Back 4 Blood looks a lot like Left 4 Dead, but one of the twists it introduces is characters with their own particular abilities. A new trailer introduces the cast below, along with the menagerie of monster types you and your co-op pals will be blasting.
There's lots I like about what I've seen from Back 4 Blood. For one, Left 4 Dead and its sequel did get samey pretty quickly across multiple playthroughs. The Witch and the Tank, for example, are panic-inducing the first time you meet them, but pretty quickly you're rushing into fights with them with confidence.
Unique character abilities, and the card system that remixes monsters and levels, seem like they'll keep things fresh for a lot longer.
It's only a shame those characters aren't being written by Valve anymore. Back 4 Blood is being made by Turtle Rock Studios, the original development studio that created Left 4 Dead. Valve bought them mid-development, they worked together on both Left 4 Dead games, and then some of the team left Valve to re-form the studio. But what Valve seemed to introduce to L4D was their experience from crafting character and story from the Half-Life series.
Is there a single line of dialogue in the above B4B trailer that's as characterful or interesting as the lines in Left 4 Dead 2? The B4B trailer starts with a record scratch, and that's bad even if it's ironic, and there's a lot of clichés in the writing that follows. Compare it to the character and worldbuilding of Left 4 Dead 2's intro video. It's not an exact like-for-like comparison, but even accounting for different purposes between a trailer and an intro cinematic, they're a world apart.
And yet, I'm still looking forward to a new chance for some co-op zombie slaying. Back 4 Blood is aiming for release on October 12th.