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Redfall: Everything we know about Arkane’s co-op vampire shooter

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Redfall, which made a surprise debut at E3 2021, is a new cooperative shooter from the Austin branch of Arkane—the studio that created Dishonored and Prey. In Redfall, you and up to three friends will face the full horror of a small New England town. Oh, and there are vampires, too.

The gameplay we’ve gotten from Bethesda makes an easy pitch: Left 4 Dead-esque co-op vampire shooting, in an open world, with RPG elements, guns to loot, and gameplay improv opportunities in typical Arkane fashion? Yes. Yes, very much.Here’s everything we know about Redfall.

Redfall release date

When is the Redfall release date?

Redfall’s release date is May 2, 2023. During their first games showcase of the year, Bethesda and Xbox surprised us with a not-too-distant release date for our vacation to Redfall island.

It was originally planned for summer 2022, but was pushed back in May 2022. Bethesda announced the delay in May 2022, saying that “The teams at Arkane Austin (Redfall) and Bethesda Game Studios (Starfield) have incredible ambitions for their games, and we want to ensure that you receive the best, most polished versions of them.”

Redfall trailers

Here’s the latest Redfall story trailer

In this Redfall story trailer from March 2023, we’re starting to get an idea of how this sleepy New England island became a premier Dracula destination. As the trailer sweeps through shots of Redfall’s open world areas, we’re told how how Aevum Therapeutics, a sinister medical corporation—which ones aren’t?—is to blame for the vampiric woes. Things went the way they usually do: shadowy company offers mysterious treatments, people start disappearing, cults begin to crop up that worship dark and terrible patrons in pursuit of achieving an unholy majesty. Happens all the time.

Are there other Redfall trailers?

The Redfall gameplay deep dive from January 2023 gives us an overview of the sorts of anti-vampire efforts we’ll be undertaking while exploring Redfall’s open world. Survivors at safe havens will offer story missions, while side activities will emerge as you explore—cultists might take over a local brewery, or a randomized “psychic space” will emerge for you to clear a vampire nest on the astral plane. We also get a look at Redfall’s progression, loot, and cosmetics. Another gameplay trailer from IGN Fan Fest 2023 gives an abridged look of similar gameplay.

This past October we got another sneak peek into the world of Redfall with the Official “Into the Night” trailer. This spooky trailer really plays up the horror elements of this co-op shooter, and is filled with a LOT of blood.

This 2022 gameplay trailer from the Xbox & Bethesda showcase gives us our first look at Redfall’s vampire-slaying co-op gameplay, and a lot of it. It looks like Redfall will play with a real Left 4 Dead rhythm, with some added complexity in character abilities and skill trees. Characters deploy active camouflage or deploy electric javelins and traps, all while exchanging some delightfully quippy chatter.

In 2021, we sank our teeth into the Redfall announcement trailer. It shows 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.

Redfall story and characters

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.”

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 willfully 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:

Layla Ellison

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.

Devinder Crousley

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 surely how he refers to himself).

Remi de la Rosa

Remi de la Rosa is a robotics engineer and a special rescue operative from the US Coast Guard. She’s also a genius, apparently, exemplified by how she’s built herself an autonomous robot companion to fight by her side. The robot’s name is Bribón, which translates from Spanish roughly as “rascal.” It is also adorable.

Jacob Boyer

There’s a little bit of Odin about Jacob. His experiences in Redfall have left him with a strange “Undead 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.

Redfall gameplay

Our Redfall preview didn’t have our blood pumping

As you’ll read in our hands-on Redfall preview, we’re left with some reservations after a 90-minute demo session. Combat against Redfall’s vampires and cultists didn’t yet have enough punch to satisfy as a solo player, and its open world felt a little too empty to showcase Arkane’s talents. We’ll see in May whether the full game flourishes with some co-op companions in the mix.

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 says that Redfall is carrying forward that 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.

Is Redfall an open world game? How will it play?

On Redfall’s website, 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.”

In the 2023 gameplay deep dive above, we get a good sense of Redfall’s gameplay rhythm. You’ll pick up story missions from survivors in safe havens around town, sending you out to do things like restore the lighthouse that vampires have knocked out of commission. While out and about in the open world, side mission opportunities will emerge, like breweries suffering from a vampire cultist takeover.

You’ll also find “psychic spaces,” which seem like little pocket astral planes for randomized encounters where you have to clear a vampire nest: go in, destroy a giant, beating heart while fighting waves of vampires, and escape while the psychic space collapses.

As you explore, you’ll be able to take back sections of Redfall through activities like reclaiming safe houses, eventually fighting a regional vampire Underboss. Slaying them gets you their skull; collect enough of those, and you can use them to open doorways to fights against the Vampire Gods themselves.

Worth noting: any vampire-killing you do has a risk of pissing off the Vampire Gods badly enough that they send The Rook, a burly super-vampire, to hunt you down.

While an open world game is a new frontier for Arkane, the studio is making an effort to their own creative ethos. Speaking with IGN, Redfall’s production designer Steve Horne said Arkane “wanted to maintain the things about Arkane’s DNA that we love, things about our games in the past that we really appreciate: environmental storytelling, strong kind of narrative through-put in the world so the world feels lived-in, feels worth saving.” As an example of how to achieve that, Horne described how the game’s playspaces will have thousands of lines text in discoverable documents left throughout the game.

Does Redfall have loot? Cosmetics?

It does. You’ll be able to loot all kinds of vampire-killing gear, from military firearms in all varieties of rifles, shotguns, and sidearms, to improvised anti-dracula gadgets for the modern Van Helsing. Based on what we see in gameplay videos, those weapons will have randomized attributes influenced by their rarity. A shotgun found in one trailer had a Destiny-esque gear rating, as well as its own rate of fire, reload speed, pellet count, and more.

It seems like there are plenty of visual options to choose from for your weapons, too. You can select a skin for the gun itself, and you can find stake skins while exploring in the open world.

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.”

A blog post on the Redfall website from 2022 describes that solo play will be fully solo, meaning no AI teammates. That won’t render you helpless against special vampire enemy varieties, though. In the blog post, Arkane studio director Harvey Smith describes solo play as having a more deliberate pace, saying that it “becomes more exploratory; you can use recon and stealth to gather info on encounters and avoid enemies or get the drop on them.”

Redfall will require an internet connection

Apologies to offline singleplayer purists: Redfall is joining the long list of always-online games that’ll require an internet connection, even if you’re playing alone. As Bethesda’s Redfall FAQ states: “a persistent online connection is required for single player and co-op.” Presumably it’s for inventory tracking and the like, but it’s obviously a continuing frustration for those having to contend with rural internet service or metered connections.

However, that might change in the future: speaking to Eurogamer, director Harvey Smith responded to criticism of Redfall’s online requirements by saying “we are looking into—I’m not supposed to promise anything—but we’re looking into and working actively toward fixing that in the future.” While it’s short of an official commitment, there’s hope for eventual offline play support.

Is Redfall coming to Xbox Game Pass?

You betcha. Redfall is coming to Game Pass on day one.

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