Left 4 Dead 2 – Podcast With Chet Faliszek

By John Walker on June 1st, 2009 at 7:19 pm.

Imagine a big banner boasting Chet's name on this too.

In a world exclusive audio interview, Rock, Paper, Shotgun sat down with Valve’s project lead, Chet Faliszek, to discuss the freshly revealed Left 4 Dead 2.

Within is comprehensive coverage of the new game, the new ideas, the new weapons and campaigns and characters and Infected. You’ll find this nowhere else on the internet. It’s still a Rock, Paper, Shotgun podcast, of course, so there’s also plenty of discussion about our mums, swine flu, and Chet’s horror at John’s foul language. Chet talks not only about the new elements to the game, but also gives us some background as to why Valve chose to make a whole new game, rather than expanding upon the original. There’s also information on how this doesn’t mean L4D is forgotten.


And if that sounds too sensible, you can also hear John ask Chet questions like, “2?” and “Is this the best interview you’ve ever had?”

To get hold of it, you can download the file directly from here, or visit the podcast page here. And you can find it on iTunes here or RSS to it here.

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66 Comments »

  1. Solario says:

    Left 4 Dead 2 do wot?!

  2. Stupoider says:

    I have only one thing to say.

    Full dynamic flash lights for all the survivors at the same time or no buy. Really, it’s annoying in L4D when you’ve got 4 flashlights in a dark room yet only one is actually working. :(

    Aaah, what am I saying. I highly doubt I’ll be buying this (although.. maybe. I do enjoy Valve’s games). The reaction on the Steampowered Forums isn’t looking too good.

  3. spirit7 says:

    The rage (no pun intended, hur hur) so far seems pretty unwarranted. Those of you who are moaning about L4D’s pricing, how many of you DIDN’T get your money’s worth?

    I think this is a positive announcement. Also, given Valve’s size, the very fact they’re developing this doesn’t mean Episode 3 (or, *prays*, Half-Life 3) isn’t being pressed on with.

    In fact, I would be EXTREMELY surprised if Valve weren’t developing a next-gen engine and game to go with it.

  4. Bobby McDarin says:

    Let’s be honest guys, we all enjoyed playing the L4D2 Beta all year, right?

  5. Feanor says:

    This will be on Source not a new engine, so get ready to be EXTREMELY surprised.

  6. spirit7 says:

    If you read what I wrote properly, I wasn’t suggesting L4D2 will use a new engine. I’m saying I’d be surprised if they aren’t currently developing a new engine and game separately.

    Do I need to set it out any more clearly than that?

  7. Lobotomist says:

    Hey do you think L4D 1.5 will be priced at 50$ or only 45$ like L4D Beta ?

  8. MetalCircus says:

    The chet guy seems like kind of a dick. He didn’t really get your sense of humour. Oh and his “i’m a bit more sophisticated than that” comment? UUUURGH. Be more of a snob, please. Jeez.

  9. Kadayi says:

    “The rage (no pun intended, hur hur) so far seems pretty unwarranted. Those of you who are moaning about L4D’s pricing, how many of you DIDN’T get your money’s worth?”

    Never underestimate the bottomless well of ingratitude that the Angry Internet Man will draw from to justify his illogical wraith. Sure he might of played L4D till his fingers were mere nubbins, but no amount of manhours of joyous co-op zombie slaying remotely equals a sufficient gain, given the extortionate value of the original game. He paid full price for L4D and therefore Valve are obligated by virtue of their previous acts of generosity (Vs pretty much every other developer out there) to keep feeding him new free content forever!! (where is the SDK that they are never going to use?). How dare they attempt to make a living in these hard times.

  10. beef chief says:

    I really enjoyed left4dead but im not excited for this at all. No idea why.

  11. Ludo says:

    MetalCircus, I don’t think Chet was being a snob, he just has a really dry sense of humour. (See http://www.oldmanmurray.com)

    I’m very pleased that maps made with the left 4 Dead authoring tools can be ported into L4D2. I was worried for a moment that I had wasted a lot of time.

    This is really exciting news. Great podcast John!

  12. warrenEBB says:

    I couldn’t be more thrilled with Valve. Loved the shit out of L4D. totally psyched to play different people in a different place with more focus on melee, and more gore. No idea why so many people are complaining. “More cake? oh jesus, wasn’t the first cake enough? now i have to have more delicious? fml.”

  13. Wallace says:

    I’m wondering if what he says about the community maps being compatible with sequel also includes those from the first game.

  14. Nerd Rage says:

    The only credit to the complaints is that they (Valve) tend to let a game go for years before they replace it. So when we bought L4D last year, we kind of expected it to stay around for a while as something we could continue to play. Once the new one comes out your potential buddy list gets shorter. I’m not against a sequel, I just wish they’d waited a bit longer.

  15. Lobotomist says:

    Kadayi

    I didnt get my 50$ money worth from L4D

    It is a good game , but short and mostly unfinished.

    Most of the people bought this game as kind of a work in progress. As many online Valve games were. A foundation that will get expanded with updates, fixes and additional maps.

    Lets face it. L4D is a game you can finish in under 3 hours.
    Its an online game with only 4 maps.

    Its simply not worth 50$

    If Valve came straight at the beginning and said there will be no expanding content. The game will be worth 20$ at maximum – for amount of content it gives.

    But again many bought it under premise of expanding content and community maps.

    This is now dead.

    Valve will not support the game with new maps. That will hurt the sales of new L4D2 (what a idiotic name)

    And community will make maps for new one aswell – as it is common practice

    In one word Valve just killed L4D

    It was left for dead

  16. Corbeau says:

    The announcement of L4D2 completely revises my opinion of Valve and my perception of their business strategy – and not for the better. Farewell consumer loyalty, that non-contractual intangible that still deeply affects profits.

    And yes, I’ve listened to the cast. I don’t buy that explanation for why this is a sequel. If it was such a priority, it should have been in the initial game. I certainly expected that it was a choice to avoid melee weapons and the like – apparently not, it really was a rushed product.

  17. Funky Badger says:

    Lobotomist: how many hours have you played on L4D?

    You can’t judge a game’s worth by the number of maps – I mean, Tetris only has one, right?

  18. Lack_26 says:

    Why all the hate, I’m really excited. Although I practically have a direct debit set up with Valve.

    Also, they’re going to keep updating L4D, so quit moaning.

  19. Baris says:

    @Lobotomist: I’m pretty sure the length of enjoyment the game gave you is a better judge of value than how much different stuff it gave you.

    Did you play L4D for longer than most games you buy for 50$?

    Yes means you got more than your moneys worth.

    No means you’re in the minority and just made a bad purchase because you didn’t realise the game wasn’t suited to your tastes.

  20. Kadayi says:

    @Lobotomist

    As a suggestion have you perhaps tried playing it online with other people (maybe people you know) ? Maybe tried getting some achievements? Maybe not played it on easy? (3 hours in SP on your first run? I’m sure that’s exactly how long it took to complete all 4 campaigns). The whole point about the game is its an online co-operative shooter. Sure they allowed you to play it as a SP, but that wasn’t the sole intention.

    @Baris

    well said. Personally it took me a total of 6.5 hours to burn through CoD4 and that cost even more than L4D, and yet I have absolutely no regrets about the purchase because it was a great game (and I never even bothered with the MP) and I’ve some fun memories of it. Same with ICO & Shadow of the Colossus.

  21. Lobotomist says:

    Baris:

    If L4D would be measured as single player game. It has way less content than even budget priced games.

    If it would be measured as multiplayer game , i played it well let see…

    I have 30 hours of L4D multiplayer…
    I have 30 hours of TF2 on medic alone…and this is the class i play least!

    I also played it less than Battlefield, less than NWN (by huge margin) less than COD2, COD4 … you name it

    And i was one of big fans of L4D…

    They did get me for a sucker

  22. Radiant says:

    Thing with the price is [and this is something I said when l4d first came around] TF2 is multiplayer centric and costs 12 [doller pounds].
    L4D is multiplayer centric yet costs 50 [doller pounds].
    If you bought it on the xbox [like I did] you’d also have to shell out for the live gold subscription and to fully appreciate the game you’d need to have 3 other friends to have a copy totalling 100 [dollpounds] plus xbox subs.
    Now to ask us to throw ALL that away [bar the live subs] to get L4D2 [or L4D1.5] so soon is frankly galling.

  23. Funky Badger says:

    30 hours for 50 dollar?

    That’s pretty cheap funtime. The fact you like other games better doesn’t – and shouldn’t – really factor into Valve’s pricing policy.

  24. Radiant says:

    I guess it’s more a case of mis-managed expectations after the fantastic orange box.

  25. Funky Badger says:

    Radiant: unless Valve has developed one of those MIB memory eraser thingummies then I won’t be throwing anything away…

    Also: Lobotomist: you’ve got over 270 hours on TF2? *boggles*

  26. Baris says:

    Let’s assume you bought L4D on it’s release date, that would mean you’ve had it for 6 months and 10 days. L4D2 is released on 17th of November 2009, that’s 6 months and 17 days away (math could be way off, I’ve had a few…).

    If you’ve played 30 hours in the last 6 months, we can assume you’re going to play 30 hours in the next 6 months, before L4D2 is released. Even if you’re not, the average person is, so it’s safe to use.

    That’s 83 cents per hour of enjoyment from the game just for the people who played on average 1 hour 9 minutes of L4D per week, which the majority of PC players played a lot more than.

  27. EyeMessiah says:

    JOHN! My ears! What have you done!?

  28. Markoff Chaney says:

    Thank you so much for this podcast/interview. I’m amazed that within 2 minutes of listening, I had my answer about what is going on with L4D2. Instead of wanting to focus on Left4Dead after it shipped, this gentleman, and his team, wanted to tell a story, or a campaign. Like Left4Dead SP was supposed to. Within 3 minutes, admitting L4D is imperfect but that’s ok and we took it from there and made L4D2 by adding new stuff and fixing what was broken the first time, he then moved to comparing it to Team Fortress 2 and a free content patch. I do hope I get a discount for helping him fine tune the engine for the game I expected.

    I was thinking of the concept of Expectation and Entitlement and, to me, it really does seem as though Valve is confuddering me terribly. I’ll point out the 2 that divide me the most.

    Team Fortress 2, which I got as part of the Orange box and MSRPs for 20$, has been getting frequent content, exploit and balancing fixes, completely for free, from the developers. It took 11 years after Team Fortress came out before Team Fortress 2 was released. Speaking of numbers (heh), in Valve Time, which exists as a separately recognized frame of reference, where it takes years of dedicated support, polish and care given to the initial game, first and foremost, to get it right.

    Left4Dead, on the other hand, has an MSRP of 40$ and has been out for less than a year. It has gotten a small amount of content patched in and some exploits and bugs have been fixed while some still remain in game coupled with one of the worst lobby mechanics in a co-op game. Unfortunately, the developers have, since ship, started focusing on Left 4 Dead 2 which is planned to ship in around a year’s time since the first one. I see a correlation between the lack of updates and the team’s focus.

    Valve is welcome to do as they want. From a financial perspective, and being part of a publicly held corporation it actually becomes an imperative to make money and exploiting making their quickest sequel thus far where they fix all the problems of the first one, make a coherent, actual Single Player campaign with requisite Multiplayer modes and an updated AI and offer a couple weapon upgrades makes financial sense.

    The only way I can fault Valve is that they have been the model of support, along with a small handful of others, and continue to update and patch their PC games. This engenders an expectation that future support, especially on a title that is so multiplayer focused, will be similarly loved and treated, especially one coming in at double the price point. I am not entitled to that. I may have expected it, and they may have given it to me every other time, but I am not entitled to it.

    True, Valve will continue to support Left 4 Dead. That is what I am entitled to: support for that product that I paid for. If they choose to piss away some of my good will, that is their choice. If they choose to split their player base then, again, that is their choice. If I choose to wait until the game is a lot cheaper that I could get it for as a pre-order at a higher price from the distribution service they own and operate in order to give the developer more money then that is my choice.

    Or. It’s Valve. It’s free. It’s a joke?

    Again, thanks for the podcast. Much to think on…

  29. jalf says:

    @Markoff Chaney: Thanks for summing up my thoughts so eloquently. Of course they haven’t done anything *wrong*, but they’re definitely throwing away a lot of hard-earned goodwill.

    On one hand, L4D2 does sound cool, and I want to play it. On the other hand, I obviously can no longer assume that the game is going to be expanded upon after launch.

    I have to assume it’ll be like L4D, and what we see at launch is basically what we’ll be getting, and that it’ll have a lifetime of about a year before Valve moves on to the next big thing. Perhaps that will still be worth my money.

    Or perhaps I’ll have to wait until they either *prove* that they intend to expand on the game, or dump the price.

    @Baris: And perhaps people expected more than that when they bought it. Let’s not make too many assumptions about how much others feel L4D is worth.

    If someone thinks an hour of, say, Far Cry 2 is worth more than an hour of Left 4 Dead, that is their right, and it means your math no longer makes sense.
    I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually buy games based on how many hours of entertainment they can give me. I’ve paid full price for games I played through in 8 hours and then never played again. And I was happy with that. And I’ve also paid the same price for games I played for literally hundreds of hours. Some games are just worth more per hour than others.

    I, and many others, bought Left 4 Dead for the replay value. We assumed that if you buy the game, there will always be fresh content. New game modes, new campaigns, new updates, things to keep the game fresh. Yes, I have played Left 4 Dead for over 30 hours, and yes, I had fun.

    But the game is also very unfinished and barebones. At launch it had some hideous bugs, and there are still a number of issues that can potentially ruin a campaign. And I’ve pretty much memorized the campaigns by now. Playing through a Versus game of No Mercy today just isn’t the same as 4 months ago.

    In short, let the person who paid for the game, and no one else, judge whether they got their money’s worth. I won’t tell you that you got ripped off with L4D, and you don’t tell me that I didn’t. Only one person is qualified to judge whether the price for a product is acceptable, and that is the buyer.

    If you feel happy about what you got out of L4D, that’s great for you. But it doesn’t mean that others are wrong if they feel differently.

  30. Saul says:

    You people make me ill. Valve give more customer support and free content than ANY other developer. Left4Dead is (IMHO) the best shooter since Doom, and I’m still playing it on a regular basis. I’ve certainly got more hours out of it than any other multiplayer game, let’s see… EVER. This is AWESOME news, and I for one will be first in line to hand over my cash.

    More exciting than the Monkey Island remake, as giddy as that makes me.

  31. John Walker says:

    A thought – why not keep the indignant self-entitled whining to the other post’s thread, and have this one for discussing the podcast in particular. I realise there’s a lot of crossover, but I think the distinction is fairly obvious.

    MetalCircus – my jaw fell open at your comment. Chet’s one of the funniest writers around, with a fantastic sense of humour. One I would suggest you have somewhat missed.

  32. SteveHatesYou says:

    Oh god. Is calling Left 4 Dead 1 the “Left 4 Dead 2 Beta” going to be a new thing? Where do gamers get their incredible entitlement complexes from?

  33. SirNuke says:

    I’ve heard them referred to l4d 2008 and l4d 2009. I vote for this.

    I’d be happy if some of the map dynamic changes make their way to l4d 2008. Stuff like random car alarms.

  34. Wallace says:

    You didn’t happen to see a cricket bat, did you?

  35. Alex says:

    Chet’s right, you have fallen down to Kieron’s level.

  36. kyrieee says:

    Hey John Walker why don’t you realize that when a ton of people get upset over something there might actually be a valid reason for it. Whenever you guys disagree with complaints you go on to insult people with ‘holier than thou’ remarks

    If you think you’re above the discussion then don’t even comment on it.

  37. Kadayi says:

    @John Walker

    I think the problem lies in marketing it as a direct sequel (thus rendering the still fairly recently released existing game redundant in peoples eyes), where as if they promoted it as L4D: New Orleans or L4D: Deep South as a standalone expansion people would be on the whole a lot more forgiving. Certainly from the perspective of what they are adding it qualifies as a new game, but it takes more than new guns, characters and maps in gamers eyes to qualify as a true sequel (generally an engine change is de rigeur). Marketing dropped the ball here.

    @kyrieee

    But no ones giving any valid reasons. There’s a lot of ‘why isn’t this free?’ and general Valve bashing, but not really any reasons that stand upto scrutiny.

    @jalf

    That’s all well and good, but the plain truth of the matter is personal opinion devoid of a logical base really isn’t worth that much in a debate. To make a fair comparison there has to be a form of measure. Inadequate as that measure maybe seem to you Time invested Vs Cost incurred is a pretty good starting point for evaluating most forms of entertainment in life.

    What does $60 or £30 buy you in entertainment these days? How many hours of pleasure and distraction can you wrangle from it? A couple of lines of coke? A dinner for two at a cheap restaurant? 3 DVDs? A couple of Cinema tickets and some drinks? A few books in borders?

  38. Louiss freaking cool says:

    I cant wait, will buy it. I like very muchwhat i have seen from it.

  39. Alex says:

    I’m not too angry about it but I can understand why one could be. In a few interviews around L4D’s release, they mentioned new campaigns, ‘meet the team’-equivalent movies and other bits of backstory about the infection, all to be released down the road.

    I can accept Chet’s assertion that the developers’ passion outgrew the scope of the DLC they’d originally been thinking of, but for people who bought the game expecting the additional content, it’s still going to rankle.

  40. DD says:

    “Funky Badger says:

    Lobotomist: how many hours have you played on L4D?

    You can’t judge a game’s worth by the number of maps – I mean, Tetris only has one, right?”

    Awesome.

  41. MeestaNob! says:

    As much as I love Valve, I’m incredibly underwhelmed by this announcement. Whilst it’s obviously a financial thing, this all looks to be the textbook definition of what paid DLC was for, just like the good old days of expansion packs. Just add all these new characters, maps and weapons (that latter two we were crying out for since the original beta) as paid DLC and don’t hurt your (very) loyal fans like this.

    If its a technical consideration due to the upgradeability limitations of X360 software, then by all means release L4D2 on that platform and release it as L4D DLC for PC.

    L4D was too dear at launch, unfinished until 2/3 of the way through it’s apparent life cycle, and didn’t have enough content for what it was. And if the whole point of the sequel is to improve upon the single player experience, then they don’t understand their own title – or at least are pandering to the gamers who are Doing It Wrong.

    And for what it’s worth, I think this is the ideal place to bleat about L4D2′s relative worth to the consumer – Chet just put forth his case, now it’s our turn here.

  42. Persus-9 says:

    Excellent podcast! Very funny and told me everything I wanted to know. Thanks!

    I was a little worried when I first heard about this, like a lot of people, although the whole brief “Xbox 360 exclusive” confusion scared me the most so just seeing it on RPS dispelled my worst fear but I’m now completely happy and looking forward to this imensely. Playing the charger in Vs mode sounds like it could be great fun! I wonder how common it’ll be.

    I hope they keep the zombie hand doing a Harvey Smith Why not? It’s an M rated game and it isn’t that rude a gesture and it makes a good follow up to the original puntastic cover.

    @ Kadayi: I agree entirely with your suggestion that the problem is calling it a sequel rather than an expandalone. People would still be moaning (people always moan) but it’s the idea that L4D is now dead that’s really upsetting people. It was bugging me until I heard Chet say they’d be developing this since the original release and they were an entirely seperate team to those working on new content for L4D. Ideally they should have marketed it as L4D: New Orleans rather than 2 and also announced it at exactly the same time as annouce the next round of L4D content just so as to drive the point home that L4D2 doesn’t mean the end of L4D. Still I don’t suppose it matters, good PR is good but bad PR won’t matter much in the long run as long as they keep delivering the goods. I’m pretty sure they’ll have managed regained any lost good will by the time November rolls round.

    @ MeestaNob: Why does it matter if it’s paid for DLC or a standalone? Seems to me that expandalones will always be better unless it costs more and the oposite is generally true since paid for DLC generally gets released in many small packages at prices that add up to a lot and it rarely if ever get discounted. Personally I’m very glad to see Valve continue their policy of free DLC and paid for standalones.

  43. J. Edgar Hoover says:

    Whine, whine, whine. You know what the real atrocity is? Capcom charging money to unlock coop mode in Resident Evil 5.

    It’s not like Valve is completely abandoning Left 4 Dead altogether. So, who cares if you paid $40 or $50 for Left 4 Dead? I did too. Did Valve put a gun to your head and make you buy it?

    The only disappointment I have with Valve is that I wish they would refund me for purchasing Team Fortress 2. Especially after watching the “TF2: Brotherhood of Arms” videos and then gazing upon the cell shaded-crap they released a few short years later. I’m still waiting for the real Team Fortress 2 to come out.

  44. 5 dollor foot long says:

    I can’t wait does anyone know if there is gonna be a beta coming out?!?!?!?!?!?

  45. Pie21 says:

    Firstly, John’s the man! Loved the interview and it had a very calming effect. The minute I read the announcement of L4D2, I felt a little like all the above comments, but having actually reflected on what was said, I’d be rather embarrassed to have disgraced myself by actually submitting some of those posts.

    One of the least logical comparisons you can make is to say “L4D was made by Valve, Valve made TF2, TF2 received about 5 times its launch content with free incremental updates, so therefore L4D must as well or else Valve is evil”. For starters, TF2 is the industry-wide exception, not the rule, even within Valve itself. Secondly, Chet said in the interview that free content would keep coming for L4D alongside L4D2. Maybe not as much as TF2, but you can hardly expect that. Not many (if any) games are set up the way TF2 is to receive new content.

    Of course there’s still the problem (the main one imo) that releasing L4D2 will necessarily reduce the number of players of L4D1 as they move to the shinier new game. It does feel a little like Valve is leaving L4D1 behind. It will be interesting to see how they convince us they’re not as the marketing machine rolls forward through time. I agree with Kadayi that the most unfortunate part is marketing it as a sequel, when it’s really another take on the original with a greater scope. It’s designed to be a new game with the same soul, but with some greatly expanded faculties to really expand the experience it offers, and despite trying to be different enough to allow the two to co-exist, I foresee the bunch of new features winning me over. Ideally, you could just drop L4D2 right on top of L4D1 and merge them into a single supergame like everyone seems to want, but they’re just not that compatible. L4D2 bring so many improvements that you’d end up just replacing L4D1 completely.

    Finally, I can’t help but laugh at Hoover above wanting more of the same for TF2: BoA and calling perhaps the most fun, original and best value multiplayer game available “cell shaded-crap [sic]“. It’s a sad post that wishes for a world with more brown and less red, blue and orange.

    Good job again, Walker! Sorry most of that wasn’t about the podcast.

    EDIT: Also, November 17th is almost 5 years to the day after the release of HL2, and hence about 11 years since HL1. Coincidence? Is it just the start of the holiday season? Or is Gabe’s birthday just 2 weeks beforehand a contributing factor? Food for thought.

  46. A Dead Eldar Guardian says:

    I laughed pretty hard at the Episode 3, Portal 2 exchange, and well done Mr.Walker it was a rather delightful podcast.

    PS: I thought ‘cunt’ was still incredibly offensive in the UK too?

  47. John Walker says:

    kyrieee – No, it’s okay, we’ll decide what we write on the site. I’m sorry you’re cross, but I’ll still request that the strops happen in the other thread. Thanks! I’ll run into Valve again at E3 this week, and I’ll definitely be asking them for a response to the response.

    Pie21 – Thank you!

    A Dead Eldar Guardian – Yes, it is. I’m still rather appalled with myself for having said it. I might have Stalin-style edited it out if Chet hadn’t referred back to it at the end in such a funny way.

  48. Psychopomp says:

    @kyriee

    OH SNAP
    JUST GOT WALKER SERVED :P

  49. Premium User Badge Mr Pink says:

    Interesting interview, thanks. I really don’t understand all the hate this has generated, it makes me a little bit ashamed to be a gamer to be honest. I can only hope that it’s a (very) vocal minority…

  50. Lack_26 says:

    @A Dead Eldar Guardian – I wouldn’t say it’s incredible insulting, but it’s not really the done thing to say it.