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Courtesy of Turtle Rock Studios
Courtesy of Turtle Rock Studios

Back 4 Blood is Turtle Rock Studios’ spiritual successor to the Left 4 Dead franchise. After playing the Alpha, all the right notes were touched on. 4 player co-op, badass weaponry, and many mutated zombie hordes to mow down. It’s looking good. I can even forgive the card system they’ve implemented for the sake of getting a game that’s going to be the closest we will ever get to Left 4 Dead 3. However, there’s some concern about their monetization of the game prerelease. We already know the announcement of a Deluxe and Ultimate edition. Both editions include an annual pass, which, let’s face it, is just another name for a season pass. This is a huge red flag for me. The game is already pretty pricey at 59.99, and the deluxe and ultimate editions are even costlier. 

Courtesy of Steam 

The annual pass offers are three DLCS that include New Story, New Characters, and Special Mutated Ridden. So my immediate concern is the player base. Are people who don’t have the annual pass going to play with people who do have the DLC? If new maps are added, then standard edition owners may not be able to play with them. You’re already splitting the player base, and the game hasn’t even dropped if this is the case. This is something that needs to be addressed.   

Courtesy of Steam 

New characters and Special Mutated Ridden are huge flags for the game’s Player Versus Player mode. It’s a potential pay-to-win scenario as we already know certain characters come with their own unique benefits. Many competitive players will seek to play the best possible character as the game continues to release content. The odds of that good character being locked behind DLC are high. It’s an obvious way to boost sales. 

The reason for all this concern is simply because Turtle Rock Studios’ has an unfortunate track record with their last game. Evolve, the asymmetrical monster hunting game was riddled with DLCs, microtransactions, and gross pay to win tactics that ruined its longevity. We could say that this was at the behest of 2K studios, a company known for its exploitative microtransactions. The publisher for Back 4 Blood is Warner Bros Games, whose own history of exploitation like adding, then removing loot boxes to the single-player game, Shadows of Mordor

After the tragedy of Cyberpunk 2077, you would figure gamers would be wary of preordering a game. With Back 4 Blood announcing a delay and the open beta coming out this summer, there’s time to get a hands-on look at the game again and decide whether it’s worth the standard price tag. However, you gotta give the community something more. A roadmap and an explanation of the game’s future content would be enough to quell these fears. If the community is at risk of being separated by paywalls, consider me backing out of Back 4 Blood. 

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