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Games Entertainment

Valve Explains Quick Left 4 Dead Sequel 130

Posted by Soulskill
from the so-many-zombies,-so-little-time dept.
Valve's announcement that Left 4 Dead 2 would be released only a year after the first game has generated a great deal of controversy among fans of the game. There are concerns that Left 4 Dead will not get any additional content, the community will be divided, and that the quick development cycle won't do justice to the sequel. Now, Valve devs and execs are going out of their way to address those concerns. Left 4 Dead project lead Chet Faliszek said, "It just became very clear that this was a cohesive, singular statement we wanted to make, not a more slow update thing... too much stuff was tied together with too many other things." Developer Tom Leonard was quick to point out that work wouldn't cease for the first game: "We are doing updates across the summer, adding new matchmaking features, and new features to facilitate user maps after the SDK is out. ... Additionally, those maps can be transported into Left 4 Dead 2." Doug Lombardi said simply, "Trust us a little bit," explaining that Gabe Newell is "always talking about providing entertainment as a service — it's not about making a game any more."
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Valve Explains Quick Left 4 Dead Sequel

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 05, 2009 @06:32AM (#28220361)

    If people are still worried about l4d1 by the time l4d2 comes out in novemeber (a full year after the original), it means they've hit on something 99% of games don't hit on- longevity and level repetition not being overwhelmingly boring.

    If, after one year of playing their $50 game, they want another $50 to play for another year, I'm ok with that- it works out to around $4 a month.

  • by Spatial (1235392) on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:27AM (#28220765)
    I don't think the reason is purely because it's so soon. Read this emboldened quote of Gabe from last October:

    Valve intends to support hotly anticipated zombie survival shooter Left 4 Dead post-release with new characters, new maps, new achievements and new weapons in order to grow the community, Gabe Newell has revealed.

    Speaking to at Leipzig Games Convention, the Valve co-founder and managing director said the developer intended to follow a similar downloadable content policy as it has with Team Fortress 2.

    Left 4 Dead, set for release on PC and Xbox 360 on November 21 in Europe, is primarily a four-player cooperative game that sees a group of Survivors battle through four 'Movies' and against 28 Days Later-style zombies called The Infected.

    Newell said that Valve's support of the game post-launch will be essential for growing the community.

    He said: "One of the things that we're doing is we seem to be in a transition between games as a package product and games more of a service. So if you look at Team Fortress 2, one of things that's really helped grow the community is the continuous updates, where we release new maps, new character classes, new unlockables, new weapons. And we tell the stories about the characters, like the meet the sniper, or meet the sandwich. And that ongoing delivery of content really seems to grow the community.

    "So each time we've released one of those for Team Fortress 2 we've seen about a 20% increase in the number of people who are playing online. And that number is really important because it determines how many community created maps there are, how many servers are running, and so on. So we'll do the same thing with Left 4 Dead where we'll have the initial release and then we'll release more movies, more characters, more weapons, unlockables, achievements, because that's the way you continue to grow a community over time."

    Remember, people were buying the game with this in mind. The game shipped incomplete at full price, with only two of the four campaigns available for use in Versus mode (pretty much the main mode). This was only recently corrected.

    Besides bugfixes the only thing they added was survival mode and one very small map for it. There were no new weapons, characters, movies or unlockables.

    I don't share the outrage that seems to be commonplace right now, but at the same time I'm not particularly enthusiastic about a sequel and I can see why people would be annoyed in light of what Valve promised.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:30AM (#28220783) Homepage

    Electricity is a service. Pizza delivery is a service. The difference is that I'm not obliged to make a large capital outlay on Electricity Meter v2.0 or Doorbell v3.0 every year in order to continue paying for their service.

    Y'all listening, Gabe? You're speaking the language of the salesman. We're games players. We want to play games, not subscribe to services.

  • by Workaphobia (931620) on Friday June 05, 2009 @09:30AM (#28222161) Journal

    I'm okay with paying $50 for a sequel to a good game. What I'm not okay with is the feeling of being shafted by Valve, not because of this announcement, but because of the excruciatingly slow pace of development for DLC and bugfixes, and the fact that the game wasn't even completed (missing half the versus maps) until a relatively short while ago.

    I thought at the time that they just pulled everybody off the L4D team after they sold, so they wouldn't have to invest any more resources in keeping people who already parted with their money happy. I guess I can stand corrected now; they pulled everybody off maintaining L4D1 to work on L4D2.

    Meh. I hope they provide at least some marginal discount to L4D1 owners, just as a show of respect.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:54AM (#28224459)
    They're not going to release the source code to L4D if that's what you're asking. They haven't done that with TF2 or Portal and never will. It's not douchebaggery, it's common sense.
  • []
    "Chet Faliszek said that Valve plans to get the DLC rolling much more quickly with Left 4 Dead than it has been able to for Team Fortress 2. Plans already in the works call for new campaigns, weapons, and boss infected (the game's zombie enemies). In addition, there were strong hints at a flamethrower coming not long after launch."

    Yes, the valve team promised L4D 1 content, including new special infected AND weapons AND new campaigns. Turns out they saved all that for L4D2 instead. L4D2 will have a new special infected (charger), new weapons, and new campaigns. And no, they didn't add any new campaigns in L4D1, just tweaked versions of the old ones for versus, and a single new mini map for survival (the rest of the survival levels are just portions of the old maps in old campaigns)

    That same guy at valve in an interview said they have been working on L4D2 since the launch of L4D1. []
    "Shack: When did development on Left 4 Dead 2 start?

    Chet Faliszek: Pretty much after Left 4 Dead launched."

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen