Back 4 Blood Creative Director on More Studios Making Asymmetric Games: "Two Heads Are Better Than One"
Back 4 Blood from Turtle Rock Studios is about as asymmetric as asymmetric games come in regards to the game's PvP mode, but this is far from the first time the developer has tackled a game of this kind. The Left 4 Dead games and Evolve featured different multiplayer setups, but they both saw teams of human characters facing off against player-controlled creatures with profoundly different powers compared to the humans. Asymmetric games have only become more popular since then to give Turtle Rock competition in that area, but on the subject of more developers taking on the genre, Back 4 Blood creative director Phil Robb says "two heads are better than one."
Friday the 13th: The Game, Predator: Hunting Grounds, and, most notably, Dead by Daylight are just a couple of asymmetric games that have released between the time of Turtle Rock's past works and the upcoming Back 4 Blood. These games can be difficult to balance seeing how whatever teams they consist of are imbalanced by design, but that's a challenge Robb said Turtle Rock is well-versed in by now.
"From a game design standpoint, it's a challenging problem to solve," Robb said in an interview with ComicBook.com. "We've been working on it and all of its ups and downs for quite a while now. We're always sort of looking for the perfect formula there."
Others are looking for that formula, too. Modern asymmetric games often pit a group of human characters – typically four or so – against one superpowered entity. Back 4 Blood, however, sticks to teams of even numbers. Robb said he's not going to be the guy who says that their take on the genre is superior to the way others approach it, but he said it's great to see others tracking to crack the code.
"I think it's great, actually, to see other studios trying to tackle the problem, 'cause two heads is better than one, three heads is better than two," Robb said. "Eventually, somebody's gonna figure it out in a really good way. And that's basically what we're trying to do. We're trying to find a way to tackle this problem that gives players … it gives players a broader experience."
On the topic of the appeal of asymmetric games, Robb compared games like these to "a military shooter du jour." He said in games like those, it doesn't particularly matter which team you're on aside from slight differences like weapon choices. The experience is largely the same either way, but he said that's not the case with Back 4 Blood and others in the same genre.
"In an asymmetric game, I can have this kind of game experience on this side, and when that starts to get a little old, or just to … I can go over to this side and have a completely different game experience," Robb said. "There's something cool about the breadth. There's sort of an expanded experience, or expanded experiences for players to have in one single title."
While most asymmetric games allow players to choose which side they want to play as, Back 4 Blood's PvP experience called "Swarm" forces players to experience both roles through a round-swapping setup. With this being the only PvP experience in Back 4 Blood, players will become well acquainted with playing both sides. Robb also spoke during our interview about Turtle Rock's decision to focus on Swarm instead of a campaign-based PvP mode.0comments