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The Anacrusis Release Date, Trailer, And Gameplay - What We Know So Far

Fans of the long-dormant "Left 4 Dead" franchise already had a lot to look forward to heading into E3 2021, with many hoping for news on "Back 4 Blood," the long-awaited spiritual successor to the beloved series. Not only does "Back 4 Blood", which was first revealed at the 2020 Game Awards, promise the return of the classic four-person co-op zombie survival experience, it's also being developed by Turtle Rock Studios, creators of the original "Left 4 Dead."

Fans of the co-op survival genre got another surprise when the Xbox Games Showcase introduced a "Left 4 Dead" inspired experience that will take co-op survival to a new frontier. "The Anacrusis" is a retro stylized shooter set on an abandoned space liner and crafted by Chet Faliszek, a project lead for both "Left 4 Dead" titles.

While fans are still learning about what sets "The Anacrusis" apart from its biggest competitor, it appears that they may have a chance to experience it for themselves sooner rather than later with an imminent episodic launch. Here is everything we know so far about the release date, trailer, and gameplay of "The Anacrusis."

What is the release date for The Anacrusis?

While gamers have not been given an exact release date, the game should arrive soon. According to the official "The Anacrusis" announcement on Xbox Wire, prospective buyers can expect to play it in Fall 2021. The Steam page lists the same launch window.

The game's creator, Chet Faliszek, told Ars Technica that getting a playable product into gamers' hands as quickly as possible was a priority for Stray Bombay. The designer spoke at length about the importance of getting meaningful feedback from real players to fine-tune the experience, something he felt wasn't achievable in a standard beta test.

To that end, Stray Bombay plans on releasing what will only be a portion of the content intended for "The Anacrusis," perhaps even just a couple of episodes, at first. Following the initial launch, players will receive a full release plan for the later episodes that will be given away at no extra charge. During that period, Stray Bombay has also promised to provide the community with "prevalent mod support," with clarification as to the specifics of that support also coming at a later date.

Is there a trailer for The Anacrusis?

The announcement for "The Anacursis" was accompanied by a brief gameplay trailer that showed off the game's retro aesthetic, swarms of enemies, and some of the lighthearted banter between survivors.

That trailer highlights the game's bright, 1970s science fiction-inspired designs. The spacecraft that players attempt to survive in is plastered with glowing pastels, and the character designs reflect that period as well. Of course, the titular Anacrusis is under constant siege from an alien horde, which means that many areas are in various states of disrepair and inhabited by aggressive invaders. However, the survivors manage to keep things relatively light, develop new plans on the fly, and even bicker about what they should call their enemies. 

The game's cheery color palette and likable characters combine to create a world that is a bit more inviting than some of its immediate competitors. This aligns with creator Chet Faliszek's vision of a less depressing game world, which he explained at Xbox Games Showcase. "After the pandemic, I don't think I could go back to a dreary post-apocalyptic world. I need something uplifting, and so we wanted to deliver that," said Faliszek.

What is the gameplay like in The Anacrusis?

There have been plenty of comparisons between "The Anacrusis" and the "Left 4 Dead" series, which the developers welcome. Creator Chet Faliszek told Ars Technica, "I was the project lead on Left 4 Dead 1 and Left 4 Dead 2, and those are two of my favorite games ever made."

Gamers familiar with "Left 4 Dead" should have a good idea of what to expect from the basic gameplay in "The Anacrusis," though Stray Bombay has plans to help distinguish the project from other titles in the genre. Faliszek explained to IGN that the developers hope the game will carve out its own niche by introducing improved accessibility and creating opportunities for infinite replayability.

To accomplish this, "The Anacrusis" uses some unique ideas, such as a tiered perk system rewarded through progression. However, to improve accessibility, those perks will benefit everyone on the team. That means players who have far more time invested in the game don't necessarily have an advantage, but instead help every player perform better.

To allow for improved replayability, the AI Driver, which is what "The Anacrusis" calls its version of the "Left 4 Dead" style AI Director, will be able to scale changes over multiple playthroughs. As Faliszek detailed at the Xbox Games Showcase, if players have been doing well for an extended time, the game can track that and introduce things "that you've never seen before in a million aliens."