Left 4 Dead DLC, Campaigns, New Mode, SDK

By Jim Rossignol on February 5th, 2009 at 6:44 pm.


Edit: reader research suggests this is free – see comments – but still no official response from Valve. We’ll let you know, but assume it is free!

Valve say: “The first L4D DLC – dubbed the L4D Survival Pack — is due for release this spring and introduces a new multiplayer game mode entitled, Survival, plus two complete campaigns for Versus Mode.” They also say: “In addition, for PC gamers and aspiring developers, the first Left 4 Dead release for the Source Software Development Kit (Source SDK) will allow the creation of custom Left 4 Dead campaigns that will be discoverable via L4D’s matchmaking system. The SDK update is also due for release this spring, and is free of charge to all owners of L4D on the PC.”

There’s also a new retail version of the game also due in the spring, called “Critic’s Choice”, with all that stuff to be included.

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161 Comments »

  1. Jockie says:

    Any word yet on pricing? I was still hoping they’d only charge for the 360 version really. Looking forward to it though, survival mode sounds to me like some kind of endless horde mode, which could be interesting.

  2. PFC Skinner says:

    Survival, possibly similar to CoD WaW zombie mode?

  3. Nick says:

    Wait..they are charging for this? What the hell?

  4. Dr_demento says:

    Any word on whether the new campaigns will be playable outside versus mode? Because otherwise that sounds…. silly.

  5. SenatorPalpatine says:

    The DLC better be free or I’ll be sad.

  6. Tei says:

    L4D: $50 the 2 first campaings + $20 the next 2 ones = $70 to play Versus on the 4 campaings of the game.

  7. AlexW says:

    Wait what? Calm down, it doesn’t say anywhere that they’re charging for it.

    I’m assuming the Vs Campaigns are Death Toll and Dead Air. Not even Valve is THAT obtuse.

  8. Nick says:

    The ‘new’ versus campaigns are probably Dead Air and Blood Harvest. The ones that should have been in the full release but weren’t, thus giving the best game mode half the content.

  9. Dzamir says:

    This spring.. why not now?? :’(

  10. Nick says:

    AlexW – the line “he SDK update is also due for release this spring, and is free of charge to all owners of L4D on the PC.”

    Suggests that the other stuff ISN’T free of charge. I’ll happily be wrong, but if I’m not that’s the last bastion of hope for Pc Development gone over to the darkside.

  11. Janek says:

    Dr Demento: I strongly suspect they’re just Dead Air and Death Toll. So yes, they probably are ¬_¬

    And yeah Jim you’d better get cracking on clarifying whether DLC automatically implies paying for it before legions of AIMs descend once more upon Valve’s tasty flesh.

    (I really hope not)

  12. Little Green Man says:

    Its Death Toll and Dead Air that were the last two campaigns; Blood Harvest was a versus map with No Mercy from the start.

    Other thoughts: Yes, if they actually charge for this then a whole leigon of avid game fans will have lost one of their knights in shining amrour (I know Valve exists solely to make money, but y’know). That comment certainly does seem to be implying it. Ah well, we can only wait and see.

  13. Nick says:

    Yeah I typod and there is no edit function, not like I haven’t played it to death what with it being one of two.

  14. sbs says:

    DownloadableContent, innit?

  15. Nighthood says:

    I would have said that Valve would never charge, but I don’t know.

  16. Heliocentric says:

    Dey Like Cash?

    Nah this will be free, put down your pitchforks down.

  17. BooleanBob says:

    Bah, all I can see a new retail pack doing is keeping the price point for the game above that £15 sweet spot that would convince me to buy it.

    That said, it remains pretty awesome that Valve continue to build on their games post release, even if they do seem to be coming around to the idea of demanding extra money for supplying that extra content.

  18. Lorc says:

    I’m desperately hoping that the “two new versus campaigns” are two actual new campaigns that happen to be versus-enabled. And not just death toll and dead air versified.

    I kind of doubt it though.

    Shame. I was rather hoping for a new campaign and a new boss infected to revistalise my interest in LFD.

  19. Markoff Chaney says:

    L4D as it stands as a 50 dollar product is quite an enjoyable game, but a little underwhelming. The promise of the PC version, of being on a known engine with probable SDK release and development by a known name that fosters long term customer satisfaction and free content updates for free with games at lower price points is what makes the 50 dollars a worthwhile investment in long term enjoyable fun. If the DLC is for pay on the PC, we will have absolutely lost a bastion of our PC Development world.

    The suggestion is there that there is a cost associated with the product they are offering, except for the SDK on the PC. That is the only explicit mention of monetary exchange (or lack thereof). Valve may learn that cost goes both ways. Short term per quarter revenue up from that DLC? Long term legion of slavering fans supporting your Digital Delivery System may go down.

  20. Nighthood says:

    Also, at this point you should be glad you are getting anything. Some companies would give away no extra content at all.

  21. Dzamir says:

    On steam “coming soon” games list there is the Left 4 Dead Survival Pack at 14,99 €
    :o

  22. Dzamir says:

    hehehe just kidding ! :D

  23. Pags says:

    the line “he SDK update is also due for release this spring, and is free of charge to all owners of L4D on the PC.”

    Suggests that the other stuff ISN’T free of charge.

    How I read it too. Also the release of a new special edition type deal (the Critic’s Choice thing) with that stuff included could be seen as a hint that it’ll be paid-for content. But this is me reading between the lines, so whether or not that’s actually the case remains to be seen.

  24. Jockie says:

    That was a cruel thing to say Dzamir. I almost exploded all over the comments page with rage.

    As is, i guess it’s a wait and see and put my faith in valve and hope for the best. £15 for the 2 vs campaigns and a new mode sounds overpriced to me.

  25. Downloads_Plz says:

    One of the key factors in my, and I’m sure a great many others, decisions to buy L4D was something along the line of “It’s Valve, so that means they’ll keep improving it and adding things to it for free, so it’s well worth my $50 now.”

    If this content turns out not to be free, they’ll see more immediate revenue, but at the same time have lost that trump card, which in the future will mean people such as myself may not be so keen to blindly throw our wallets at them.

  26. amishmonster says:

    I read “two two complete campaigns for versus mode” as meaning two entirely new campaigns that will be available in both modes (or, all modes? Will Survival be on new maps or the old ones?), but maybe that’s just my optimism speaking.

    My guess is that the DLC will cost something on Xbox Live, as Valve has stated that as a main roadblock to updating TF2 (I think). Otherwise, why mention that the SDK will be for free on the PC, especially since it’s just an SDK update? I thought that the SDK is already out there.

    Anyway, I don’t want to read too much (or any more, heh) into a very brief press release.

  27. A-scale says:

    It would be a very poor mocve for the longterm of they make this a pay dlc. At 50 bucks this was a very expensive game for what it is, and I bought it with the expressed intent of getting dlc for that initial price. With new competition in the downloadable games field a faux pas like this could spell the doom of Valve.

  28. Premium User Badge

    James G says:

    Hmm, I’d seen hints before that Valve may charge for additional L4D content, and this item certainly doesn’t do anything to dissuade that notion. Then again, they may just realise that it would be bad form to go ‘and this will be availible for purchase on the xBox market place, or is free to PC users.’

    But the thing is, Valve have been quite adament about the benifits of providing TF2 content addons for free. I’m hoping they stick by that, but I guess we shall see.

  29. Ging says:

    It clearly won’t be free – otherwise why’d they re-release it as part of a “critics choice” retail version? (if it were free, they wouldn’t need to change the retail version at all, just throw in a leaflet that said “be sure to download this *free* dlc!”)

    They might do the PC version for free – with the sdk available, it won’t take long before some bright sparks make the conversions themselves and release them for free. But the console versions will almost certainly be paid DLC and tbh, that’s something I don’t mind overly – if it’s around the 800 MS point mark (ie, about a fiver) than that’s pretty reasonable for a mini-expansion.

  30. Dinger says:

    Haven’t seen the “coming soon” link. If they did charge for DLC, it would represent an interesting reversal of their policy, as stating to Eurogamer last year, and reiterated three weeks ago at the Game Business Law summit:

    Holtman also talks about giving away a character class for Team Fortress 2. Traditional thinking says: “You monetize investments by charging for them.” But, he reveals, when Valve gives away it’s content, sales spike for several products, both at retail and through Steam.

    So I guess I’d be surprised by such a sudden about-face, if it turns out to be the case. Of course, I wouldn’t want to write a press release saying the XboX DLC cost money and the PC DLC was free.

  31. A-scale says:

    Ging makes a very good point. I think. Want to cry. Goodnight, sweet prince.

  32. Markoff Chaney says:

    That’s my other thought.

    “This is Valve. They don’t charge for content on the PC. They are being forced to charge for it on consoles.”

    Until we have more information, we can do nothing save flail between our pre-conceived beliefs.

  33. cyrenic says:

    Re-releasing a “Critics Choice” retail version will drive retail sales. Valve has mentioned before when they release free content updates it renews interest in the game and they see a spike in sales. So, to me, that doesn’t imply anything about the content’s actual price.

    The “free” SDK comment sure makes me uneasy though. Like several of you, I bought L4D assuming content updates for it would be free. I hope that doesn’t come back to bite me in the ass.

    I don’t understand why they would start charging for DLC now, the free content updates are what differentiate Valve from everyone else.

  34. Eli Just says:

    it better be free or i’ll be pissed as hell. That was not enough content for $50, and i bought it on the promise of the SDK and free DLC.

  35. Steve says:

    It’s probably free. Valve like to give free content.

  36. Premium User Badge

    James G says:

    @Ging

    Counterpoint: Changing the box design and slapping ‘critics choice’ on the box will be advertising. Customers will spot the new game on the shelves and will become aware of additional content. It will also provide a leveraging point for gaining prime shelf space. Furthermore, for Xbox users where the DLC will definately be charged for, it will be a plus, and changing PC boxes will give unity across the platforms. As an added bonus, remastering the discs will reduce the load on the Steam servers, and the delay before the customer can begin playing the game.

    I think ultimately all we can do is wait and hope Valve speak. I can’t help thinking though that this (assuming they do charge PC users) would be percieved as an own goal by the PC community, and would damage Valve’s considerable reputation in the long run. When you have a good rep, it becomes harder to maintain it.

  37. Mr Chug says:

    If my detour to Game today was anything to go by they’re still charging full price for L4D at retail. My bet would be it’s an excuse to re-release with new packaging and ‘look at all these people saying it’s good’ on the front at the same price. Charging for DLC after the TF2 updates would just be so… EA.

  38. Monkfish says:

    I’d almost be prepared to pay just for the entertainment I’m getting from watching the wild (and already rather angry) speculation build on the Steam forums. Wheee!

    Perhaps Valve should wheel their spokesmouse back out to provide a wee bit of clarification before the corner of the internet populated by L4D customers explodes.

  39. MarvintheParanoidAndroid says:

    @Pags, Ging: I disagree, see Unreal Tournament 2004. They released the Editor’s Choice Edition which packed in the original game, a bunch of bonus maps, all the patches etc, and the ECE bonus pack with even more maps and new vehicles, but all of that extra content was completely free to download as well.

    I suppose I’ll just wait and see… Epic and Valve are the two companies I still have hope in for massive free DLC releases, I’m hoping something good happens for UT3, and until I hear confirmation otherwise I’ll continue to have hope for L4D.

  40. jonfitt says:

    I’m keeping one hand on the pitchfork. L4D is brilliant, but it was expensive for its length especially following TF2/Orange Box.
    I consoled (!) my self by saying that there would definitely be free updates.

    One thing to bear in mind is AFAIK you cannot release significant content on XBL for free. In order to protect the horse-armour retailers MS say you must charge for everything even if you don’t want to.

    Valve may be the ones to change that, but I would not be surprised if it were free on PC and money on Xbox.

  41. jonfitt says:

    Still, if the SDK is free and Valve decide to charge for maps, perhaps we will see the resurgence of the quality community map?
    De_ZombieDust ?

  42. Pags says:

    It all depends on whether they’ll continue to stock vanilla L4D, or whether the new edition just replaces it (similar to Half-Life GOTY edition iirc). If it’s the latter, then yeah it’s probably free. If it’s the former… well, it could still be free, but it’s doubtful.

    Given the disappointment of the paid-for DLC for Fallout 3, it would be a shame to see Valve going down the same road, even if the content is decent. I suppose this is all just a case of wait and see.

  43. Steve says:

    MarvintheParanoidAndroid: Epic strayed from the path of the true platform long ago. They’re money-grabbing douchebags now with the Gears series. I regret buying UT3 massively, what a disappointment.

  44. cyrenic says:

    More baseless speculation follows:

    If the 360 version is going to cost money, and the PC version is not, Valve has to be very careful about how they throw around the word “Free”. Saying the content is free for one format would cause some people to assume the content was free for both platforms.

    So, optimistically, this is Valve being very careful about how they’re going to announce the 360 content costs money while the PC version does not.

  45. jonfitt says:

    Cyrenic: That’s what I was thinking/hoping.

    Jim, do you have anyone at Valve you could call/contact? You should see the Steam Forums: Ass. Plode.
    Launch your team of flying monkey reporters and get us the scoop!

  46. eyemessiah says:

    Yeah, I think they are just being *really* careful with the wording. I suspect the new content will be free. I also suspect that in a small way they may be using the lack of clarity as a means to “test the water” to see just how rabid things could get if they ever do go down the paid DLC route.

  47. Hypocee says:

    Until I hear otherwise, I’m sanguine that it’ll be free on its home platform. In addition to that recent talk, I heard another wording of it in the PCG podcast – a Valve guy saying that they ‘just don’t think that way’ about content. Expand, sell the base. Expand, sell the base. I’ll be as scornful as anyone if they charge for this, but that’s because I’ll be completely surprised.

  48. cyrenic says:

    The steam forums are hilarious, there are two competing threads over there right now, confident in their titles:

    “Extremely satisfied that the additional content will be for free”

    “Extremely disappointed that the expansion pack will cost money.”

  49. Rei Onryou says:

    The only reason I can think of them mentioning cost is due to 360 owners needing to pay. No doubt that was a multi-platform comment. If Valve charge, I will be surprised to say the least.

  50. jonfitt says:

    @eyemessiah: Apparently, very rabid!