Arkane Austin revealed the first gameplay trailer for the absolutely charming Redfall at the 2022 Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase earlier today. To the delight of many — including myself — the trailer was led by Layla Ellison, one of your four main playable characters. More specifically, she’s “the telekinetic threat in student debt.” The playable character was given a bit more front-and-center preference in the game’s reveal last year — and has remained front-and-center of the game in some scattered marketing material — I love to have this confirmation that Layla is the real star of Redfall.
Arkane could have easily focused on someone like Jacob — a brooding and mysterious character who embodies Redfall‘s air of supernatural suspense. Even if he’s seemingly dry compared to the others. All he said was, “kiss your ass goodbye” and “feeling’s mutual, I guess” after Layla treated him warmly in the trailer. It’s hard for me to imagine, but that stoic personality is something a fair number of video game consumers still prefer in 2022. I’m thinking about how there are people who let Ubisoft think Watch Dog‘s Aiden Pearce was ever anything but the worst protagonist known to man.
But I love Layla’s personality: how she reacts with sarcasm, wit, and shock to the world around her. I love how she panics upon seeing those gangly vampires. I love that she constantly yells expletives. It all adds a real human touch and brand of humor to Redfall that should clearly differentiate it from other stories in the tried-and-true vampire genre. She has some extremely unorthodox gameplay mechanics, too, such as a magical elevator that shoots up anyone who steps into it for some welcome flair in their shooting (or to help them reach higher vantage points). She also has a telekinetic umbrella that seems to absorb enemy attacks.
Also, hey! You just generally love to see a video game from a major studio center a Black woman in its promotional material. Arkane has really made her the face of their upcoming live game so far. It doesn’t happen anywhere as much as it should. Centering women in a video game’s marketing seems like a “risk” more companies are slowly increasingly willing to take, but it’s one they’re largely only okay with taking for white women. I, for one, am glad that neither of the women in Redfall (so far) are white. While I’m already captivated by Layla, I’m curious about my good hermana Remi and her adorable pet robot.
Redfall is primed to come out during a time in which vampires might be more popular than ever in video games. They’re having a bit of a moment right now, in case you missed it. Games like Vampire Survivors, V Rising, and several Vampire: The Masquerade titles (like the battle royale Blood Hunt and the narrative RPG Swansong) are either doing well or at least going viral. Among the various kinds of ways in which vampires are currently returning to the limelight, Redfall represents the classic trope of pitting vampires as antagonists. But it’s more than that. Redfall‘s vampires are as fantastical as they are man-made.
Redfall has a group of humans — Layla, Remi, Devinder, and Jacob — take on a vampire army in a Massachusetts island town that’s been cut off from the rest of the world. Here, vampires are undeniably monstrous but equally modern, as they’ve been created through a scientific experiment gone wrong. It’s an interesting twist on a genre that’s so familiar to fictional storytelling, and I’m excited to see more of this open-world co-op shooter.
That won’t be in 2022, however, as Arkane announced earlier this year that Redfall has been delayed into 2023. As was mentioned in the post, the deep dive into its gameplay has arrived (and so has Starfield‘s during this show). We’ll surely be hearing more of Redfall as we approach 2023, and we’ll be covering it the whole way.
Xbox and Bethesda Showcase 2022 is part of Fanbyte’s Hot Game Summer coverage, where we’re bringing you recaps and commentary on this summer’s game presentations like Xbox’s showcase, the PC Gaming Show, and the all-encompassing Summer Game Fest hosted by Geoff Keighley. If you’re interested in seeing all of Fanbyte’s coverage, check out our Hot Game Summer 2022 hub.