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Left 4 Dead 2 Boycott

By Shamus
on Tuesday Jun 9, 2009
Filed under:
Video Games


Aggrieved fans have risen up, outraged over the announcement of Left 4 Dead 2 and the requisite allotment of E3 gameplay footage. For context, they’re talking about this:

Link (YouTube)

Aside: This movie makes me crazy. Perhaps it’s the view angle. Perhaps it’s because we’re seeing players explore a map that’s familiar to them and unknown to us. Perhaps it’s the fact that this is being played on a console. Whatever the reason, the movement looks far too fast and random. It’s like watching someone play Serious Sam at double speed. The players run around and don’t seem to make any effort to move together, protect each other, or communicate whatsoever.

After about five minutes I wanted to grab the first-person player by the back of his shirt and yank him away from the controller, “Stop and look. At. Something! Anything. Another player. A zombie. A wall. Just stop running around like a sucrose-boosted child and let me get a look at some of this stuff you wide-eyed, idiotic spaz.

Over a hundred thousand players have vowed to boycott the game. That’s 100,000 Steam accounts, and given what a tremendous pain in the ass it is to create one, it’s safe to guess that this number is not much inflated. There really are that many people that saw this footage and were so incensed that they foreswore the sequel. Here are their grievances, each followed by my response:

1) Significant content for L4D1 was promised, and never delivered

Earlier this year Valve released an entirely new game mode: Survival. The game throws waves and waves of foes at you, and you simply fight to stay alive as long as possible. I spent a few weeks’ worth of of evenings and weekends with friends, experimenting with the scenarios and trying to reach the magical ten-minute mark. It provided me with well over twenty hours of gameplay. This one game mode – given away for free after release – provided me with more gameplay than the average big-budget game.

It may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but I don’t think you can claim it wasn’t “significant content”.

2) Valve put little faith in L4D1 since they almost certainly started working on L4D2 right after release

This is backwards. If they had no faith in the game, they certainly wouldn’t have begun making another one.

At any rate, this is true of all sequels. No doubt Valve began work on Half-Life 2: Episode 2 as soon as Episode 1 was complete. I don’t think this says anything bad about Episode 1.

3) The fact that L4D2 is nearly identical to L4D1 will decimate the community for both games.

“Nearly identical”? Different weapons, new maps, new storyline, new characters, new infected, new melee combat, new setting. In what way can anyone claim the two are identical? Is there any aspect of the two games that can be said to be similar?

Although, I do have to side with the malcontents on the second point: I am a bit concerned that a sequel will divide the user base. In a game so heavily dependent on the multiplayer aspect, it’s dangerous to divide the player base like this. If the user base for either title falls below a given threshold, it will become hard to fill games. This will make people less likely to go looking for online games, which can turn into a vicious cycle that renders the game unplayable online. (This is assuming you play with random people online, which is not something I would prescribe.)

It’s worth noting that if this issue arises, Valve could always counter it with offering deep discounts on L4D2 to migrate as many people to the new game as possible. Giving the games a common lobby system might mitigate the problem as well.

4) The announced date is not nearly enough time to polish content or make significant gameplay changes.

This is a prediction that the game will be of low quality. Valve has spent the last five years churning out games of supreme quality. The Half-Life 2 series, Portal, Team Fortress 2, and Left 4 Dead. Not a dud in the bunch. Doubtful, I can understand. But boycotting a game, sight unseen, because you predict it will be low quality even though the publisher has an outstanding track record? This makes little sense to me.

Again, they accuse Valve of not making “significant gameplay changes”. Again, I point to the new infected types, new weapons, and new melee combat. What exactly are you guys looking for?

5) The new character designs seem bland and unappealing so far.

I would say the opposite, that the personalities seem too intense and garish. At one point the first-person character remarks that he’s wearing a $1,000 suit, which – given it’s impractical nature and bright colors – isn’t really sensible garb. These people seem a little more vibrant than the Left 4 Dead cast. We meet Bill, Zoey, Francis, and Louis after the apocalypse has had its way with them. Their personalities are subdued behind the shock of the last few weeks and their bloody struggle to survive. Their previous identities usually peek out only during brief moments of quiet. And they’re dressed sensibly.

These character designs look much more extreme. The ones we saw in the movie were more caricatures than characters. Taking the idea that Left 4 Dead games are presented like classic zombie movies, Left 4 Dead was by David Fincher and Left 4 Dead 2 is by Jerry Bruckheimer. Nobody will be more opposed to this direction than I am, and this is exactly the sort of decision I look forward to eviscerating when the game comes out. But… boycott?

6) L4D2 is too colourful to fit in with L4D1’s visual aesthetic.

So after complaining that the game is “nearly identical” to its predecessor, you’re complaining that its… too different? New Orleans is a colorful place. I actually think setting areas of the game in daytime was a good idea. Empty, ruined cities can be pretty spooky in the light of day. And the night seems more frightening when it’s contrasted against day.

It did find the color surprising, though. In the previous game, colors were carefully managed in order to make key aspects of the scene (safehouses, other players) stand out.

7) The fiddle-based horde music is extremely disliked, though the differently orchestrated music is otherwise welcome.

I’m not crazy about it either. Strikes me as more comical than spooky.

8 ) L4D2’s release will result in a drop in quality and frequency for L4D1 content, even compared to before.

This is basically a repetition of point #4, along with the point that they feel like they’re entitled to more L4D content. While I wouldn’t mind more free stuff, I’ve already logged more than a hundred hours in the game. I’m not going to pretend I’ve been short-changed.

9 ) The community has lost faith in Valve’s former reputation for commitment to their games post-release.

100,000 disillusioned fans is nothing to scoff at. If even half of them made good on their promise to boycott the game, Valve will be $2,500,000 less rich. (Although, keep in mind that threatening to boycott something unless you get it for free isn’t a very effective tactic. If Valve released L4D 2 as a free content pack they would lose all of the sales, from people on both sides of the issue.)

I’m not sure where the rancor is coming from. In their manifesto the group never explains what it is they expect to see in a sequel, what sort of new content they need to see in the original game, or how long there “should” be between sequels. I expect that if you tried to get answers to these questions you’d see this ersatz community Balkanize into squabbling groups. Some just want more (free) Left 4 Dead content. Some Want Left 4 Dead 2 to be (more) different than the original. Some just don’t like some of the art direction. (Colors, music, characters.)

Valve could probably take the wind out of the whole protest by simply insidiously yet earnestly asking for clarification and specifics.

Someday I will return to the earth and become like dust, the way of all mortal men doomed to abide in this cursed sphere for a time. Perhaps after an appropriate interval of mourning, my great-grandchildren will have the opportunity to pre-order Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Looking even further into the uncertainties of the murky beyond, perhaps their children will get to actually play the thing. Valve began this project with the aim of reducing their epic development time to something that might fit within the planning horizon of mortal beings with finite lifespans. Anything that increases the number of quality games I get to play before I get old and drop dead is a good thing in my book.

I’ll be getting the game. I hope they get rid of that music, though.

Comments (113)

1 2

  1. Selifator says:

    Well, at least people like L4D enough to start calling wolf about L4D2 to this extent. Somewhat a good thing.

  2. Jennifer says:

    A “viscous cycle”

    Shouldn’t that be vicious? I mean, while a thick, sticky cycle is not all that appealing either, it’s still not the right word.

    • Shamus says:

      Jennifer: Thanks. Fixed.

      I haven’t been keeping count, but I think the odds of me using viscous when I mean vicious are around 4 in 5. Once you do it wrong enough times, it FEELS right, and the spell checker isn’t going to tell you that you’ve botched it again. It’s a sticky problem.

  3. Zukhramm says:

    I like it being set in daylight. Empty cities are scarier in daylight. At night it feel more natural that things are deserted. I actually like the fiddle theme too.

    I have two problems. One was something I realized from another comment here, the melee weapons makes the game gorier, I’m not sure I want to chop off limbs.

    The second is that I don’t want to keep switching between L4D2 and L2D just because I want to play one of the old campaigns or survival levels.

  4. Vladius says:

    I don’t know, it looked fun to me. “Pistols have infinite ammo” made me chuckle. At least they’re honest about it.

    Frankly, every video game protest is filled with a bunch of whiners who buy the game anyway. There are many, many “fan” forums for every form of entertainment known to man where the people who frequent them complain endlessly about minor or petty things they didn’t like – apparently they bought the product just so they could complain about it. (Asking them as to why they follow the series at all will only yield anger and assumptions that you are a troll.)

  5. I couldn’t agree more. We’ve been having this discussion over on my site as somebody posted the link to the boycott.

  6. Nick says:

    Hopefully they include all this content alongside the original content as well. Original campaign (with original members), original weapons (for more variety, rather than just replacing them with others, include them both!)

    More variety! In the first game, the most variety I ever remarked on was “huh, there’s usually a tank here. Not this time!” I hope the “director AI” changing routes will be random enough, but I bet it will always just be one of two choices usually in the middle of the level, rather than taking a huge maze, cutting off specific routes to make a single path. Change the route, even slightly, and it’s different EVERY time.

    And what video was that first quote watching? While, yes, the player was very spaztic, I never saw him actually playing a console game. Both with the precise look movements, and the one time I saw the “Press E” thing pop up, I knew it was PC.

  7. Chakan says:

    Watching the video, it looks like it was played by a bunch of people that know the map, but not the game, if that makes any sense. Which is entierly possible, considering they might’ve been map designers that didn’t have anything to do with the rest of it till the end. Probably not a good choice, as it felt like there was no cohesion, they all moved willy-nilly, far worse than opening day (of L4D) public games that I played in. The melee weapons seem almost useless, with short range and wide arc, they’re probably only best for hallways with normal infected running at you, in which case, the pistols are a better fallback. On the instrumental crescendo, hopefully they change it, but it is difficult to change from the music in L4D1 without it sounding odd.

    On the side of the boycott, they’re being stupid, for all the reasons you outlined above. Were this any company but Valve, nobody would be griping, and it’s not hard to understand that maybe they’re feeling the crunch of the economy too. Sometimes you gotta take your awsome games as they’re given and remember that it could be worse, you could be playing [trollbait here].

  8. Shadow2336 says:

    I like some of the items they’re adding, like randomly generated paths, but what I don’t like, is that they’re asking full price for this.

    I paid full price for the original, and in my opinion, it was worth every penny. This seems like an over-glorified expansion, rather than a true sequel.

    I’ll just wait until it goes under 30$.

    EDIT: That, and I hope they import the maps from L4D. I’d hate to stop playing No Mercy or Dead Air because I bought a new game.

  9. Danath says:

    Addressing your comments on each point:

    Point 1,people did buy the game for twice the cost of TF2, and expected regular updates to expand the game much like TF2. A new campaign and such was also announced for L4D, and was never delivered. Valve generally has a reputation for being supportive of their games, and you can claim they don’t need to, and you would be absolutly right, however, that’s their reputation at this point, long standing, free dlc to help expand the game and the community, just look at CS! You dont see CS2.

    And by point 2, to clarify, at least to me, it feels like I paid 50 bucks for a beta copy, and they are releasing the more polished “Better” version and asking me to pay another 50 bucks for it.

    For point 3, nearly identical they meant in terms of gameplay, reskinned characters, a few new weapons, people don’t see that as nearly enough content to justify releasing this as a full price sequel.

    Point 4; same as point 3 really. The game looks nearly identicle, and other than polishing it up some more and releasing some slightly different AE/zombies, they havnt made any sweeping changes to the game. People aren’t playing this for the gripping story after all. Although I thin kthe complaint is worded badly, the game will be GOOD… its L4D reskinned after all, with an updated AI director and some new zombies, but it will be the “same” game, which is what alot of sequels do, but my expectations from valve at this point are higher.

    Point 5, ehhhh, I like how the gambler looks, and Coach… don’t care for the mechanic or the new chick, havnt heard enough dialogue to really have an opinion myself, but I do agree that they are garishly dressed.

    And point 6! I don’t mind color, but from what I’m hearing, it makes the game alot less tension filled/frightning simply because its easier to spot the zombies from a distance.

    I agree on point 7.

    For point 8, people feel “entitled” to more content from valve, because valve has delivered that kind of content for their other games, but with L4D2, they wont focus on L4D. This is an expectation Valve has brewed for themselves honestly, and isn’t so much the consumers fault for wanting free content as Valve’s for making people expect it.

    Point 9, see point 8.

    I personally would like a 50% or so discount on L4D2, so that I don’t feel like I am paying full price for my beta L4D1, you can have alot of fun in a beta, you can see lots of content, you can have hours and hours of fun, its still a beta, because the moment L4D was refined enough for their liking, they are releasing L4D2.

    Thats just my personal opinion, woo, long post.

    Overall I agree with their manifesto for the most part, and am part of the boycott group.

  10. gtb says:

    Meh. I don’t care about the new shit, the music, graphics, whatever. I disagree with your post about significant content though. They may have made a new game type, but it just reuses modified versions of the original maps. I don’t consider that “content.” They may have added re-playability, but new content to me would be new campaigns. I bought the game because it was a co-op survival horror game. I have never played the other game modes because they don’t appeal to me. I realize I may be in the minority, but that’s why I bought the game. I paid 50 bucks assuming there would eventually be more than five short campaigns to play.

    And now there is! for another 50 bucks I can get five BRAND NEW ONES.

  11. Mark says:

    Boycott? No, that’s a bit extreme. But how can I be sure that, another year down the line, they won’t release Left 4 Dead 3, that contains every feature of the previous two Left 4 Deads and then some, and is compatible with every third-party map? People don’t like it when their purchases become obsolete quickly and without warning.

    I’ll confess, I was hoping we’d get a bit more life out of Left 4 Dead. Like, an additional campaign or two. Ah well. That’s just me being gullible.

  12. Benjamin Orchard says:

    (This is assuming you play with random people online, which is not something I would proscribe.)

    That word does not mean what you think it means:
    proscribe: to condemn or denounce (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/proscribe)
    prescribe: to endorse or lay out as a course of action (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/prescribe)

    Easy mistake, HUGE difference.

    Oh, and btw, there are always idiots who are willing to complain about new versions of a game. I’m sure that some people are going to avoid Diablo III for various reasons, most of which will be some iteration of the reasons listed above. Same with Starcraft II. Personally, I LIKE to see what gets changed in sequels, and I’m a fan of it. Still don’t like Unreal 3. Yech!

  13. Flunkmaster Chex says:

    This calls for an angry face. Alright, there.

  14. Factoid says:

    They changed the character designs a LOT in the original Left 4 Dead, even after they started showing videos of characters in action. Zoey went through quite a few changes, as did Francis, who at one point was a fat, pudgy greaseball rather than a cut up biker-brawler.

    I would be very surprised if the characters remained unchanged. I also highly doubt that all of the levels will be daytime levels.

    The new weapons look interesting. I don’t have sound, but is that SMG in the video above silenced? That might be an interesting weapon choice given the horde’s affection for gunshot noises. I think it will turn out to be pointless, though, because unless your whole team is committed to being stealthy it won’t help you any.

  15. halka says:

    I know it’s a lot of work to include new models and textures and whatnot into the game. It’s just that, from what i could see, the gameplay didn’t change a bit. I don’t say it’s bad, hell no. I had loads of fun with it. I just have this feeling, that in an alternative universe this new content could pass as a simple expansion (i was tempted to write ‘mod’, but i have my asbestos suit at the cleaners presently) for the original game.

    Ah well, the shovel redeems it, i guess. Personally i’d use the edge instead of the blunt part.

  16. meowmixnstuff says:

    The thing most people don’t understand is that the majority of people playing this game are not playing it on Steam. They are playing it on the Xbox 360. The game has sold 2.5 million 360 copies. The game came out in last year and is currently sold out at my local Wal-Mart and Gamestop.

    Most people playing this on the 360 don’t know what Steam is and don’t know that Valve has a history of providing this content. Yes, we did get the survival pack as free DLC but we 360 users are used to getting our DLC at a price and often times never getting it at all. When this game comes out we will buy it and it will sell many copies.

  17. chabuhi says:

    Neil Gaiman had a nice post on entitlement, prompted by an email from a fan about another author’s failure to deliver what the fan expected in a sequel.

    I’m not saying people don’t have legitimate gripes about what they THINK the sequel will be, but by all means vote with your wallets

  18. Adeon says:

    Where did you get the value of 100,000 boycotters from? The Steam group is currently only 21,000 strong which while still a lot for a community the size of L4D is far short of 100K.

  19. Spider Dave says:

    My problem (and it seems, most people’s problem) with L4D2 is that is just seems like this could be done easily as an expansion. Not even a free one. New maps, setting, and weapons are something TF2 has been adding on to the game (for free) semi-regularly for as long as I’ve had the game (a year and a half now?). Throwing in melee weapons (something TF2 already had to begin with) and re-skinned and re-voiced characters is really not enough to justify this as a full fledged sequel.

    And then there’s the added factor of ripping the fan base in two. Not to mention the characters. (Look at his sleeves for goodness sake!)

    I must say, incendiary rounds do look pretty cool. As does the axe.

  20. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    is assuming you play with random people online, which is not something I would proscribe.

    Very kind of you. I assume that if playing with random people online is something you’d be tempted to proscribe, you certainly would not prescribe it.

    Also, viscous cycle is awesome, like the commenter above said. Not quite as bad as a vicious cycle, just a little bit worse than a vacuous cycle, and lots worse than a vicarious cycle.

    Edit: Ninja’ed. Shamus, given the number of grammarians, vocabularists, syntax sticklers, and language geeks in your comments, you may want to ask yourself, “what am I doing wrong?”

  21. Sam says:

    If Valve puts in a pushbroom melee weapon, I’ll buy it. I also loved the music, though I think I’d be in the vast minority on that.

  22. Mordiceius says:

    My problem with all the people upset is their complete sense of entitlement. I paid full price for the game on launch day. I probably put over 100 hours into the game. I feel like I got my moneys worth.

    Hell, if I can get more than 20 hours of gameplay from a full price game, then I feel that I got my moneys worth. So what if they do not deliver huge mounts of free stuff for L4D, if you played more than 20 hours YOU GOT YOUR MONEYS WORTH. Even more so since so many people did not even pay full retail price for the game.

    Yes, TF2 got a bunch of free content updates and continues to do so, but I feel TF2 is much a different beast than L4D.

    People need to stop complaining so much. Christ.

    I will be picking it up on launch day.

  23. Randolpho says:

    @Jennifer: You want a good viscous cycle? Open a jar of molasses and put it in the dish washer. :)

  24. Mark says:

    @Mordiceius: Not that I’m one of them, but surely there’s a difference between feeling entitled to something and believing that it was promised to you?

  25. Gregory Weir says:

    The funniest thing to me is that all the Angry Internet Men say that Valve won’t be updating L4D1 anymore… even though Valve has said the exact opposite (that they will keep updating L4D1 even with L4D2 coming up). What are they basing this indignation on? Valve may have trouble sticking to schedules, but they barely ever lie.

  26. People scared of change, film at 11.

    More topicfully, if I were valve, I’d have some check where if you have L4D, you have access to an original-mode inside L4D2, to play the original maps against people who only have the original (and including the original maps in the new engine (or that anyway)). Also, I would price it more as an expansion pack than a full sequel, as it’ll sell like hot-cakes then. Well, more like hot-cakes than it will anyway.

    Those two issues are the only /real/ problems I see with it. Everything else seems to be a social problem. Look at the rainbows and unicorns arguement used against the Diablo 3 screenshots. And then of course the comparrison images that shows that Diablo 2 was actually brighter than what’s been released of 3. Again, see the first line of this comment.

  27. What I really don’t get, is that L4D2 is still quite a few months off. I can’t imagine playing a game for hundreds of hours, only to NOT be excited by a sequel. In a few months, I suspect this outrage will turn into salivation.

    Very strange. Also, Valve promised that they had an ace up their sleeve to make this whole situation seem moot. Perhaps they will save it for later?

  28. Mordiceius says:

    What I think is funny is that I expect at least half of those “boycotting” the game to go buy it anyway. So many people just love to make hallow threats on the internet.

  29. Rob says:

    Incendiary Ammo? Ok that’s cool, I’m still not buying this when it comes out but I’m a bit more interested in it now.

  30. Mark says:

    At least in my case, the reason I won’t be getting L4D2 is because L4D1 didn’t keep my attention the way it did some of you guys’. It’s nice to have it around when some guys want to shoot at zombles, but I’m more of a TF2 man, it seems.

  31. SolkaTruesilver says:

    @ Shamus

    Yes. Off course you are. Look at the first thing you say after the posted video. You looked at it too long, and now it is affecting your mental capacity.

  32. Pocket Nerd says:

    The lesson to take away from all this: Don’t buy software if you expect additional content or patches to justify the purchase price.

    Sure, I love content-increasing patches, and I admit I’ve been rather spoiled by Blizzard, BioWare, and other developers who like to give us Free Stuff long after their games are off the bestseller lists. Still, we’ve seen less and less of this as software development got ever more expensive and time-consuming. The trend will certainly continue, and I’d wager the updates we do get will be increasingly tied to a “micropayments” business model. (Why fix your game’s lame, unfair, confining ending for free when people will pay for it? Why charge $30 for an expansion when people will pay $10 each for half a dozen new areas?)

    I don’t like the trend, but I have to be realistic when thinking about how to spend my entertainment budget. I’m not willing to shell out $60 for a short, bug-ridden game that will exhaust its entertainment potential in ten hours. I can always buy it later, after the content expansions, balance updates, and bug fixes have been released”” and hey, by then it might be in the bargain bin for $19.99.

  33. acronix says:

    There´s three sides (yeah, I am so original!) regarding the secuel of a given game: There are those players that would like it to be a whole new thing while mantaining a couple of primordial elements (just as characters, tone, setting); and those that like to play the same game, but with a bunch of tweaks (better graphics, more stuff, more quests, more weapons, but mantaining the perpective, the mechanics, the interface, etc).
    There´s also those that dislike secuels (for various reasons).

    Valve seems to put their bet on “same thing but tweaked” players, while the boycot group is of the opposite kind.
    I agree with them that most of the stuff could have been added as content to the original game, tough. There doesn´t seem to be many(if any) new mechanics that would justify a new game, at least from our perspective. However, I´m sure the developers have their reasons to make an enterely new game instead of an expansion: maybe adding the new content would need a critical restructurisation of the game (we are not aware of what problems the coders and designers may have when implementing this stuff), special infected to the original would need maps to be remade (and maybe be longer to fit them all). So would the new weapons: the silenced ones would require that the map makers remake the original maps so that they are not just a useless item; the whole melee mechanic of the game should be remade to fit the new melee weapons.

  34. Pocket Nerd says:

    Disclaimer about above post: I love L4D1 and have no complaints about the breadth or depth of its content. I certainly got more hours of entertainment from it than from, say, Fallout 3, which has a vastly larger game world. I will certainly buy L4D2 soon after it is released.

  35. moswald says:

    Stick me firmly in the “I’m getting it, and I don’t understand why you guys are bitching” camp. I also hope they re-think that music.

    Also, I hope they get around to fixing the bug where zombies climb the dumbest things for no reason (see the above video at about 4:30 where a zombie jumps to the top of a streetlamp and then falls off).

  36. Cineris says:

    Even though I enjoy L4D and look forward to playing it, it hasn’t been the kind of purchase that I normally make when it comes to videogames — Slam dunk games that offer literally years of enjoyment under constant play.
    For me, L4D only remains playable because I am playing with people I know and enjoy hanging out with. If the criteria is, “Did I have fun playing it with a bunch of friends” then almost any game meets that. Heck, just sitting around and talking with people meets that more often than not. So I’m not really convinced by the metrics people constantly deploy to justify the value of the game to others themselves.

    The fact that Valve is more-than-not failing to deliver on a promise that was one reason I bought the game … Has eroded a lot of my good will for Valve. I think boycotting L4D2 is silly, but I’m not going to buy L4D2 on Valve’s past reputation alone. It’s “Wait and see” instead of “I know I am going to get this.” Besides, there will be Starcraft 2 eating up my gaming time.

  37. radio_babylon says:

    this has made me really really glad i didnt buy l4d. i played the pre-release demo and found it sorely lacking, so i didnt pre-order. everyone told me “hey its valve, go ahead and pre-order, the release version will be great!” but i was so underwhelmed, i passed…

    i played the released game a few times at a friend’s place, and again found it lacking. and again, my friends said, “well, its valve, so you know theyre going to release a bunch of free stuff for it, so its safe to go ahead and buy it now!” but still, i passed.

    l4d as released was in no way remotely near a $50-quality game. it felt more like a mod, or a $20 reflexive arcade kind of game. theres nothing wrong with that, ive bought my share of them… but im not about to pay $50 (or $40, or even $20) for it. and as it turns out i did exactly the right thing in waiting, because it looks like theyve decided to turn l4d into a REAL game that *might* be worth $50. whats been described so far still falls short, but if they add more, ill consider giving it a shot at release.

    but i totally understand the anger at valve, id be mad as hell too if i paid full price for a barely-demo-quality game, then found out they were going to charge me full price AGAIN for a real game this time around.

  38. vdgmprgrmr says:

    If I were to boycott L4D2 (which I am not… I’m just not buying it… because I don’t have money), it would be because Valve is not allocating their efforts properly.

    From what I can see, it’s 100% L4D2, and 0% HL2:3.

    I’d at least like to see 50/50. With nice fan-candy (trailers, screens, etc.) coming out of both sides.

  39. briatx says:

    I won’t even consider buying this until I see episode 3.

  40. Kronski says:


    All your points seem reasonable, save #3. It seems to me that both games use essentially the same game mechanics; there is no difference in game play elements in the two games. (Have teammates, must co-operate to survive against different types of zombies.)

    Is there anything in L4D2 that could not be released as
    downloadable content for L4D1?

    • Shamus says:

      Kronski: But it DOES have different mechanics: Melee combat and incendiary rounds. And new infected.

      This is the question I posed at the end, and several people said the games are too similar without saying what would make the game sequel-worthy. What are you looking for? I mean, it’s a game about shooting zombies, what could be changed? They could add vehicle sections or sidequests or leveling, or somesuch, but I don’t think it would make the game better. What gameplay changes are you expecting?

  41. Neil Polenske says:

    *Big long post saying all the things Danath has already said.*

  42. Duffy says:

    I’m chalking this one up to rabid fans. When I first saw the complaints of missing content I did a quick search as I was unaware of such promises. The best I found was Blizzard/Valve joint patented statements akin to “we’d like to…” or “eventually…”, I have not managed to find a concrete promise. If there is one, I would love to be directed to it by anyone that reads this.

    As to my thoughts on the matter, I pretty much agree with you Shamus. I’m mystified by what people expect or feel they are entitled to. L4D does not lend itself well to updates of the TF2 scale, nor does it make any sense for radical gameplay changes.

    Knowing Valve I’ll give then the benefit of the doubt that by the time they release L4D2 I’ll consider it worth the money.

    Also, I was actually waiting for the Half-Life 3 (instead of episode 3) announcement during E3. Since they didn’t…I would love to know what they are doing with it.

  43. Mephane says:

    I’d much more prefer an expansion to Left for Dead instead of a whole new replacement game. With new characters to choose (for example, you can choose to play any of the old and new characters on any map), new weapons also on the old maps etc.

    Given the way the game is set up, it would also make much more sense. This here reminds me very strongly of Star Wars Battlefront 2, which could totally have been an awesome expansion instead of a seperated game with some new gameplay elements, stripped off some long-loved maps and gameplay elements (orbital strike anyone?). If they would have just added Jedi gameplay and space battles to the first game with an expansion, it could have been so great, but, well…

    Valve would have really done a huge favor to itself and its customers if they were instead making an expansion. After the footage above I am not feeling compelled to even look forward to L4D2, deep inside I am even slightly hoping it’ll turn out exactly as it looks like in the video, as I could then just stick with L4D and not care about this new thing.

    I am not planning on boycotting it, nor am I excited about it in any way. It’s rather a “meh, let’s see how it will turn out”.

  44. Mark says:

    I would say the most objectionable thing about Left 4 Dead 2 is the title, because it signifies the death of its predecessor, which many people had hoped would live on long enough to get an additional campaign.

  45. meowmixnstuff says:

    It seems that lots of people are dancing around this, but I believe that this bears mention: Because L4D doesn’t have a true “story mode”, a second game will be be more of the same with just a reskin of everything. When people buy a sequel game, rarely are their many changes to the multiplayer. It is a new “story mode” that sells many games not the multiplayer. However, what should be enough content to warrant another game isn’t enough to warrant a new game from the masses that want all of the content as free DLC.

  46. Mordiceius says:

    Why do people automatically assume that since Valve is making L4D2, they are stopping all support and any content creation for L4D?

    EDIT: As for the “gamechanger” that is being talked about from Valve… I think we will end up seeing L4D2 and HL2:Ep3 bundled together in a new box from them.

  47. RTBones says:

    Hmmm…after seeing that, I’m really not sure what all the hub-bub is about, either for or against the game. This trailer makes it “feel” like an expansion pack to me. I actually like the daylight, enjoy the new characters. The frying pan I find hysterical. The other new weapons shown…meh. The axe does nothing for me, the new ammunition – while interesting, to me is just, well, meh. The music doesnt bother me. Dont hate it, dont love it, doesnt really add atmosphere for me. At least one partially recycled sound effect from HL2 (the alarm going off around 2:20 in…) Melee combat is new, but is really just an outgrowth of the new weapons. I think the clip needs to be re-done with people who know the game AND the map. Sheesh. Spaz pretty much hits the nail on the head.

    In short, I see nothing here that calls to me to buy this game on release. Not that I am boycotting, I just dont see enough “new” to warrant a full-price purchase. Is there an actual story this time? I would be happy to play the current L4D on new maps. Will I get it eventually? Probably, but only after the price drops. HL2:E3, however, I will buy as soon as I can…which will probably be around the time they bring back Firefly for a new season.

  48. Cineris says:

    I want to elaborate a bit on my statement on why L4D is not a
    “slam dunk game that offer[s] literally years of enjoyment under constant play.”

    L4D is an extremely fragile game. You need 7 other friends of roughly equivalent skill level to have an enjoyable time. The fact is borne out for me by the fact that every game of L4D I play is essentially scheduled. Lobby is created at 9:30, invites go out until 10pm and then the game starts if enough players show up.

    What happens when you have a friend that buys a new game and plays that instead, has to work late, gets caught up with real life, or just gets bored with L4D? Either you find a replacement or no one plays. And if you’ve got 10 people who want to play, 2 are always going to get left out. That may not seem like a big deal, but a good Versus game can go over two hours, and if someone has cleared that time expecting to play it is unfair that they can’t. You can’t even spectate the game and chat with people on voice, which would at least be something.

    If you get a replacement for a missing man and your replacement is not around the skill level of your group, chances are you are not going to have a good time. Getting stomped as Survivors is not fun, but even as Infected, stomping the other team and going into round 4 knowing that there is no mathematical way for the other team to catch up just makes it boring.

    It’s just not the kind of game that you can hop on and play on a random server and consistently have fun. So the game itself is subject to all these outside organizational constraints. To give an analogy, it’s like trying to organize a 8 person D&D group and having all of them show up consistently.

  49. Mark says:

    @Mark (yeah, that’s going to get confusing):
    I still think they should have called it “Left 5 Dead.” Worlds better than “Thi4f.”

  50. Carra says:

    A few things stuck out. The daylight settings looks nice and makes it look completely different. And one of the guys saying he loves horses.

    The music just doesn’t fit though. The melee fighting looked a bit weird but that’s often the case with first person shooters.

    It is early to already bring an expansion which makes me wonder if this will be a glorified expansion pack. But it’s Valve we’re talking about so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. I do think that they would have been better of with bringing a CS3. Left 4 dead is just too recent in our memories.

  51. Guido says:

    Actually, I liked the movie’s movement. It finally doesn’t make it painfully obvious that whoever made the movie played with a console controller like so many L4D movies did – he actually hits what he wants to aim at, and doesn’t wildly sway left and right like those horrible analog sticks make everybody do.

    To say it with Francis: I hate consoles.

  52. The S Ninja says:

    I have nothing against the game per-say but I think that if they can pump out Left 4 Dead on an annual basis, where the heck is Half-life 2: Episode 3?

  53. Johannes says:

    While I was reading the posts, it suddenly dawned on me that Valve can actually count themselves quite lucky with all those vocal L4D-fans.

    1. They release some footage of a game that clearly isn’t finished yet (I think we can all agree on that; some more than others maybe, but well…).
    2. They get an enormous amount of feedback, the negative being overly negative indeed, but there’s also positive feedback. Just read all posts on this page: exactly what are Valve’s pluspoints, as far as we’re concerned? That is, assuming Valve visits sites like these, of course.
    3. They do not have a large amount of time anymore. Well, what if they’ll eventually say the game will NOT be released at the scheduled date? Well, then NOTHING. All they need to say is: “sorry guys, but we actually are taking our fans seriously, and the changes we’re making accordingly make it impossible for us to release the game in November.” (if fans then start to complain, all they need to do is show a little something of EP3 and everything will be fine. ;))
    4. I don’t believe they’re going to ignore their fanbase. So I’m looking forward to what Valve will be doing with the complaints of these 21,000 (and more) L4D-adepts…

    There’s countless games to compare this with – all those (non-Valve) games that were so highly anticipated and yet disappointed so many people. If only they’d have the chance to speak out at a time when the game was still in development…

    Oh, and then some:

    Adeon: Where did you get the value of 100,000 boycotters from? The Steam group is currently only 21,000 strong which while still a lot for a community the size of L4D is far short of 100K.

    That’s still an increase of 12,000 members over the past, ah, week or so. Last time I checked, which wasn’t long ago, it was only 9,000 strong.

    Cineris: It's just not the kind of game that you can hop on and play on a random server and consistently have fun.

    That’s your perspective of this game. Frankly, mine differs completely. If I find a server with good players, I have a blast. If I’m not lucky, I will be patient with the other players (assuming it is not *me* being the weakest link, of course ;)). I find L4D having a strong social component, in that a good number of players really are social enough to actually try to teach other, less experience players something.

    Of course, there’s also the less social guys. Well, I don’t encounter many of them.

  54. Face says:

    It’s technically a new game related to an old one that people liked. Big whoop…..you buy the game and you either like it or you don’t. At least with this purchase you are familiar with teh developer’s work and you know if you liked or didn’t like the older game.

    Odds are if you liked L4D1 you’ll like L4D2. I don’t see…or more correctly, I don’t understand the hoopla. These people that are up in arms obviously liked the old game and they are probably still playing it. The complaint of not enough content doesn’t makes sense if you are still playing the game! Pretty much by definition if you’re still enjoying the game there is enough content.

    What I would love to be able to do is install either/both games to my Xbox HD and be able to play either with only one disc in the drive. If I sit down to play L4D and I put my disc in (like you have to even for an installed game) I want to play. If there aren’t enough players one on game I’d like to not have to get up and switch discs so I can see if people are up for the other game.

    Honestly, if they could offer L4D2 as a content download for the L4D1 and it cost me the same price….I’d be all over it. Whatever makes it easier to play…..

  55. Joe Cool says:

    How dare Valve not take 6 years to release a sequel! I’m outraged that they would begin work on the sequel immediately after the release of the first game, so we don’t have to wait inordinately long amounts of time! Shame on Valve! I demand more free content than 99% of other games and a longer development cycle! Boycott! Boycott!

    I do have to say, it doesn’t seem as atmospheric as the first. The darkness and spooky music of the first really did creep me out. The brightly-colored city and fiddle music, while interesting, do not project the same atmosphere.

    And to echo other commenters, what makes you think the video was taken from a console? How many consoles do you know that have an “E” key?

  56. Cineris says:


    There’s a skill element and a social element to why L4D is unfun to play in public games. But the social element is by far the more substantial reason in my book. I don’t have a problem with reducing my level of play to a more casual level if it will make for a more enjoyable game for everyone.

    What I can’t stand is the behavior of fellow players who are constantly either talking smack, trying to pin the blame for their own failures on others, griefing or ragequitting. Having a game with players who are all polite and supportive, stick with it to the end and don’t purposefully engage in bad manner practices is an exception. If I really wanted to spend my free time participating in some person’s drama I’d join a theater group.

  57. Neil Polenske says:

    Should have called it Left 4 Doom II. AMIRITE!?!?!!!!

    …geddit? :P

    Look, my razor-like wit aside, L4D2 looks like what has been said: an expansion pack or a very good mod. Two things that by their nature are either cheap or flat out free. Trust me when I say this wouldn’t be NEARLY as big an issue if it weren’t for the price tag. Why in GOD’s name would I want to pay ANOTHER $50 to do the same damn thing? Having different models and geometry do not a new game make.

    But that’s already been said, so I’ll try to answer Shamus’ recent inquiry:

    If I’m gonna pay for a new game, I want to do something different. L4D isn’t about shooting zombies, it’s about SURVIVING zombies. It’s about getting from point a to point b intact, all the hefty nerfs that have been placed on the game are all in the name of co-op survival – i.e. shooting ‘n healing. If your gonna release a brand new game, shake up the game mechanics a bit.

    – Puzzle solving
    We’ve got L4D down pat right? The people who play the game, play it a LOT. We GET how the game works and what to do to survive. So let’s change that up a bit. Instead of of the ‘barrier’ scenarios, how about a lil puzzle sections, where folks have to split up to do simultaneous or co-ordinate their actions in order to proceed. They don’t have to be Brain-Fryers, but just a lil sumthin sumthin that shows teamwork is more than just one guy w/ the shotty up front crouched and one guy w/ an assault rifle behind standing. The L4D series is a game style that has room for strategy is all I’m saying.

    – Enviromental Manipulation
    One of HL2’s biggest selling points was it’s physics engine. People were all up ins about the damn physics. Well…why not here? Why not blow up crap to create barriers? It’s been PROVEN in the original game that a tank a well placed knock of a car over a manhole cover can effectively halt a game of vs (whether that’s been fixed or not, I’m not sure). Well why not attempt that ‘for realsies’? Add c4 to the inventory and you got your self a whole new game mechanic. Something that doesn’t STOP the horde, but maybe slow ’em down if put in the right spot.

    All of this to say they SHOULD have tried to evolve the GAME, not the textures.

    • Shamus says:

      Looking at the movement some more, I can see it’s not a console, but the motion in the video feels VERY jerky and unnatural. Look at the 1:35 mark. He runs through the hedge maze and instead of looking smoothly from side to side, he’s “nudging” from side to side. Is this a console player using a mouse? Is it just a different (and nauseating) style of play? Is he using a two-inch mouse pad?

  58. Kronski says:

    @ Shamus, 45

    I agree that it is difficult to make any major changes to the game dynamic. What I am trying to say is that it would be nice of Valve to release all this is free stuff for L4D1, since it seems like it would be both easy and possible to do this. They don’t need to make a sequel.

    Of course, that won’t happen, because they do have to make money. So I’m not sure what my point is, exactly.

  59. SatansBestBuddy says:

    If I’m not mistaken, that’s the PC version in the video that you called the 360 version.

  60. TehShrike says:

    Aedion is right, the group is only at 22,000 now (though that’s 2000 more than when I checked a day or two ago). Where did you get 100,000 from?

    The only thing I’m really worried about is having two separate games – I want to be able to switch from a new campaign to one of the original ones, without switching games.

  61. Kronski says:

    @ TehShrike

    See, this is what I’m saying. Wouldn’t it be better to have an expansion pack or more DLC instead of a whole new game?

  62. Danath says:


    Heres the thing, L4D has melee combat, button 3, remapping “main weapons” for “improved melee combat” isnt exactly leaps and bounds away, they just added a greater variety of weapons and options, and for that I am rather thankful. Heck, I used to run through maps meleeing with my medkit, it was fun, and I’m glad for this. L4D2 currently just has some AI tweaks, and some new weapons, and slightly modded models, and all this has been done in 7 months. This is not a groundbreaking new game, it is further polish and expansion on what L4D has delivered… and is exactly what you would call expansion material.

    @Everyone who says “I got 50 bucks worth of enjoyment from this game”, thats great, but thats not the point, the point is Valve has a reputation, and many people initially bought L4D based on that reputation. Valve did not support L4D in the same way they have other titles, and it made people angry for having invested 50 dollars in a game that will be going obsolete so quickly, as opposed to other titles which last years upon years upon years.

    This action has eroded goodwill, sure Valve CAN do it, but it still makes people upset to have their expectations trodden on. There is a reason companies like EA have such bad reputations and fledgling sales on many of their new IPs, they are not known for quality and goodwill, although they appear to be trying to break this image at this point.

  63. Kaneohe says:

    Sidenote: The “$1,000 dollar suit” is an Arrested Development reference – a quote from Gob Bluth. And that wasn’t the real price then, either.

  64. Ericc says:

    I’ll probably get L4D2.

    That being said, I’d prefer it if it was released as gradual expansions or as DLC for the first game. Business-wise, I feel it may make Valve significantly more money by parceling it out in smaller increments while making the overall cost for downloading everything higher. It would ease the $60 sticker (I only play consoles).

    I know, unusual to see someone wanting to pay more but I’m willing to pay more for quality content.

    But oh well. I got my money’s worth out of the game.

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