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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 SchizoStatic (1413201) on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:26AM (#28220319) Homepage Journal
    "Gabe Newell is "always talking about providing entertainment as a service â" it's not about making a game any more." " Which is why most games suck now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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 poetmatt (793785) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:03AM (#28220579) Journal

        Okay, if you say "this is your game and that is it" for $50, and you sell another later, even a few months later be my guest.

        However if you say "we're going to add a whole lot of shit down the road, more maps, etc", and don't deliver, or start to deliver (as they did) but do a half assed job, do you expect people to rationalize it at the cost per month? Answer: no. Gamers aren't sheep like that.

        If L4D1 doesn't add more stuff before November it will affect L4D2 sales for that reason especially even more now with them saying that L4d1 maps can be brought into L4d2. Never promise something you can't keep.

        • by sopssa (1498795)

          When has Valve said they will be adding content constantly? That is just an assumption. If you read http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/06/04/valve-on-l4d2-trust-us-a-little-bit/ [rockpapershotgun.com] aswell, you'll see that Valve is fairly aware that they're taking a new route. Read the rest of the article however, and you'll see they note they will keep supporting l4d1 with new stuff aswell.

          So before the thing actually gets released in 6 months, stop making stupid assumptions. Its half an year still and l4d1 will probably see

          • by alexhard (778254) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (drahxela)> on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:42AM (#28220877) Homepage

            They were constantly touting the constant updating as a major selling point.
             

            [Gabe] 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."

            • by sopssa (1498795)

              Haven't they updated it constantly tho? TF2 and L4D are the only games developers (valve) keep tweaking as much as blizzard tweaks world of warcraft. There has been many updates, new gamemode, and new campaigns for versus mode.

              I'd say its really justified to make a sequal with l4d2 new content than push it freely for the existing users.

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by alexhard (778254)

                more movies, more characters, more weapons, unlockables, achievements

                None of those has happened. The campaigns for versus should have been in the game from the beginning and the new mode is a ridiculiously tiny update which they probably hacked together over a couple afternoons. How is it justified to sell the updates which were promised to be free, as a new game?

              • by Sqweegee (968985) on Friday June 05, 2009 @09:23AM (#28221297)

                There's only really been one content update, everything else has been patches.

                The added versus campaigns weren't new, they were just the ones they didn't have time to balance properly for vs play before the original release. People have been expecting actual NEW campaigns. The quote from Gabe also mentioned new weapons, new infected, improved AI in the original game, all that seems to have been moved to the sequel.

                Survival mode, well that was a decent addition, but it only added one small map, all the other survival maps were just expanded panic events from the existing content.

                SDK beta... at least we can make our own content now, but how many horrible hack job maps are we going to need to sort through before finding anything good.

                • Survival mode, well that was a decent addition, but it only added one small map, all the other survival maps were just expanded panic events from the existing content.

                  Technically all survival maps are custom made maps. They use artwork that was already present, and have layouts that closely resemble the layouts used in parts of the campaigns, but someone still had to sit there and tweak everything to make them behave properly. Nav maps had to be re-done, blockades and spawnpoints moved, etc.; I'm sure it was time consuming, and they are new maps, but they'd feel newer if they weren't so recognizable as parts of the campaign.

                  If he offers a $15-20 discount to anyone curren

          • by poetmatt (793785)

            Even beyond what someone said when they replied to you, there are 2 other parts:

            1: they have already released one addition. If they stop there people will go "WTF?"

            2: people will get bored of the game if it isn't constantly updated. Although there is a huge retro-gaming crowd, any game that isn't constantly changing, with new things to achieve will start to lose people's interest and then lose popularity.

        • Gamers aren't sheep like that.

          You're right, that would be insulting the intelligence of sheep. I've never seen sheep "t-bag," nor heard them misuse racial slurs over xbox live in their high prepubescent voices, nor have I seen them get into angry ridiculous arguments about how gaming platform x is better than gaming platform y.

          (In the interest of full disclosure: I am an avid gamer and enjoy lamb chops occasionally)

        • Valve made a lot of promises and have failed to deliver them. Now they're putting out a sequel. The piece clearly says about stuff through the summer. In other words L4D is genuinely Left 4 Dead in November, as it'll be done.

          Sad thing is, poetmatt, that gamers ARE sheep like that. It's how EA get to sell the same game every year with minor updates for all their sports franchises.

          I will not be buying L4D2. I expect money grabbing and greed from EA, but Valve are clearly trying on an Evil Suit to see if it fi

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Workaphobia (931620)

        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 al

    • Exactly. What is Valve thinking? Why on earth would you release a full fledged sequel so soon? Expansion packs? Nah, screw it just go ahead and split the community to turn more bucks? So are they telling us they are such great game creation gurus that within a short period of time a compelling sequel can be developed, that they only needed a year to fix any complaints, and add more content? Or should we see it as they screwed us with a watered down version before deciding to make the full version? Di
      • by SchizoStatic (1413201) on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:46AM (#28220457) Homepage Journal
        But remember it had that great AI system to make the game a different play style each time :)
        • It did! But, there's really only so many times you can run through Mercy Hospital before the experience becomes a little dull. Unpredictable certainly(to a point). But the difference between meeting a witch on the roof verse the reception area is kind of moot by the 50th playthrough.

          After a while, even Left 4 Dead became routine. Despite the procedural content, after a few playthroughs you simply got to know the game and all its little tricks. The unpredictability became tactical, not strategic. I've played with people who can call smoker and hunter spawns before they even happen. People who know and scavenge every drop off point. People who know zombie dispersal patterns and bottling strategies. People with flawless plans for every panic event. Essentially, there are only 4 maps, so this wasn't very hard.

          The game needed new expansions. Proper expansions. New maps, new campaigns, new game modes, new special infected, new survivors, new weapons, etc, etc. To keep things fresh. It was more than feasible. When you see how one man recreated the police station from Resident Evil 2 [kotaku.com] as a L4D map, Valve's tardiness in bringing out new maps becomes more incriminating.

          Personally, I think the reason behind a new game verse new expansions has less to do with technical issues, and more to do with Microsoft. Specifically, the 360 port of L4D. Basically, Microsoft promote paid downloadable content, and weren't happy with the free updates for L4D that Valve were pushing out on the 360. In addition, all new achievements on the 360 must be tied to paid content, meaning Valve couldn't release new maps for free and give achievements for them at the same time.

          In short, the 360 port of L4D has tied Valves hands with the entire game. For any major update they create, they'll invoke more of Microsoft's ire and that of their fans. A brand new game allows them to break the deadlock, but will probably end up creating a new one. You can fully expect that in future, L4D games will have minimal expansions and new games will be preferred to expansions in all cases.

          • by AdamThor (995520)

            Essentially, there are only 4 maps, so this wasn't very hard.

            L4D appeared to be so cool. I haven't bought it though. Seriously how am I gonna pay real money for a game with so little content? Glad I waited.

            Now I've got this reinforcement to keep waiting until a single game is presented with enough content that I feel the purchase is worth it by the time any money leaves my wallet.

            Buy a full-priced game on the promise of future content? No thanks!

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by scalarscience (961494)
              Left4Dead is only $29 if you buy from somewhere like Amazon, and it has been on sale on Steam as well. Give it more time and you'll see it for less I'm sure. I got in excess of 100 hours out of the game, and while the last 20-30 hours has been a bit 'easier' due knowing everything about the game including the new game mode inside & out, I can't say that I'm upset about it.

              I would like more content but am content with user-generated content & lobby support for 'discovering' that content and pla
            • L4D appeared to be so cool. I haven't bought it though. Seriously how am I gonna pay real money for a game with so little content?

              GP got it wrong - it's not 4 maps; it's 4 campaigns, 5 maps each. Plus one Survival map.

          • Actually I agree, I think the Xbox360 is playing a huge role in this. And I do think Valve is trying to cut a path here that keeps the console & PC versions in parity in terms of new features, which are far easier to introduce on PC+Steam than the 360 when you take the console's DLC requirements into account (especially given MS's pricier harddrive policy). Orange box was Valve's first serious attempt at a 360 title, and it has some well known "issues" versus the PC release. Still a perfectly playabl
          • To keep the game interesting, my friends and I impose our own restrictions on gameplay to make it tougher or to force us to play with unusual tactics. An example of this is all four survivors using pistol only for the entire campaign. Our current favourite is doing Left 4 Dead speed runs, we're working on passing all each of the four maps on expert in 20 minutes or less. With restrictions like that in place, it doesn't really matter if you know the maps or not (actually, knowing all the maps by heart is ess

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by wagnerrp (1305589)

            It did! But, there's really only so many times you can run through Mercy Hospital before the experience becomes a little dull. Unpredictable certainly(to a point). But the difference between meeting a witch on the roof verse the reception area is kind of moot by the 50th playthrough.

            After the 50th playthrough (each of which takes 30-60 minutes depending on your team's skill level) of one map (out of four) of one playmode (out of two, or three if you include Survival), one could argue that you got your money's worth out of that game (especially if you got the $37.50 package deal or the $25 half-price deal).

          • by the 50th playthrough.

            Oh, so by 50+ hours of gameplay in, you're only occasionally seeing new things? And this is Valve's fault, for only putting out a game that you've been playing for 50+ hours? Or maybe you could try the other four campaigns? Maybe go play a MMO like all of the other crackheads?

            L4D is a great game, and wonderfully entertaining in the time that I have to play it. If you have too much time, maybe you should get a fucking job.

            I have my issues with L4D, mainly around the matchmaking sys

          • You raise some interesting points.

            But I must admit, I don't mind cheap expansions/"DLC". If I could get another four campaigns for L4D for $10, I'd buy it. I mean, people pay $200+/yr for WoW, so why not $40 + $10 + $10 + $10 to keep things fresh? (four new maps every 3 months? Too much to hope for?)

            If they focused more on the artwork, they could probably draft some level designs and get some community members to help finish the levels. They should tap their resources! It'll cost them a few free copies of t

    • by alexhard (778254)

      Software as a service is good, if done properly. Look at TF2! You buy the game, and keep getting awesome new content constantly.

      However, if you see gaming as software as a service then the logical thing would be to keep providing content for L4D instead of releasing another game..

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by theIsovist (1348209)
      While normally I'd agree with you, Valve games tend to keep the quality high with their releases. And with Steam, they don't have to make games for income anymore, so anything they do create is created out of love of the craft. This is probably why they constantly miss their deadlines. They have enough money that missing a deadline is preferable to releasing a crappy product.
    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:30AM (#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.

      • You're not obliged to purchase L4D2. But if you want five new campaigns, pony up the cash.

        To be fair, they're not just new campaigns. They're new campaigns with new monsters and new weapons, which means more fun re-learning how to play like a pro.

        Or at least that's the line they'll spin when they try to sell it for $50. But I can't blame them, since people pay over $200/yr for WoW, and when I look at WoW, I really don't see $750+ of quality/value.

        If you want quality, you need to spend money. I just wish the

    • It could be good, it could be bad. I would pay a monthly fee for access to all of the Steam games.

    • by LoRdTAW (99712)

      LEft 4 dead has a wide audience appeal. Half Life was an amazing game for its time and I still play it through from time to time. Half life 2 had similar game play. But its tough to create a game that has such great game play that it sucks you in.

      Left4dead to me was a cheap cop out. A zombie shooter from valve? I played the demo and was a bit impressed but the game play was repetitive. The same old 20 zombies popping out of nowhere. On line play is also a bitch as its very tough. If your playing 4 V 4 and s

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:29AM (#28220337)
    Just after I've bought^h^h^h^h^h^hlicensed an EA game and am presented with the EULA, I certainly feel like I've been served.
  • by bryansj (89051) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:04AM (#28220593)
    Who's going to explain all the quick Guitar Hero sequels?
    • Guitar Hero is generally shipped as a complete game. Many would agree that L4d shipped in a completely 'final beta' type state. It was both implied and indicated that L4D would be getting the continuous update treatment same as TF2. We now know that is not entirely going to be the case and that to continue to play L4D in any meaningful way, we are going to have to shell out for ANOTHER full retail box.

      L4D steam owners should at least get a SUBSTANTIAL discount on L4D2, fuck the stupid Xbox owners.

  • It has been "coming soon", since last fall, I wonder if Valve plans to only release it for L4D 2, forcing the current players to buy the new game if they want to create mods.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DavidR1991 (1047748)

      Or (forgive the less cynical view point) they just wanted to focus on improving the game and getting it to a very high level of "it's done" before opening it up for modding (since they're still updating L4D as it is, let alone L4D2). I'd also be very surprised if the SDK was L4D2 only (considering they're effectively the same game at heart, I would expect any SDK to let you choose the version being targeted, like the way the SDKs let you target HL2, or Ep1/Ep2 etc. depending on features used)

      As it is, I'd m

    • by anomnomnomymous (1321267) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:18AM (#28220689)
      It has been out since a couple of weeks...

      Hell, it was even posted on Slashdot [slashdot.org].

      And even before that, it was possible to create maps with a little tweaking of the Hammer editor.
      • That's a beta: I assume Aftan was referring to a final release of the SDK

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AftanGustur (7715)
        No it's not.

        Even though the Slashdot poster did call it SDK, it is not a SDK.

        An SDK will allow you do modify how the game behaves, create rules such as autokick/ban players who teamkill over a certain limit, create flying monsters etc ...

        What Valve has released is just, as the name implies "authoring tools for Left 4 Dead" and it does only let you "author" new content, i.e. graphics and sounds/music/maps.

        The gameplay is still the same.

        • Hm... maybe they're afraid people will just clone the L4D2 features in L4D1 rather than buying the new game, if they make the editor too full-featured?

          Supreme douchebaggery on their part, if that's the case.

          • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            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.
            • The poster to whom I was responding listed a number of customizations that will be impossible with the editor they are releasing. These are customizations that I've seen in numerous other online FPS games.

              I'm just saying that if Valve is refraining from allowing deep modifications so that they can have a monopoly on new game modes and such then that's a dick move, given their prior behavior and norms for the FPS modding scene.

              I mean, not even being able to create new enemy types (aside from new skins)? Th

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by VGPowerlord (621254)

          Even though the Slashdot poster did call it SDK, it is not a SDK.

          An SDK will allow you do modify how the game behaves, create rules such as autokick/ban players who teamkill over a certain limit, create flying monsters etc ...

          I'm pretty sure you can mod L4D just like any other Source game. There's even Metamod: Source [sourcemm.net] (lower level) and Sourcemod [sourcemod.net] (higher level) to help you there. Both appear to work on Left 4 Dead.

    • by sopssa (1498795)

      Its been out for weeks. Go to your Tools tab in Steam.

  • I'm sure the sky really is falling.

  • When bad games are announced, we cringe (rightfully I think). When good games are announced, we cringe again with arguments like "Too Soon!" as if the publishers had made a dead David Carradine joke. It's clear that Yahtzee Croshaw was right:

    Fans are a crying whinny lot who will never be happy with any concession you make, and the sooner you shut them out, the happier you'll be.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      When bad games are announced, we cringe (rightfully I think). When good games are announced, we cringe again with arguments like "Too Soon!" as if the publishers had made a dead David Carradine joke.

      I think the question is not about cringing because the game is good but rather because people fear it's going to be bad due to too short a developing span.

      Fans are a crying whinny lot who will never be happy with any concession you make, and the sooner you shut them out, the happier you'll be.

      It's just the fans' concern that their favourite franchises are being raped for a quick buck. It's stupid for developers to ignore their fans because the fans are the ones who make them money.

    • by Spatial (1235392) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:27AM (#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 VideoGamer.com 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 CMF Risk (833574)
        Exactly.

        It's not that I didn't have fun with L4D, and it kept my attention for about a month or so after release, but pretty quickly all that content was devoured. Playing with friends we had everything down to a science. Only when playing with random people did it feel dangerous and exciting again because there would be varying levels of player skill.

        With no updates and expansions my friends and I quickly lost interest and went on to play other games.

        The sort of irony I feel about this is I wo
        • My guess would be L4D content is more intensive to produce than TF2 content. Creating a four map campaign with attention to detail and crescendo/finale events with a good flow of zombies and hordes is a non-trivial task. If they add new weapons or new infected they probably have to retrofit them into previous maps to be able to use the terrain appropriately for instance.

          Some of this is just lack of foresight, I think they got to a certain point and realized that doing the things they wanted to do with the
        • by snuf23 (182335)

          Only when playing with random people did it feel dangerous and exciting again because there would be varying levels of player skill.

          Damn straight. Like the first time I played a random game online and promptly threw a Molotov cocktail at a player pinned by a hunter. I think I followed it up with a close range shotgun blast.
          Nothing like horrible player skills to make your partners more dangerous than the zombies.

  • by Tridus (79566) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:17AM (#28220681) Homepage

    This isn't that hard to explain. There is profit to be had. They make more money by selling a new game then by releasing free maps for an old one.

    Look, companies only understand one thing: sales. Gamers are notoriously bad at speaking with their wallets. They're a hype driven group. Sure, right now people are all pissed off about this. When L4D 2 comes out, those same people will all be lined up on day 1 forking over money for it and caught up in the hype. That pattern gets repeated over and over again.

    When gamers as a whole start acting like intelligent customers and less like drug addicts looking for a quick hit, you'll see companies not do this type of quick sequel. In the mean time, there's no consequences for them to do it, so why wouldn't they?

    • by morari (1080535)

      This isn't that hard to explain. There is profit to be had. They make more money by selling a new game then by releasing free maps for an old one.

      I believe that releasing major new updates for free would probably pay for itself, as more new people would then purchase the game. Regardless, if money is there worry, they should release an expansion pack, Not a sequel. This is, more than likely, a side effect of also having a console version. Those things aren't capable of doing anything be yearly sequels.

      • by GeekDork (194851)

        Regardless, if money is there worry, they should release an expansion pack, Not a sequel.

        Their customers would then be whining about how the expansion pack is too expensive, has too few maps, the quality is generally lacking, and waaaah waaaah waaaah. It is really easier and more profitable to market a proper sequel. Gamers are an especially whiny bunch that gets upset and all pee-in-the-eyes at the smallest issue, and no amount of goodwill from the game makers will fix that.

        • by morari (1080535)

          It is really easier and more profitable to market a proper sequel.

          Except that this does not look to be a proper sequel.

  • I'm disappointed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GF678 (1453005) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:17AM (#28220683)

    Why are games supposedly provided as a service instead of a product? As in, a fully-featured product with the vast majority of the content already there upon release? Seems like each game these days is supplied incomplete and the rest comes through DLCs after release.

    Take Tomb Raider: Underworld for example. There have been two DLC chapter addons available for it (and only for the Xbox 360), and these chapters aren't simply side chapters - they're actually a continuation of the story line which was part of the ORIGINAL GAME. In other words, if you didn't have an Xbox 360 and/or didn't purchase these DLCs, you wouldn't actually "finish" the game as it was suppose to be finished. The story would be incomplete. So screw anyone who thought that buying TRU would mean a full game, nah, you have to PAY for the full story line! Now given the DLCs were in part funded by Microsoft, I'm not surprised they're only available for the 360, and it wouldn't have mattered much if they were just side quests that didn't continue the story. But they do.

    I don't mind bonus packs that cost a bit but provide extra features, but I do mind cash grabs that seem to emphasize the "release early, finish development later" mentality. Works somewhat for open-source content but shouldn't be tolerated for paid products.

    • by zach297 (1426339)
      The do this so used gamers have to pay for the full game. Because you cannot buy used DLCs the used gamers have to pay the publisher to get them. Now the publisher gets money from used games. They only release them on the Xbox because it has a much larger used game market than the PC. I agree that it sucks, but it works.
      • by GF678 (1453005)

        I agree that it sucks, but it works.

        Indeed. The more it becomes obvious the publishers care less about the quality of the product and more about the ways in which they can take money from customers, the less likely people will be to deal with them. The publisher-customer relationship isn't set in stone, and being greedy bastards simply means someone can move to another publisher who won't be so unfair.

        Assuming the customer is savvy of course, but we aren't all brain-dead.

  • Wont do justice? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314)

    The original game had like 6 guns, 4 levels and about 5 types of enemies.

    You could do justice to that in about a month with a mod team, let alone in a year with a full blown dev team.

    I was really looking forward to L4D when it was announced, but as games go, L4D was probably the one game I can point to with the most dissapointingly small amount of content I've seen in the last 5 years.

    It really did feel like an HL2 mod and nothing more. The idea is fantastic, but the execution of it left a lot to be desired

    • by Novotny (718987) on Friday June 05, 2009 @09:02AM (#28221077)
      I'm not wishing to be rude, but I think you kind of missed the point about L4D: it's all about the execution and not the content. Hell, I played CS constantly for more than half a decade over maybe, 4/5 maps, at most. Getting the game to play and flow so well was their goal, including 27 variants of weapons was not. I'd far rather have 5 excellent monsters than 10 ok ones. It seems they spent their development schedule on testing and perfecting the gameplay, so people talk about the mad tactics they can pull in VS mode and create their own little stories, all as a result of the fluidity of the gameplay. I reckon there will be loads of content over the next year.
      • by Xest (935314)

        There wasn't even enough content to be creative in how you played it though.

        Even your example of CS had countless different weapons including multiple weapons for each weapon type.

        The game didn't flow well because of the stupid safe room idea, the levels were too small and relatively linear (yes there was a few areas where you could follow a different route, but barely so).

        If you look at coop games where you can create your own story, it tends to be games like Crackdown and Saints Row 2 and it works because

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Novotny (718987)
          It's about two teams of four outwitting eachother - at least it is for me. If you're only playing offline or co-operative then you're really missing out on what L4D's all about - you're only playing bots, after all, and how dull is that? In CS, you only really use 4/5 weapons and the same number of maps. There may be more - but they don't get used. Sometimes for a laugh, sure, an odd map is played, and league play tends to bring out the odd strange one to throw a spanner in the works, however you'll fin
          • by Xest (935314)

            Okay, to put it another way.

            Why should I pay £35 for that when I can pay the same for something like Halo 3 or Gears of War 2 and get better graphics, more weapons, a massive single player campaign, more maps, more multiplayer modes, better gameplay?

            In other words, what does L4D actually bring to the table if you're going to play it only as a multiplayer 4 vs 4 game when there are other games out for the same price with far more content which is much better?

            The main selling point with L4D was the uniq

            • by Novotny (718987)
              Well, we're just going to have to completely disagree. I thought Halo was dreadful though haven't played Gears of War 2, so no opinion on that. I'm just not really into console-style shoot-em-ups. Each to their own!
            • Why should I pay £35 for that when I can pay the same for something like Halo 3 or Gears of War 2 and get better graphics, more weapons, a massive single player campaign, more maps, more multiplayer modes, better gameplay?

              Because neither of those actually offer better gameplay than L4D Versus mode. Of course this is entirely subjective, but given how popular L4D ended up being, I'd say a lot of people agree with me on that.

              • by Xest (935314)

                Far less people play L4D than Gears of War 2 or Halo 3 online.

                If you check www.majornelson.com you'll see the most recent online popularity stats:

                1 Halo 3
                2 Call of Duty: WaW
                3 Call of Duty 4
                4 Gears of War 2
                5 GTA IV
                6 UFC 2009 Undisputed Demo
                7 FIFA 09
                8 UFC 2009 Undisputed
                9 Left 4 Dead
                10 Fallout 3

                Of course, the number of PC users might increase things for L4D a bit, but Halo 3 and Gears 2 aren't out on the PC. Even then it's unlikely the PC stats increase it's positioning enough to

            • by snuf23 (182335)

              The main selling point with L4D was the uniqueness of a 4 player coop zombie survival game.

              Which is why I waited until it was on sale for $25 because I thought that was a reasonable price for the content. I wasn't disappointed although I think I would have been a bit underwhelmed if I'd paid $50.

          • It's about two teams of four outwitting eachother

            Congratulations, you just described an 8 player game of Team Fortress or one of its sequels, the most recent of which is Fortress Forever [fortress-forever.com]... er... I mean Team Fortress 2 [teamfortress.com].
            Except that people don't seem to be playing the same 4/5 maps over again on Team Fortress 2. Maybe it's because Valve's actually updating that game, unlike Left 4 Dead...

            • Congratulations, you just described an 8 player game of Team Fortress

              Have you actually played L4D? Your comparison is completely pointless - L4D Versus is very different from TF, or most other team FPS for that matter. I won't even bother explaining, since comparing is pointless without playing it.

    • by Novotny (718987)
      I mean, look at chess - still only one bloody map released, but we're still playing it
      • Yeah, but I heard they're releasing a goty edition with some extra pieces - A "lady in waiting" thats like a queen, but can only move 3 squares, and a kitchenhand, who moves the reverse of a pawn, but is really an illegitamte son of the king. If you get the two together on the same square, he gets promoted to king as a third colour.
    • For £30 - £35 I expect a game, not a mod.

      And L4D2 is a mod because it uses the same engine? By that logic, wasn't Half Life a Quake 2 mod?

      • by Xest (935314)

        Mods don't have engine changes.

        HL was built on a modified version of the Quake 1 source, one of the most major changes being that it was switched to C++ and the code base made object oriented.

        L4D doesn't seem like it's really had any engine changes. It also has the lower amounts and quality of content you would expect from a mod than a full priced game.

    • The original game had like 6 guns, 4 levels and about 5 types of enemies.

      Where does this "4 levels" bullshit keeps coming from (I'm seeing it in a lot of posts here)? It's 4 campaigns, 5 maps each.

      • by Xest (935314)

        Same thing, people think of a level as a fixed unit of gameplay which is really what a campaign is. It doesn't really change anything, it's still much too little content.

  • The current L4D was very light in content as is and the devs have been promising more would be added to the game. More maps, more weapons, more infected boss types. So I guess now instead of doing that, they're just going to wrap all that new content up, call it a sequal and charge 50 bucks for it. Very sleazy.

    • Stop calling them free updates. We already paid for them, they are not free.
      • Stop calling them free updates. We already paid for them, they are not free.

        Well, what number of paid updates did you pay for exactly? Or what date do you stop receiving your paid for updates? Surely you didn't expect 1,000,000 paid updates, or for paid updates through the year 4953? It seems to me like you bought a game with free updates, but no guarantee or contract specifying how many or for how long.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Damn you valve, you've swindled me for the first, but last time!

    I expected updates, which were promised, and I don't get the, there is no compromise, I WANT CONTENT!

  • I don't buy promises. I pay for what is delivered.

  • 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.

    If Valve were to add an additional year to the development cycle, would the fans be whining that it was too long to wait?

    • by discord5 (798235)

      If Valve were to add an additional year to the development cycle

      Knowing Valve, it'll be delayed by at least that much.

    • No, but Valve's HR dept might be looking a bit more closely at the payroll budget.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Im a politician.

  • Forget LFD2, where the hell is HL2: Episode 3? How about making a game for the millions of people who bought Episodes 1 and 2 Doug? "Doug Lombardi said simply, "Trust us a little bit"." I find that somewhat difficult to do. It seems like Valve care more about milking money out of you than giving people what they want. It's probably taking so long for Episode 3 cause they are making some other stuff I don't want to throw in with Episode 3 and give them the ability to charge $60 instead of $15 - $20 for
    • by Molt (116343)
      I do find it bizarre that a company which still hasn't announced the release date for the next piece of their episodic franchise twenty months after the last episode is planning to release an entire 'new version' of another product only one year from release. Maybe it's because the 'new version' is really just a few new maps, weapons, gameplay modes, and bad guys, and is a lot less work for them than a new HL2 episode? Could it be that Valve are just starting to do extremely expensive expansion packs and
    • by snuf23 (182335)

      Yep. That's why I didn't buy the Orange Box until it was down to $30. And luckily I had someone to gift HL2 and HL2 episode 1 too. At least Portal and Team Fortress 2 were good games.
      They probably won't release Episode 3 until they can do another bundle that would make it viable as a Xbox 360 release.

  • The most serious complaint seems to be that "significant content for L4D1 was promised," and L4D2 means that L4D won't get the promised content. Does anybody know where these promises are coming from? I don't remember reading anything about that. If this is just some fans griping because TF2 got significant post-release content and L4D didn't, I don't really see the problem. TF2 launched with three or four maps; L4D had 20.
  • I understand what Valve is saying but I think they may be making a douche move here.

    Back when Half-Life came out I was saying to myself how it would be great if they released episodic content on the same engine. The story was so huge in Half-Life, it was fully half of the gameplay. I would have been interested to see more of what was happening with Gordon Freeman. Charge $50 for the first game which covers the cost of engine development, release two or three quality add-ons over the next few years, not the

  • http://ve3d.ign.com/articles/news/41219/Left-4-Dead-DLC-Promised [ign.com]
    "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.
    http://www.shacknews.com/featuredarticle.x?id=1138 [shacknews.com]
    "Shack: When did development on Left 4 Dead 2 start?

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

  • They keep saying they'll still support L4D1, but all we see is stuff that was already going to be released. Everything else after that is "the users will do the work and we will claim credit for the additional content". Sorry no, the modding community has already stopped work on L4D1 content to focus making maps that will make use of the new features of L4D2 (and so far it looks like the compatibility is 1-way, otherwise we can easily just copy the new campaigns from L4D2 into L4D1). They have said exact

  • Theyve earned mine with over a decade of very high quality service. Ive arguable gotten more play value from their line of products then pretty much any other form of entertainment. I played CS for YEARS. I will say i was as shocked as alot of other people when they announced L4D2, but I have a feeling it will work out to our mutual benefit in the end. Valve has earned the benefit of the doubt. If anyone should be looked at askance its Blizzard. They are REALLY starting to overmilk the WoW cow. Steins, cust

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