Redfall Director Calls the 1% Vampires, and They Aren’t Wrong

Something deeper lurks under the surface.

In a recent hands-on preview, the creators of the upcoming open-world FPS, Redfall, explained some of the metaphors core to the game’s story and revealed its interesting inspiration. 

Redfall is an upcoming open-world FPS where players take on legions of undead vampires. Developed by Arkane Studios, the same development company that brought us iconic games like DishonoredPrey, and Deathloop, the game’s Creative Director, Harvey Smith, recently shed some light on the inspiration for this unique vampire game. 

According to Smith, 

“We’ve just been through a period of time where a tiny percentage of people are making record, historic profits, even while rivers are drying up. California is burning and flooding, and there are places in small towns across the U.S. where you can’t drink the water anymore. And it’s like, when would this tiny percentage of people that own private jets and islands stop? Because clearly, they’re drinking the lifeblood of a mass of people, right?”

Smith goes on to elaborate, 

“Like, we like to say that the people who are vampires in our game were already vampires. There’s definitely a strong subtext here, with an elite preying on everyone else. Technology generates massive amounts of money, robbing from other media. The people that own the Internet backbone and the streaming services make massive money. Musicians struggle, while the people that run the infrastructure for it, like the apps and such, make bank.”

These concepts touch on two hot-button issues facing people worldwide. One involves a shrinking middle class and growing wealth inequality, while the other is a commentary on the exploitation of creators and artists by publishers and labels. Pretty lofty social topics for a game about killing hordes of vampires, one would think.

In Redfall, the Rich Opt Into Becoming Vampires

In Redfall, unlike many other media genres that have covered vampires over the last 100 years, people opt to become vampires rather than desperately trying to escape them. In fact, only the wealthy can actually afford the cutting-edge biotechnology required to gestate into a vampire. 

“”Aevum is a wealthy start-up that moves into the community. It specializes in longevity and health for their wealthy clientele by using the blood of others. And they have all of these people that line up and become a cult for them, ‘Please lift me up too.'”

Harvey Smith, Creative Director, Redfall
Redfall Official Story Trailer

In the Redfall universe, Vampirism isn’t viewed as a disease but rather a path toward immortality. Indeed, this is quite interesting, considering there is a certain contingent of the wealthy that have tried to achieve longer lifespans using technology. Perhaps the game isn’t as removed from reality as many would surmise.

Players Don’t Need to Understand Subtext to Have Fun

This all being said — at its core, Redfall is still a video game with all of the fun gaming mechanics one would expect from a gory, fast-paced FPS. In fact, if you were to just watch the gameplay and never read the comments by the game’s Creative Director, you might miss the metaphor core to the game’s storyline. 

And the subtext here isn’t heavy-handed, either. Each of the game’s revealed characters is what you would expect. Main characters Jacob Boyer and Remi De La Rosa hail from a military background, while the other two characters, Layla Ellison and Devinder Crousley, are a biomedical engineering student and cryptozoologist, respectively. This isn’t The Prince and the Pauper, and it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be. 

I, for one, gladly welcome games with a heavier message hidden behind limb dismemberment. Mindlessly cutting through hordes of enemies can get a bit boring, so it’s always refreshing when games reflect our society in a relevant way. It raises the stakes (pun not intended) and reminds us that sometimes video games can be just as artistic and “deep” as other forms of entertainment. 

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