Left 4 Dead 2! Wait. What?

The recent announcement of Left 4 Dead 2 has had mixed responses from the gaming community: some people were happy, most were a little confused, and quite a few were severely pissed off. Left 4 Dead had just come out in November and most people were waiting for more content from Valve, namely campaigns.

When the Survival update came out, people were glad for any new content, but overall, a resounding “meh” was heard. People wanted new campaigns. They had played out the existing ones to death. Some had played through them so many times that they started creating custom rules to keep it fresh. Instead we got a 99% rehash and an unlocking of a couple of versus maps that should have been there since release.

The content problems wouldn’t have really been an issue, but Valve kept pushing back the release of the SDK, consequently pushing back any custom maps that the mod community had been working on. Valve finally released the beta on May 15th, but then just two weeks later, they announced Left 4 Dead 2. That was some really odd timing.

This all seems very unlike Valve, which has become famous for extremely long development times. A good example would be the Half Life 2 episodes. They said they wanted to go to an episodal model so they could speed up new content but proceeded to take the about the same amount of time to create an episode as most developers do an entire game.

I’m guessing Valve wasn’t expecting all this nerd rage. They thought gamers would be happy about the announcement of new game. Sadly, they were a little short sighted.

I feel that there are three types of people who bought Left 4 Dead. There were those who bought the game thinking it to be a solid single player game, followed by those who were looking forward to the competitiveness of versus mode, and there were those who were looking for something coop that they could play together with their friends. People looking purely for a single player game, while they may have enjoyed the game, would have probably felt that it was a little short from the very beginning. The four campaigns were just not enough. Versus or coop players, though having a different gaming experience, found more replay-ability in the game. Coop even had the advantage of upping the difficulty for those who wanted a larger challenge. All the same, there were only so many times one could play through the same maps.

Sadly, something I think that many people may not be considering is the economy. So many game companies are currently laying off their employees – maybe even Valve is hurting now, economically. They release so much free content for their games that they spoil gamers so that we expect more value for our dollar.

New facts have come to light since the original announcement. Doug Lombardi of Valve has said they are looking into cross-play between owners of both L4D 1 and L4D2. Also, they keep saying that it will all make sense when people know the big picture. That makes me think that they may be trying to release something along the lines of the Orange Box: one release with multiple games.

I have to agree with Wolf, who said that this would have been avoided had Valve called L4D2 an expansion and charged $40. With all that said, Valve seems to always do right with their fans in the long run even if they don’t always get it right the first time. So for now, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and wait and see.

1 Comment

  • Taco
    25 Jul 2009

    I was waiting for y’all to bring up this topic. It’s interesting to see your take on it. I hadn’t taken the economy into consideration and I do agree with being “spoiled” with the additional content valve supplies for free. However I am one of the many pissed off mainly because I expected the additional content with the purchase price. Which in my opinion as of today was not worth the money.

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