'Back 4 Blood': How to unlock characters like Doc, Hoffman, Karlee, and Jim

By Tomas Franzese

In true Left 4 Dead fashion, Turtle Rock’s spiritual successor Back 4 Blood has multiple intriguing characters to choose from. But how do you unlock them all?

This eclectic cast ranges from an old, right-wing, doomsday preparer to a young teenage girl who loves killing the Ridden (zombies) with her spiked baseball bat. Each person even has unique abilities that give the player and their team buffs during gameplay. That’s why it’s so frustrating that you can’t access four of Back 4 Blood’s characters from the start.

Thankfully, you don’t have to wait too long before these other characters become available. If you’re wondering how exactly you can play as the four Back 4 Blood characters locked off at the start, this is what you need to do.

What characters are in the Back 4 Blood roster?

At launch, there are eight people that Back 4 Blood players can choose to control, and they each have special perks:

  1. Hoffman: Spawn Ammo with kills, extra offensive item slot, increases team ammo capacity, and starts with secondary weapon M1911.
  2. Walker: Precision kills increase accuracy, increases damage, increases team health, and starts with secondary weapon Glock 23.
  3. Doc: Can heal low-health teammates without items, increases healing efficiency, increases team trauma resistance, and stars with secondary weapon Beretta M9.
  4. Mom: Instantly revives, extra support inventory slot, extra team life, and starting secondary weapon The Belgian.
  5. Holly: Recovers stamina with every kill, increases damage resistance, increases team stamina, and starts with secondary weapon Spiked Bat.
  6. Evangelo: Can break out of grabs, increases stamina regeneration, increases team movement speed, and starts with secondary weapon Machete.
  7. Karlee: Senses hazards, has a quick inventory, increases team use speed, and starts with secondary weapon Tec 9.
  8. Jim: Precision kills increased damages, increases ADS speed, increases team weak spot damage, and starts with secondary weapon .357 Magnum.

When you first boot up Back 4 Blood, you’ll only have access to Walker, Mom, Holly, and Evangelo. At this point, there’s no way to choose Doc, Hoffman, Karlee, or Jim, so just continue to play.

How do you unlock Back 4 Blood characters?

To unlock Doc, Hoffman, Karlee, and Jim, players have to complete the first run of the game. “Act 1 - The Devil’s Return” consists of four levels and should only take players an hour or two to get through. After fighting on and blowing up a ferry in The Crossing level, players will arrive at Fort Hope.

Fort Hope serves as the central hub in Back 4 Blood, and it’s where players can test weapons, edit their card decks, or change their character. A cutscene introducing Doc, Hoffman, Karlee, and Jim will play when you first arrive at Fort Hope. After you watch this, all four of those characters should be available.

You can switch between characters within the game’s pause menu, though changing who you’re playing as does mean that you’ll have to technically start a new run from Bad Seeds, the first level from “Act 1 - Blue Dog Hollow.”

Switching characters is entirely optional, so if you like whomever you started as, you can just continue the run and play as them. If one of those other characters sounds very appealing to you, create a new run and enjoy playing the rest of the game as them.

While it’s disappointing that you can’t start the game as Doc, Hoffman, Karlee, and Jim, unlocking them is thankfully an extremely straightforward process that’s impossible to miss.

Back 4 Blood is available for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, and PS5.


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