Tencent acquires Back 4 Blood developer Turtle Rock Studios

As zombie shooter's solo offline mode finally arrives.

There's a lot going on in the world of Back 4 Blood developer Turtle Rock today; not only has the studio announced it's been acquired by Chinese conglomerate Tencent, it's also just released the first big post-launch content update for its well-received co-op zombie shooter. The latter brings with it a range of tweaks and additions, the most notable of which is a much-requested solo offline mode with campaign progression.

First the acquisition news; as of today, following Tencent's purchase of Turtle Rock's parent company Slamfire, the studio is now wholly owned by the Chinese conglomerate. According to the announcement, Turtle Rock will continue to operate independently at its Lake Forest, California, offices, with co-founders Phil Robb and Chris Ashton remaining at the helm.

The news does, of course, further solidify Tencent's already significant presence in gaming, with the company - which recently launched publishing division Level Infinite - already outright owning the likes of League of Legends studio Riot Games, Funcom, Splash Damage, Supercell, and Warframe developer Digital Extremes. And that's not including the various publishers and developers it owns smaller stakes in, including Epic Games, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, Paradox Interactive, Remedy Entertainment, Frontier Developments, Dontnod, Bloober Team, Klei, Playtonic, Platinum Games, Roblox Corporation, and more.

Tencent says the acquisition will have no effect on the development of Back 4 Blood, which brings us to the second part of today's Turtle-Rock-related news: the zombie shooter's latest update and the introduction of its long-awaited solo offline mode with campaign progression.

Back 4 Blood Gameplay: Evansburgh Act 1.

On its release in October, Back 4 Blood was heavily criticised after players discovered that, even when playing solo with AI teammates, the game remained strictly always-online. Worse, restrictions to solo mode meant players wishing to go it alone were prevented from earning progress towards Accomplishments, earning Supply Points, and even tracking stats.

In response to complaints, Turtle Rock said it was "discussing ways to address the issue" and, just a month later, confirmed a solution was on the way - and that solution is now available to all players as part of Back 4 Blood's first big post-launch content update, which follows on from a patch in November focused on delivering quality of life improvements and major bug fixes.

The highlight for solo players will undoubtedly be the new offline campaign mode with progression. Here, while working through the game with (newly randomised) AI bots, players will now finally have the ability to earn Supply Points, work towards Accomplishments, and have their stats tracked away from the online mode.

That's not the end of the new additions, however; players can also expect a new card type - Burn Cards - which are available through the new time-limited Roving Merchants Supply Lines. These can be used while in Saferooms to gain temporary effects such as instant healing, currency boosts, and increased resistances.

Elsewhere, players can expect a new Ridden practice area in Fort Hope, improvements to ultrawide support, and new non-Burn Cards - namely, Belt Clip, Utility Belt, and Tool Belts, which, in that order, increase the Quickshot Inventory by 1, increase the Quickshot inventory by 2 but decrease dealt damage by 10%, and increase the Team Quickshot Inventory by 1.

And finally, what December update would be complete without some sort of seasonal celebration? Certainly not this one, which also ushers in the start of Back 4 Blood's own Holiday Event. Expect appropriately festive decorations at Fort Hope and the Firing Range, plus unlockable seasonal character skins, weapon skins, emblems, and sprays.

"We'll continue to improve the Back 4 Blood experience," Turtle Rock concludes in its lengthy patch notes for December's update, "and look forward to your feedback".

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Matt Wales

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Matt Wales is a writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.

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