t be accompanied by any AI characters in solo gameplay, and where co-op will take on a more bombastic and action-driven approach, solo gameplay will be slower and much more methodical, allowing you to experiment with solutions and take on challenges in different ways.
Difficulty, too, will be balanced differently. In co-op gameplay, depending on how many players you have in your party, you’ll not only face more enemies, those enemies will also be tougher in various ways, like having more elite traits than usual. When playing solo, on the other hand, while the game will still feature difficulty scaling, it will be scaled exclusively for your experience.
Redfall will focus on a core cast of four different playable characters, each with unique personalities, abilities, and stories- though once you pick one of them to play as, you’ll be locked into that choice and won’t be able to swap to a different character mid-game. Who exactly are these characters though?
There’s Layla Ellison, who used to be a biomedical engineering student before things went south in the town of Redfall. To rid herself of some of the massive student debt she had accrued, she decided to take part in a medical trial at Aevum Therapeutics, which ended up granting her telekinetic superpowers. Then there’s Devinder Crousley, an author and an inventor who used to spend his time traveling the world as a cryptid hunter. Now stranded on the island, he uses his technical expertise to invent anti-vampire weapons.
Jacob Boywer, meanwhile, is a former military man who used to be part of a covert Special Forces unit, before joining a private military company. He was on one of his jobs when he got stranded on the island as well, and now uses his military training, a psychic raven companion, and unique eye to aid him in his fight. Finally, there’s Remi de la Rosa, an engineer and robotics specialist and a member of the Coast Guard. She specializes in remote operated search and rescue tech, which means she has a special robot companion that is a decoy, cover, and attack drone all in one.
WEAPONS AND PROGRESSION
While the choice of which of the four characters you play as will obviously have a huge impact on the sort of gameplay experience you can expect, it seems like just as important and decisive on that front will be what sort of weapons you use, what sort of abilities you take a liking to, and how you choose to build your character. Arkane says that build variety is going to be crucial in Redfall, so even if two players are playing as, say, Layla, how Layla plays for both of them could be completely different. Weapons like sniper rifles and shotguns will, of course, be available, but you’ll also have more specialized weapons like Stake Launchers and UV Beams to take on the game’s more supernatural threats. All of this will, of course, work in conjunction with using special abilities, so combat isn’t going to be what you’d expect to see in a run of the mill shooter. Meanwhile, players will be able to upgrade and customize their weapons, find new and more powerful loot, power up different skills and abilities, and more.
IMMERSIVE SIM MECHANICS
From open world design to co-op gameplay, Redfall is doing plenty of things that are going to set it apart from what Arkane has done with its games in the past, but the studio insists that the game will still deliver the sort of emergent player-driven gameplay experience that its previous titles have been known for. Players will have the option to tackle missions and obstacles in a variety of different ways, from going in all guns blazing to taking a more stealthy and measured approach, while thanks to the many abilities, weapons, and unique character traits featured in the game, there will be plenty of room for creativity as well, for those who want to think outside the box and tackle things in ways that may not be instantly apparent. Of course, how emphasized these immersive sim elements will be remains to be seen – we don’t know if Redfall is going to put player expression front and centre the way something like Prey did, for instance – but time and again, Arkane has insisted that for all of its differences, the game is still designed around the core tenets the studio has built its reputation around over the years.
Arkane games have always been known for getting really weird and trippy from time to time, and that’s very much going to be the case with Redfall as well. A lot of the game will see players going into fairly ordinary locations and buildings as part of their missions and side missions, from movie theaters and breweries to lighthouses and what have you, but some unique missions will see you traveling into psychedelic locations where the vampires rule all. Known as Nests, these are scattered all throughout the map and will feature plenty of randomization, which, in turn, means they have been designed as replayable challenges. When you enter a Nest, your goal will be to travel into its depths, find its heart, and destroy it, all while fighting off hordes of vampires, of course. Once the heart is destroyed, you’ll have a short window to collect your loot and escape before the entire Nest collapses.
As you go through the town of Redfall, you’ll be squaring off against a variety of different enemies, from mercenaries to human enemies who’ve completely devoted themselves to their vampire overlords. The stars of the show, however, are obviously going to be the vampires themselves, and these will come in many different shapes and sizes as well. Some of the ones that have been shown and detailed so far are Watchers, anti-stealth enemies who shoot light beams from their eyes and alert their companions if they spot an enemy; Anglers, who are pale, fast-moving foes that can shoot beams of energy at you to deal deadly damage; Shrouds, who can blanket an entire area in darkness to blind you; and more, including some specialized and elite vampires who’ll be at the very top of the food chain (presumably like the Rook, who we spoke about earlier). Enemy variety is clearly going to be at the forefront of the experience in Redfall, with each different type having specialized strengths and weaknesses that will require players to take them on in different ways.
This is one particular piece of information about the game that hasn’t gone down well with a lot of people, predictably enough. Arkane has confirmed that Redfall is going to require a persistent internet connection if you want to play it. For a co-op game, that’s not exactly a surprise. The catch, however, is that even for those who play the game completely solo, it will still be an always online experience, which is something that’s always nothing short of a bummer. Arkane has, to its credit, said that it’s already working on a fix for this, so that at least solo players can play the game offline if they want to, but it remains to be seen how long after launch this fix will arrive.
It’s also been confirmed that Redfall isn’t going to have an in-game store, or any microtransactions whatosever. There will be plenty of cosmetic customization options for players to fiddle around with, but any and all cosmetics you see in the game (barring those that are exclusively tied to the Deluxe Edition) will all be earned and unlocked through gameplay.
Redfall is also going to be Arkane’s most supported game post-launch. What exactly will that entail? The developer hasn’t provided a roadmap or any concrete details on what the game’s post-launch content will look like or how it will be doled out, but we do know that we can look forward to new playable characters, weapons, costumes, enemies, and more. This will be in addition to more granular gameplay tweaks in response to feedback from players, of course.
What kind of a rig are you going to require if you plan on playing Redfall on PC? While Arkane hasn’t yet revealed what the game’s recommended PC specs are, minimum requirements have been confirmed, and they’re more demanding than some may have expected. You’ll need either an Intel Core i5-8400 at 2.80 GHz or an AMD Ryzen 5 1600, along with either an AMD Radeon RX 580 or a GeForce GTX 1070 with 6 GB VRAM. You’ll also need 16 GB of RAM and a whopping 100 GB of free storage space, while having an SSD is also recommended.
Share Your Thoughts Below (Always follow our comments policy!)