Why 'Back 4 Blood' Characters Do Not Always Unlock

Back 4 Blood has eight playable characters to choose from, but only half of them are available when you first boot up the game.

Positioned as a spiritual successor to the Left 4 Dead franchise, Turtle Rock Studios' cooperative shooter has the same frenetic gunplay and emphasis on teamwork that made those earlier titles so popular. Not to mention, it also shares many of the same developers working on it behind the scenes.

There are even more specific overlaps here as well, like how safe rooms are used to break up the various campaign stages, the way that loud noises can trigger infected hordes, and the fact that zombies come in special breeds, each with their own unique abilities. For all intents and purposes, this might as well be Left 4 Dead 3.

One area where Back 4 Blood does evolve upon the formula though is with its playable characters. In Left 4 Dead, the difference between survivors was purely cosmetic, with them all having the exact same stats and mechanics.

In Back 4 Blood, your choice of "cleaner" has a more tangible effect on the gameplay. Here, each of these characters have their own unique perks and abilities, meaning that you will need to select the one that best suits your individual playstyle.

'Back 4 Blood'—How to Unlock All Characters

When you start Back 4 Blood you will only have access to four cleaners, those being Evangelo, Walker, Holly and Mom.

To unlock the rest of the characters, you simply need to complete the first chapter of the game, known as "The Devil's Return." This chapter is itself split into four stages which, in total, will take around an hour to beat.

Once you have finished The Devil's Return, you will then be treated to a cutscene introducing the four new cleaners who have been added to your roster (Doc, Hoffman, Jim and Karlee).

'Back 4 Blood' Characters Not Unlocking

If, after completing The Devil's Return, you notice that the new characters have not been unlocked, this is likely because you were playing solo.

At launch, Back 4 Blood's single player component does not track progression or record your stats. This means that you cannot earn things like supply points, cosmetic rewards or even achievements when you are playing on your own.

The same limitation also applies to the character unlocks so—if you want access to either Doc, Hoffman, Jim or Karlee—you will need to complete the final mission of The Devil's Return alongside other people.

This is undeniably annoying, especially since The Devil's Return is the tutorial section of the game and you might want to experience that with bots while you are still learning the ropes. While Back 4 Blood is a multiplayer title first and foremost, the same could also be said of this year's Aliens: Fireteam Elite, but that game still let you earn rewards while playing solo.

Turtle Rock Studios has acknowledged the frustration this is causing amongst the community and are currently investigating a solution. In the meantime, if you do not want to play with strangers, the developers have suggested that you switch to private matchmaking and invite a friend so that they can help you complete The Devil's Return.

Attention Cleaners!

We are currently investigating an issue where Hoffman, Doc, Karlee & Jim are unable to be unlocked in The Devil's Return during solo play.

In the meantime, this is how you can unlock them: https://t.co/s2rVAdBmT6

— Turtle Rock Studios is Back 4 Blood🩸 (@TurtleRock) October 8, 2021

Back 4 Blood is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X. It is also included as part of the Xbox Game Pass service.

Hoffman in Back 4 Blood
Image shows Hoffman in "Back 4 Blood." He is one of the four characters that you must unlock by completing the first chapter of the game online. Turtle Rock Studios