Warhammer 40K Darktide Adds An Intriguing New Wrinkle To The Left 4 Dead Formula

It was just a few months ago that I wrote about the legacy of Left 4 Dead and its many descendants that have emerged over the years. These “horde shooters,” as I call them, are so numerous that it’s hard to get an accurate headcount, but one of the teams doing the best work in that space has long been Fatshark. First with the two games in the Warhammer Vermintide series, and now with the forthcoming Warhammer 40K spin-off, Darktide, it’s been fun to watch how this team has reimagined and sometimes improved on the core of such games created by Left 4 Dead nearly 15 years ago.

The recent Darktide closed beta was yet another example of how studios making games like Left 4 Dead aren’t content to just rehash the same material, but rather seek to redefine the co-op horde shooter genre. Darktide adds a new wrinkle with its robust character creator that gives purpose and personhood to my monster-maiming anti-hero like few games in the subgenre ever do.

In Darktide, character selection is so much more than choosing a class or a favorite face. You don’t choose a character as much as you create one from the ground up, accounting for their whole life through detailed backstory that feels ripped right out of the Warhammer lore bible. With its history tied to tabletop RPGs, maybe I should’ve seen it coming, but as it’s a facet that even Vermintide didn’t offer, it took me by surprise.

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Author: Mark Delaney