Valve On L4D2: “Trust Us A Little Bit”

By John Walker on June 4th, 2009 at 9:00 am.

Some Valve fans, yesterday.

There has been, it seems, something of a fuss over the announcement from Valve that they’re releasing a sequel to Left 4 Dead this November. The main point of contention has been that many were expecting more new content to be added to the original game, rather than appearing in the form of a full price sequel. This was underlined when an article on VideoGamer was rediscovered in which Valve boss Gabe Newell stated, “So we’ll do the same thing with Left 4 Dead where we’ll have the initial release and then we’ll release more movies, more characters, more weapons, unlockables, achievements, because that’s the way you continue to grow a community over time.”

We spoke to Valve’s VP of marketing, Doug Lombardi, to ask him about the player response. He talks to us about the reasons why L4D2 is a full sequel, why gamers should wait to find out more about the game before making up their minds, and how there are definitely still plans for the original Left 4 Dead.

RPS: The main point of contention has been that a while back there was a statement from Gabe Newell given to VideoGamer in which he said there were plans to add more characters, unlockables, weapons and achievements to the original Left 4 Dead.

Doug Lombardi: So, we’ve made a number of releases on the PC, and we made a pretty big release on the 360 in terms of the DLC, and we were able to get out for free which I thought would pretty cool, and it was not an easy thing to pull off. Beyond that, we plan to continue updating Left 4 Dead. We’re not done with that title, it’s not over. The SDK stuff just came out. I think we mentioned to RPS that if you’re using the SDK and making maps for it, those will work for L4D2 as well. We are trying to keep the community together – we’re going to be doing more stuff about keeping the community together as we get closer to launch.

I think the short answer is: trust us a little bit. We’ve been pretty good over the years, even with L4D going back just a few months, about supporting games post-launch. Gabe’s always talking about providing entertainment as a service – it’s not about making a game any more. That’s one point of it.

The other point is, we didn’t sit down and say, “We need to ship a sequel next for next Christmas, what features do we need?” That wasn’t the way it happened, that’s not the way Valve works. What did happen was, the team sat down and said, “We’ve got a bunch of ideas of stuff we want to do.” People were really fired up when the game was finished, and there was a lot of feedback and ideas that came from watching people play – on the scale of millions of people, as opposed to hundreds of people that we went through during the playtesting sessions. So we put a lot of those things on the board and said, “What can we do quickly? What’s going to take more time? What’s the best way to get stuff out to customers?” And part of that plan ended up with L4D2, with things like changing the way the finales worked, introducing some new Survivors, giving new dialogue, telling more about the story, introducing new Specials. We said, “Wow, that makes for a nice sequel.” And then there was the stuff in the Survival Pack which makes for a nice DLC. And what we’d like to do is release a great game, provide lots of entertainment-as-a-service type of features, whether they’re technical updates or whether it’s the Survival Pack, and then also deliver more.

RPS: So how did the sequel come about?

DL: One of the biggest pieces of feedback we got after the game came out, and even after the Survival Pack, was: this is all really great, I loved it, but I want a bunch more campaigns, I want more content. In a sense, L4D2 is a response to what players were asking for after the first one shipped. That’s really how it came about. I think if folks spot us a bit more time, they may see where we’re going with all this. The more they learn about how much there is in L4D2… I mean, twenty new weapons isn’t DLC! Three new Specials, and twenty weapons, and five new campaigns: that starts to feel like a sequel. I think as more gets unveiled as we go from E3 to Comic Con and PAX, and show the game in places where the public can play, and then when the demo comes out a couple of weeks before launch, I think people will get where we’re going, and hopefully don’t think that we’ve turned into some sort of opportunist cow milkers.

RPS: Do you wonder whether an aspect of it is that it’s been so quick? Do you think if you’d waited another six or eight months, people might have responded better?

DL: Maybe, maybe. But two years from now though, would you look back and say that was better? Like I say, give it some time: quick decisions aren’t usually the best ones. I would say that may have been part of it, people may have felt differently about it had it taken longer to produce it. The other thing is, it’s something new for Valve. Valve doesn’t have a reputation for shipping quick sequels! So it’s something different. We had similar reactions when we announced The Orange Box. There were a lot of people who thought, “It’s not going to be worth fifty dollars, all these games are really tiny,” and then by the time the game came out the review said, “The best value in gaming.” Again, I would say, let us tell more of the story before people make their final judgement. And then if they say we’re f’d, then that’s fair. [laughs]

RPS: Do you think part of the problem might have been that the Survival Pack felt like it was finishing the first game. When there were two versus campaigns that weren’t in there, it might have felt like the Survival Pack completed the game rather than added to it.

DL: Maybe. It’s hard to say, I haven’t sat down and had a calm, reasonable dialogue with a group of people that have had [this week's] reaction yet. I’ve been busy keeping it a secret, then we just announced it a couple of days ago. I also want to get more informations, I want to hear more of what their story is and what they’re reacting to, so I can understand it better, and I’m sure Gabe feels the same way. We’ll see what is the genesis of why folks are having this reaction to it. And that [the Survival Pack] might have been part of it as well, but it’s definitely not the case that we’re closing the book on L4D and saying, “Next time you get anything it’s when the sequel comes out.”

RPS: So is there any chance of new content like new maps and new campaigns in the original L4D?

DL: Yeah, there’s certainly a chance of that, and we’re not announcing any of the specifics of that today. Like I say, stay tuned, there’s more coming, there’s more information we’re going to talk about for the sequel, there’s more content coming for Left 4 Dead in the fairly near term, that I think will sort of add to this picture and hopefully change some people’s opinions of what’s happening right now.

Thanks to Doug Lombardi for taking time out of a crazed E3 schedule to talk to us. The RPS hivemind realises people are very passionate about this subject, but remains confident that the discussion below will not make us frown.

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413 Comments »

  1. Uglycat says:

    I still don’t understand what the original fuss is about. Quake 3 and UT were primarily online games, but I don’t remember people bitching about that. L4D has the equivelent of 20 maps, which is a reasonable size, so I’m not sure what other content people expect(ed).
    Seems to me that Valve has set an expectation for free content, and now people are getting greedy.

  2. An Innocuous Coin says:

    Wait and see?

    Wait and see. I’m just glad we’ll get awesome stuff regardless of what happens – how many developers can you say that about?

  3. FunkyB says:

    Someone called me out on in the last thread saying that if a normal developer listened to the community to make a better sequel we’d all applaud them, this is very true. I think we’ve been a little spoiled by the superb post-release support of TF2.

    My only gripe is the southern setting. As I’m English it isn’t very appealing to me. We get affected by our media’s silly prejudices that they are all stupid, overly-religious, inbred hicks. This is of course not true, but it colours our judgement. Does anyone else like this setting?

  4. Howard says:

    I understand that he was “shooting from the hip” as it were with that response while glad-handing at E3 but that answer is utterly bereft of…well…answers.

    While I am not a player of L4D (did not like it one bit) I can see the concerns people have. I agree that this amount of new content should not be DLC (Valve have made a rod for their own back here by giving their DLCs away) but there is simply no earthly reason this could not have been a MUCH cheaper expansion.

    The engine used has not progressed one bit so there are no technical limitations with this, this is just Valve gouging with one of their most popular titles, plain and simple.

  5. Dan Lawrence says:

    Yay for valve!

    Good on Doug for being utterly reasonable and level headed about the whole mini-man-fury. L4D provided enough ‘bang for buck’ value for me compared to many other games I’ve shelled out for and who can begrudge a company trying its hardest to craft the ultimate co-op zombie survival horror experience?

    Noone but fools, thats who.

  6. Professor says:

    RPS you guys rock my sox, thanks for this!

    Also, this makes me take another look at the sequel, and you know what, if there’s ENOUGH new content, then it is like you’re paying for l4d 1 all over again, rather than DLC. I guess that in a sense if you’re buying a complete game, then it’s worth a full game’s price or at least somewhere near that. I hope valve don’t let me down on this one.

  7. Dan says:

    Seems reasonable to me. For me it’s hard to complain about Valve bringing out games more often in any context.

  8. dishwasherlove says:

    I’m glad Valve responded. I think it’s quite a reasonable response too considering to size of the reaction to the original L4D2 announcement.

  9. Dan Lawrence says:

    I’d love if people got out of the new engine required for a sequel mentality. I’m an engine programmer so its not even in my best interest to say it, but there is no earthly reason why an iterated engine would have to be inferior to a brand new, from the ground up engine. I think the fact that valve keeps iterating the source engine is one of the best things about them as developers – it means most of the effort is going on making fun content rather than squashing time sapping engine bugs. They can upgrade parts of the engine as and when it is required to service the gameplay, not the other way around.

  10. Ashurbanipal says:

    Yeah, the sheer level of disproportionate nerdrage over this is just staggering.

    But man, there’s quite a bit of tooting of one’s own horn in that interview, which, I suppose from any other company would be unacceptable. Valve so often delivers, and it’s worth trusting them on this.

    After this storm in a teacup, I fully expect this game is going to be released to widespread acclaim and adulation. And I say this as someone largely indifferent to Valve’s charms, and Left-4-Dead (I’m not a multiplayer man).

    The people who are complaining will naturally pick it up, because it’s stupidity to boycott the shinier, more advanced, more bountiful and richer game, which many of your less querulous friends are probably already enjoying, and all because you believe Valve aren’t going to fulfill your expectations of doing something to support the older, shittier game.

  11. ToadSmokingDuckMonkey says:

    I’d like to see a situation wherein L4D2 is to L4D as Forged Alliances is to Supreme Commander. The former being in each case an expanded/improved version of the original’s content (with new goodies from the expansion/sequel available if everyone playing has it), allowing such things as the new guns and infected on the old maps, while still allowing players with all of the content to play with those that have less, say restricting the game to the original content, but allowing the playerbase(s) to commingle relatively seamlessly. Hopefully Valve will be Valve and do a better job at streamlining that process than Gaspowered did with Supcom (release a few of the new units into the old game, unbalancing aspects of it, and then forcing everyone onto the new platform for balance updates, then rapid abandonment to go finish rubbish like Space Siege).

  12. Zaij says:

    The problem is that L4D1 isn’t a $50 game, it’s $30 tops… and that’s stretching it. It feels more like a well made mod than a proper game, and the replay value is pretty light. It can’t hold your attention for more than a few days in 6 months. Sure, some people will disagree, but you always get people that obsess over a game.

    If all the l4d2 stuff was incorporated into l4d, then it would finally feel like a $50 game and no one would bitch when they released a sequel. The reason people are bitching is because it feels a bit like ‘alright, we’ve released one game and it’s a pretty big success’, let’s get another one out quickly and change full price for it. The things they’ve said they’ve added to L4D2 simply don’t feel like they warrant a full game. 20 weapons? Big whoop! 3 new specials? Meh. New characters? These are all really, on the face of it, cosmetic changes with a few tidbits thrown in to keep people interested.

    The only things that warrant a new game are the 5 new campaigns. and even that isn’t that special considering people can make their own damn campaigns.

  13. pignoli says:

    So how many people that complained intitially (and I did a little, though I’ve got myself now) are going to buy this on day one anyway? A fair portion, I expect. Hopefully there will be a cheapo pre-order for those of us that are planning on getting it. Amazon often have boxed copies of supposed ‘full-price’ games like this for a little over £20 anyway, so I’m not really sure price is a huge issue, given the amount of content we’ll be getting.

  14. Yentz says:

    What I don’t understand, is how do they consider this to be a practical application for L4D1?

    If you release a game that is better than L4D, than what is the purpose of purchasing it? There is no incentive to update the game, as nobody would purchase the game when they could just out and purchase the brand new sequel.

    It seems like Valve forgot the reason why the TF2 model works so well, which has nearly quadrupled in size since it was launched(It started with 6 maps, it’s now on 24). Doug mentions that 20 new weapons is *not* DLC, but that’s exactly what the TF2 team has done.

    So why change it for L4D?

  15. Professor says:

    If valve let anyone that owns l4d 1 (or at least the ones that bought it for the original 50$ price) have a token discount for l4d2 (maybe 10$ or such), you’ll see EVERYONE buying l4d2. I’m sure they’re aware of this, I wonder if they’ll actually do it. I don’t think that anyone wouldn’t buy this game even if they were disappointed with l4d1 if they got a discount.

    Fingers crossed.

  16. dishwasherlove says:

    @Zaij I don’t want to open the can of worms again (hell its been open for the last 2 days) but L4D launched on Steam for US$50, which in my sad currency translated to the time to about AU$75. Most in store new PC an console releases in Australia are AU$90. My total playtime of L4D is 34 hours.

    Most new release console/PC games provide about 8-12 hours of content if they are single player only. Most games with multiplayer are lucky to see bug fixes let alone content patches.

    The only reason anyone should be raw about L4D is the fact it shipped without half the Versus levels, and the length of time it took to finally release them.

  17. Howard says:

    @Ashurbanipal
    It is neither nerdrage nor is it staggering.
    Sure the people who are screaming that L4D2 should be a free DLC need to get a grip but the rest of the voices do have a point to make.
    As Zaij says, L4D is content starved and, as a result, pretty over-priced right now (or at least was at launch). This new game coming within 12 months of the first is just making the owners of L4D feel like they have been left with their asses in the breeze and a soon-to-be obsolete game on their hands.
    Look at it another way: if ANY other group bar Valve tried to pull a stunt like this they would get bloody lynched. Imagine if, I dunno, say STALKER 2 had come out less than a year after STALKER offering no graphical upgrades of any kind but simply offering a few new weapons and missions, all at delicious full price. Would not sit so well, huh?

  18. unwise says:

    I’m delighted that L4D2 is coming out so soon, and it sounds awesome. There is no way I won’t be shelling over for it on release day.

    However, that doesn’t stop me from feeling a little disgruntled about paying €45 (£40) for the original L4D on Steam, with the understanding that I could expect significant updates, notably, new campaigns.

    If Valve have one or two secret L4D campaigns ready to go within the next couple of months to take us up to the release of L4D2, then I will be pacified. Otherwise, I will simply have to look upon L4D as the moment where Valve ninja-charged me for the insanely good value of The Orange Box.

  19. Zaij says:

    I’m an Aussie as well mate, and when it was released it was $90AUD. Anyway, most games are crap so it’s pointless to compare it to them as I wouldn’t spend that much on the vast majority of them. L4D was a good game, I just don’t think it was $50 worth.

  20. distended says:

    The question is “What about L4D1?” but all the answers were about L4D2. I guess that’s understandable at an event where they are promoting the sequel.

    I do trust them a bit, and that’s why I’ll wait and see like he advises, but I don’t think the answers here particularly addressed a lot of people’s concerns.

    I do hope the next few articles we see on the internet are about the original Left 4 Dead, not the sequel.

  21. Katsumoto says:

    The UK must have got things cheaper for a change, then. L4D was no more than £25 when it launched (can’t remember exactly, may have even been 20). Or was that back when the pound:dollar ratio was still 1:2? I thought by then the economy had already gone to shit. Anyway, absolutely superb value for money in terms of pounds per hour, as stated above. I worked it out to be 47p per hour so far based on my playtime.

  22. Ryan F says:

    “Just trust us”

    Isn’t that what we’ve been doing the last 7 months while you sold millions of copies of a game only half done?

    Early adopters, competitive gamers, and modders are all rightfully upset at having the rug taken from under our feet.

    Please do better than “keep waiting” Doug or you’ll find that the core of the community has moved on to titles that don’t jerk them around for half a year then try to charge them again for content that you blocked us from making for ourselves.

  23. tiktaalik says:

    “I mean, twenty new weapons isn’t DLC!” It was for TF2, taking into account all the updates…

    Well, 18 new weapons, but unless he’s arguing there’s a mystic change between dlc and sequel at about 19 weapons it’s not an entirely convincing argument…

  24. Joseph says:

    @VALVe

    Expansion would have been preferable over a sequel. I guess I’ll wait and see how you plan to fix the issue of splitting the community, but as yet I can’t imagine it’s going to be very easy as long as they remain 2 seperate games.

  25. Ashurbanipal says:

    Howard,

    I’d direct you to dishwasherlove’s comment. (Though I’ve got to admit the Australian EBgames price for it of $100 is clearly absurd. But then, most Aussie games are absurdly priced)

    I admit to not having played a whole lot of Left 4 Dead on account of it not being my cup of tea. But the way some people are talking, they paid good money for rubbish they fully expected to be polished in the future. In reality, Left 4 Dead played just fine out of the box, and upon its release gaming websites and podcasts gathered to sing deafening songs of praise about how it worked so well, just as thousands (hundreds of thousands?) played the game for hundreds of hours just fine, exceeeding most other similarly priced games.

    This reminds me of the similarly absurd Fallout 3 pre-release outrage, and I expect it to have about as much effect.

  26. Crispy says:

    “I mean, twenty new weapons isn’t DLC!”

    TF2 PC DLC has already added 18 new weapons, for free:
    3 x Spy, 3 x Sniper, 3 x Heavy, 3 x Pyro, 3 x Medic, 3 x Scout
    + 1 new taunt for each of those classes (6)

    And the weapons in TF2 are FAR better thought-out than the simple CS-clone guns in L4D.

    “So we’ll do the same thing with Left 4 Dead where we’ll have the initial release and then we’ll release more movies, more characters, more weapons, unlockables, achievements, because that’s the way you continue to grow a community over time.”

    I don’t see where the new weapons for bogstandard L4D are going to come from if they’re adding 20 for L4D2.

    I think they need to be honest and say their initial predictions were wrong and they need to make some quick money during the recession. Just be honest and fess up instead of perpetuating the mistrust here.

  27. Alec Meer says:

    I’d imagine that, after all this outrage, it seems inevitable there’ll be a pretty beefy L4D1 update soon-ish, and some manner of integration between the two games. It would be lovely if people would stop angrily presuming there won’t be. Perhaps there won’t, but you simply do not know that yet.

    Yes, it’s hugely frustrating that Valve aren’t able or willing to spill all their secrets about both games at this stage – marketing campaigns can be damnable things – but “wait and see” is not an unreasonable request. As Lombardi says, save the wrath until we’ve seen for sure whether they’ve lived up to their word or not. They haven’t betrayed you until they’ve actually betrayed you.

    So: considered discussion and criticism of the L4Ds is fine – there are many causes for concern without a doubt, and chewing over them is only right – but FYI we will be cleaning the thread of outright insults, baseless accusations and rage-fueled hyperbole, because there’s been an ungodly amount of that already. We’re proud of the general level of discussion here, and intend to keep it that way.

  28. Yentz says:

    @tiktaalik

    Keep in mind, those 18 weapons for TF2 were also entirely *new* weapons with a whole bunch of balancing. The majority of the new weapons in L4D2 are simply reskins of the old weapons. Other than the small few that actually change gameplay, they do not require major testing or development.

    Furthermore, there are still 9 more weapons to come as well, bringing the total new weapons to 27 for TF2. All at no price. For a game that cost $20.

    I don’t understand how he could be confused at our expectations when Gabe specifically stated that L4D would follow the same model as TF2.

  29. Eonwe says:

    For some reason, i never really enjoyed L4D as much as everyone else, i don’t know why, and so i’ll have a good, long think before i buy the sequel… I only want to know what’s happening with Episode 3! C’mon, it’s been, what, more than a year and a half already!

  30. Zaij says:

    @Alec Meer, yeah, because Valve really reassured us with this interview rather than giving us something concrete.

  31. unwise says:

    @Katsumoto

    European Steam users get shafted on a regular basis. Check out:

    http://steamcommunity.com/groups/1e1us

    I’m a Brit living and working in Europe, and some of the price disparities are fairly scandalous. You are definitely in a better position buying from Steam in the UK as things stand.

  32. Yentz says:

    @Alec

    The problem, which I mentioned earlier, is that updating L4D1 is now actually counter-intuitive to the ‘TF2 model” that Valve has been following.

    The TF2 model, which Valve has described in numerous interviews, is essentially using updates as a form of advertisement and boosting their playerbase. I believe the statistics that Valve quoted was a 20% sales increase for every single TF2 update released. In fact, when the L4D update/free weekend came out, sales jumped 3,000%.

    But the whole model is based on the theory that people will buy the game because it is being updated. But with L4D2 out, there is no incentive to purchase the game. Why would you purchase an obsolete game when you can get the exact same thing, only better in a different game?

    Because of this, Valve does not actually have an incentive to update L4D.

  33. FurieMan says:

    Had this been an expantion i would be thrilled. But as it stands it feels like valve has abandoned l4d1 after one year.
    A product that they said was complete enugh to sell for 50$, just to go internaly and state that they was dissatisfied enugh with it to start on l4d2 emidiatly.

    What it feels like is that we paid 50$ for a beta of left 4 dead 2. All fixes to the matchmaking and tech from this point on are just betas. And all content (maps) from this point on only make l4d2 more unjustified as a standalone title.

    I dont mind paying for this content, its the number 2 that is the problem for me.

  34. Professor says:

    @Zaij
    I think it’s commendable that they even gave the interview, at least they’re not ignoring the public’s anger. I think that if one development studio deserves our trust, it’s valve, they’ve never really let us down in the long run. Any disappointment they’ve caused, they eventually fixed. Whenever they see something people are angry about, they fix it, even if it’s in valve time. I’m confident that valve don’t want to cheat their public suddenly. They’re convinced that l4d2 is a good thing and worth the 50$. Whether their judgement is justified or not, only time will tell.

    On a contradictory note, here’s some rage fuel http://www.amazon.com/Left4Dead-2-Pc/dp/B002BRYXRQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=videogames&qid=1244106073&sr=8-1

  35. Alex says:

    I think one of the problems that Valve faced with L4D was that, as a co-op shooter with a narrative that builds through each level in a campaign, they shot themselves in the foot when it came to producing new content. They brought this up in the Shacknews interview- it’s much easier to deliver a single TF2 map than the 4.5 needed for a L4D campaign.

    It doesn’t lend itself to incremental expansion very well, unless you more more side modes like Infected Olympics, where Hunters try to make the Triple Jump and the Tanks attempt to shot put with a car.

  36. Rei Onryou says:

    Thanks again to John to go beyond the call of duty and get more details on this. The AIM reaction was OTT to say the least. If what they’re making isn’t worth full price, they wouldn’t sell it at full price. Simple as.

    I swear AIMs will complain about anything just for the sake of being able to complain.

  37. mandrill says:

    This is the honesty and transparency that Leigh was talking about in her article. Developers actually engaging in a dialogue with their consumers instead of firing out a mess of PR speak at the slightest hint of opprobium from their customers.

    Yay Valve! They are changing the culture of game development in more ways than one. Keep it up.

  38. Dan Lawrence says:

    I love the way folks are assuming that Valve have no idea how to run their own business and that they are just saying:

    ‘Yeah, that TF2 model made us an absolute ton of money but y’know what? I hate money, lets just make a quick sequel this time around’

    Also, the talk of all the TF2 weapons being dramatically different is a whole load of hokum, some are some different some are minor tweaks it sounds like they are doing the same with Left 4 Dead 2 except they have managed to do it a whole lot faster. Imagine of all the TF2 updates to date were ready to go on the same day? Wouldn’t you think Valve was a little insane for releasing twenty odd maps, 20 weapons thirty pages of balancing tweaks and the like on a single day for no money?

    Yes you would.

    Finally, as Alec has said we don’t know what there exact plans for Left 4 Dead 1 are. I wouldn’t put it port the core game updates over to Left 4 Dead 1 after 2 comes out allowing owners of 1 to play with owners of 2 on the original maps.

  39. Alex says:

    Yentz said:

    Keep in mind, those 18 weapons for TF2 were also entirely *new* weapons with a whole bunch of balancing. The majority of the new weapons in L4D2 are simply reskins of the old weapons. Other than the small few that actually change gameplay, they do not require major testing or development.

    I think it’s the exact opposite from what you’ve said. The weapons in TF2 have almost exclusively been small tweaks to the original (the exceptions only showing up in the latest update). They’re also weapons that players on both team could unlock and use. With the asymmetric gameplay in L4D, giving a new weapon to the Survivors would screw with the Infected unless you started changing them, too.

  40. Rinox says:

    When has Valve ever disappointed us before when it comes to customer satisfaction and support? Uhmm…never? Yeah, must be about right.

    Obviously this does not mean that they won’t do so now, but I think it would only be fair to them to reserve judgement for a while. Cfr. the (ungrounded) paying DLC for L4D controversy 3 months ago.

  41. Mr Pink says:

    Well, I for one am not going to march to Valve HQ with my pitchfork just yet. As Alec said, asking for us to wait and see is not at all unreasonable. They may be a corporation that essentially exists to make mountains of money, but Valve has built a reputation as a company that looks out for the interests of PC Gamers. I don’t believe they will throw that away lightly, and I’m going to trust them until they demonstrate that I should do otherwise.

  42. Ludo says:

    Just want to say that RPS’ coverage of the L4D2 reveal has been excellent, especially giving Doug Lombardi a chance to speak to the criticisms of the last few days.

    Maybe now everyone can be a bit more calm :)

  43. Yentz says:

    @Dan.

    We did not expect all those updates to be released on one day. That’s the point of the TF2 model, to give updates out over time to lengthen the life of a game an ensure that it remains profitable for a very long time.

  44. Kieron Gillen says:

    Howard: What do you think STALKER: CLEAR SKY was?

    KG

  45. Ravenger says:

    I’ll be buying L4D2, but what would really make me happy is for Valve make it possible to join LD41 games from within L4D2, either by importing the levels, or by simply accessing the original data in its original folder.

    Then if you have the original game you can seamlessly join L4D1 games as well as L4D2, and the community doesn’t get split. It also provides an incentive for L4D2 owners to buy the original if they don’t already own it.

    Of course this would only really work on the PC. The Xbox version will have to be a separate game because of Microsoft’s rules on DLC and achievements.

  46. Shake Appeal says:

    This is the post I tried to make on GAF yesterday, just after I was banned for complaining about the people complaining about Left 4 Dead 2:

    An acceptable amount of free DLC for L4D, if they followed the TF2 model, would have been maybe a new campaign (with new dialogue for the existing survivors), a new infected, a new gun or two… as well as continuing patches/updates to gameplay mechanics… over the next year to eighteen months or more. And yes, it would have been free, but it would have been a long time coming, and the game would have largely stagnated, even with the injection of the SDK and user maps (which are still coming, incidentally, and are compatible with L4D2). Valve simply wouldn’t have been giving it their full and proper attention, whatever you think, and the majority of the team responsible for L4D would have been repurposed to other large-scale retail projects.

    Instead we are getting a fully-fledged and fleshed sequel, with a whole team’s focus and time. We’re getting a hefty patch/update to the mechanics all at once (AI Director 2.0, with dynamic weather and level paths), entirely new crescendo and finale mechanics (the ‘gauntlet’) which clearly couldn’t be patched into the existing campaigns, several new infected (as yet unannounced), several new guns (as well as all-new melee weapons), new Survival maps, a new game mode (as yet unannounced), five full campaigns with a more tightly-woven story than the original four (and with dialogue and relationships between characters that evolve over the course of it, all of which has to be written, voice-acted, and recorded), extensive new graphical assets, new destruction models and ragdolls, and perhaps more yet to be announced (matchmaking 2.0?).

    Yes, it sucks that L4D represented largely the framework for a great game, but let’s not forget it took them years to work out how to get this game to play, and to devise the proper ‘blueprint’ for it. Now they have that in place, they can build on that (and subvert it, with things like daytime zombies and the wandering witch) and churn out content at a ferocious rate. I’m more than willing to pay for that if it means Valve employees get paid for their labours. Would this title have been more typically ‘Valve’ if they had never released L4D 1, waited until it was as fully-featured and evolved as L4D2, and then released it? Absolutely. But I would have missed out on six months and hundreds of hours of some of the most fun gameplay of my life, and Valve would have missed out on the mountain of data and real-life, in-the-wild experience being brought to bear on the sequel.

    Still clinging to the ‘L4D as TF2′ model? Another point to consider is that TF2 is entirely a multiplayer-only game. It doesn’t have a ‘story’, only characters (and character profiles, through the ‘Meet the …’ videos). Left 4 Dead is a co-operative story experience. The levels are more intricate, more scripted. It has a strictly singleplayer component, can be played with bots, can be played split-screen locally. It’s a bigger, more fully-featured, more expansive title, with many, many times the content to be added (and if you listen to the RPS podcast, you’ll hear the focus this time is on much more integrated and successive campaigns, with a more clearly linked story). TF2 tweaks and updates are largely to the game’s code. Yes, there are new levels, new weapons, new weapon effects… but they haven’t added a new class, a new character model. L4D is adding many, many new character models, many of which are deformable in new and interesting ways. TF2 levels are simpler (and smaller) to build than even one L4D map, and if the new campaigns follow the structure of the old, there will be more than 20 maps in L4D (plus the tweaked Survival maps). TF2 doesn’t require much new writing, or new voice acting; L4D2 does. Hours of it. It also requires the design and pacing and balancing of five linked campaigns. It’s a lot of work. It costs.

    So I guess you could have your free L4D DLC… but it would amount to a fraction of what you’re getting in L4D2, and it would take longer to arrive. Maybe your principles and convictions about how Valve as a company (as a business, trying to make money) should behave are so firm, so rigid, that you would prefer this relatively skimpy (but free!) future content over paying a little of your hard-earned cash for so, so much more, and near-immediately. If that’s the case, don’t buy it, but I reserve the right to laugh at you.

    Last point: I don’t know about you, but I work out the value of my games based on how much fun they get me for what I pay, not some fairy-tale value based on principles, perceived entitlement, and a nebulous notion of ‘content’. Knowing that I played the original game for hundreds of hours… for me, L4D2 and the content it contains (which eclipses the original) would be worth it at twice the price.

  47. P7uen says:

    COMPUTER GAME SEQUEL IN ‘LIKE-THE-FIRST-ONE-BUT-BETTER’ SHOCKER.

    So the ‘done when it’s done’ philosophy now gets complained about when it means delays and when it means early release.

    You people.

  48. jarvoll says:

    @Zaij: I’m frankly amazed that Valve have responded *this* quickly, in the middle of their industry’s biggest annual trade show, no less. I’m anxious for reassurance too, sharing many of the opinions voiced over the last couple of days, but I’d suggest perhaps exercising a little patience. It does seem like they have collectively failed to anticipate this reaction, and it’s presumably not easy to change tack as quickly as you and I might wish.

  49. Monkeybreadman says:

    I await convincement

  50. dog says:

    i’ve got to admit i was a bit disappointed with the lack of new content for L4D, but realistically speaking i’ve had dozens and dozens of hours out of L4D which means i’ve certainly had my moneys worth out of it…

    i actually do trust valve… going by their track record i think they’ll offer some incentive for current L4D owners, or bundle it with something else to give better value (portal 2 can’t be that far off can it?)….

    but really, the impotent rage and bile spewed at valve here is pretty sad… remember how everyone went ape-shit when the DLC was announced and every AIM presumed it was going to cost? shit, it was as if Gabe had personally come round to their houses and sat on their mothers….