Redfall kicked off the Xbox and Bethesda Games E3 2022 showcase with a bang. The first Redfall gameplay opened with an abandoned church. Signs of a struggle. Blood spatter on the walls. A narrow attic space. And then, boom, a vampire ambush. One, then two, then three. Jump attacks with swiping claws follow, then ghastly moans and gunfire and frantic reload animations and running. Lots and lots of running. This place, the eponymous Redfall, an island town off the coast of Massachusetts, New England, is, in a word, screwed. Overrun with scores of angry neck-biters who’ve blocked out the sun, in turn drying out the water that once tied the archipelago to the mainland, Redfall is clearly far from the holiday resort it once was. And, as portrayed in several minutes of open world co-op gameplay footage, it all looks wonderful. 

Not just because of its stunning visuals and frenzied shootouts, but because the DNA that underpins Redfall appears smartly woven into everything it does. Developer Arkane Austin is the studio responsible for the acclaimed immersive sims Prey and Dishonored, two games which, while set in contained environments, offer players choice at every turn – and it seems the same applies here on an even grander scale. In the wake of Redfall’s latest gameplay footage, game director Harvey Smith said he hoped the trailer “put all the Left 4 Dead comparisons to rest”. For me, it didn’t. But that’s also irrelevant. Because the most important comparison here isn’t with Valve’s dormant horror series, but with Arkane’s own unique approach to immersive shooters.

Choices and co-op