Left 4 Dead Left Behind

Want to kill zombies this summer? Well, you can’t. You’ll have to wait until November, according to Shacknews. Yes, Left 4 Dead has been delayed by a couple of months (well, from what was always a fairly inspecific late Summer/Autumn date, so one could argue it isn’t a delay at all). Balls.

Quality control and making the game “approachable to players of all skills” are the cited reasons that the game can’t be released now, despite apparently being fully playable. Post-TF2 and with developer Turtle Rock now owned by Valve, I guess the pressure to deliver is fairly intense. So I rescind my “balls” – because I’d much rather wait than have the game disappoint. More positively, there will be a L4D demo, though probably not until after release.

43 Comments

  1. dishwasherlove says:

    Oh the humanity. In other news I hear Valve is updating Day of Defeat Source to include the tasty freeze kill cam from TF2.

  2. Sideath says:

    Boooooooooooo.

  3. Cedge says:

    I had honestly never even heard them peg it for this summer. I’ve been under the impression that it was Q4 2008 for quite some time, now.

  4. born2expire says:

    yeah i think this is old news, i believe they announced a while back that it would be fall ’08 and to be packaged with episode 3.

  5. Feet says:

    “I rescind my balls.”

    That sounds a lot funnier than it is.

  6. Fumarole says:

    As the man says: a late game is only late until it ships, a bad game is bad forever. I have the utmost confidence in Valve to make this game as good as it can be, and only then release it unto the world.

  7. Meat Circus says:

    Presumably the original plan didn’t involve subjecting it to the Valve playtest of doom, but Gabe simply wouldn’t be happy shipping out a Valve-branded game in that state.

    These guys are perfectionists.

  8. Alex says:

    Seems like more of a wintry game anyway – to be played in a mostly darkened room..

  9. Zâv says:

    I don’t suppose there’s any chance they’ll take a moment of their now-more-abundant time to consider renaming the game to “Left for Dead” – the game looks okay, but the title still makes me cringe.

  10. Radiant says:

    All they seem to do is moan moan moan these facking zombies.

  11. Naurgul says:

    There’s no chance in hell this game will be packaged with Episode Three as born2expire says.

  12. spd from Russia says:

    well what do you expect from valve… this game will be out in 2009

  13. Arghmornings says:

    Fumarole:
    That is(/was) true for consoles but on PC we have patches. Making the game day 1 highly polished when it’s multiplayer-focused is a bit crazy I think; there’s no way their testing can be anything like as efficient as letting the entire internet chew on the game. I could understand for the console release, but they could put out the PC one first. Maybe they’ll just do an extensive beta.

  14. aiusepsi says:

    The reviews of the first release last forever. It’s no good for the game to be fun a month or two months after it’s come out. By then you’ve already missed the boat, anyone who looks your game up on Metacritic is going to think it’s terrible, and it’ll never get played.

  15. Professor Pyro, Ph.D. says:

    Valve is just about the only games company that I trust entirely. If they decided to postpone the release, it’s for good reason.

  16. Y3k-Bug says:

    @argh

    I’ve never seen someone argue that a developer not spend so much time properly balancing and testing their game. What a bizarre attitude.

    Made even more bizarre because a game that is broken and needs a patch to attain balance is going to suffer from a mass exodus of players; not many people enjoy paying for a game that doesn’t work out of the box. Save MMO’s but thats different as its a subscription model, people will feel compelled to wait it out since they will be paying for it in perpetuity. But a regular multiplayer game? No way.

    I’ll be the first to doubt Valve’s constant delays of their products when they do so and the games come out less than stellar. I own nearly every product they’ve ever made, and haven’t had complaints yet so they’ll get all the time they need from this gamer.

  17. Fumarole says:

    “I’ve never seen someone argue that a developer not spend so much time properly balancing and testing their game. What a bizarre attitude.”

    Indeed.

  18. squerl says:

    I dislike the way that once one gaming website has a headline like “Left 4 Dead Delayed”, the rest follow. They announced November release last month at the EA Games Studio Showcase in London: link to left4dead411.com

  19. Y3k-Bug says:

    @squerl
    [snark] Incidentally I dislike the way you take every oppurtunity to mention your left4dead website whenever an article for the game shows up on RPS. [/snark]

    Oh, and a nice quote from Doug Lombardi from the Shacknews interview:

    It’s a business decision, really. Too often I think the development side of things runs the house. People say, “Oh, we’ve got to target those high-end core gamers. We have the best graphics, sweetest screenshots, and we’ll get more press, and we’ll win.” Okay, well, you’ll win in the pre-launch phase. Then when the game comes out, and 60-70% of the people who don’t have that sweet machine–maybe even higher numbers, maybe 80% don’t have that sweet machine–well you just cut off your ability to sell to all of those guys.

    If only someone had told Crytek that.

  20. Dominic White says:

    I’m not too upset. After TF2 and Portal, I’m acually glad whenever Valve delay a game. You know it’s because they have the most obsessive testing and tuning department in PC gaming today.

    It’s not like the market is flooded with co-op zombie hunting games, so they’ve pretty much got one shot at putting the subgenre on the map. Delaying until L4D is perfect is fine by me.

    Listen to the commentary tracks on any of Valves recent projects if you want to actually get a nice look at the playtesting and refinement process that they put their games through. It’s pretty brutal. Most other studios just seem to treat it as a way of catching any gamebreaking bugs before launch.

  21. markcocjin says:

    They probably came up with more bugs and solutions after that round of public demonstrations. It only comes out when they do those sort of things. We haven’t seen an in-depth demo of the infected so there’s a whole world of tweaking there. Each infected class presents a whole world of unique experiences. Like how I wished I could play Half-Life 2 as a Vortigaunt, the Overwatch, or a Hunter.

  22. RIchPowers says:

    Ya, like everyone else I thought a Q4 release was well known.

  23. Fumarole says:

    RPS is slowly becoming a victim of its own success as evidenced by the frequent appearance of Mario and his ilk. Hopefully this tide can be turned before it is too late.

  24. Pace says:

    You’d need a pretty big stick to beat back all the silliness out there.

  25. Nick says:

    Bah, everyone knows sweet graphics are what’s important, screw being able to run the game.

  26. Riotpoll says:

    I too thought it wasn’t coming until the autumn (Q4 whatever, November is autumn), but the interview was interesting nonetheless.

  27. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    @Mario

    Bitter, no?

  28. Ginger Yellow says:

    “Making the game day 1 highly polished when it’s multiplayer-focused is a bit crazy I think; there’s no way their testing can be anything like as efficient as letting the entire internet chew on the game.”

    It’s not just ordinary testing and balancing though. Valve’s whole design process is thoroughly iterative. Build, test, rebuild, test again, rebuild. As Dominic says, testing is what makes their games so much better than anyone else’s.

  29. Arghmornings says:

    Obviously I want them to spend the time to do polish, I’d just rather they put it out sooner and do it post-launch. I’m sure that doing it that way will get to a polished state faster. Every multiplayer FPS/RTS I’ve ever played has gone through major post-release patching anyway, this won’t be any different no matter how long they spend on it. However, if they’re actually hitting reset on parts of the project then clearly that’s worth taking the time on.
    The reviews point is a good one, but since from what we hear the game is already pretty excellent I don’t see it applying in this case. I’m quite happy buying it as an 8/10 now with the likelihood that extra polish, maps and mods (which can’t even start being made until the thing is actually out) will push it to 9+/10 later.

  30. nakke says:

    What? A Valve game can’t keep its original launch date?
    I think I’m going to faint :S

  31. RichPowers says:

    @Ginger: Very true. The dev commentary tracks in Portal offer some great examples of how Valve observed playtesters and then modified the game accordingly. The Companion Cube only came about because early playtesters were unsure of what to do with the block (use it as protection). So they made a sort of character out of it so players would know to bring it along and solve the puzzles with it.

  32. yutt says:

    Doug Lombardi is an extremely slim man. Some people make the most nonsensical insults.

    link to stuffwelike.com

    Could Mario be IP banned forever so our eyes are no longer tainted by his vitriolic idiocy?

  33. RPS says:

    Please don’t feed the troll, folks.

  34. macc says:

    Hi!

    A little off subject, but here’s a new really good article from Doug Lombardi on PC gaming. Should be on the frontpage actually:

    Part 1

    Part 2 of the interview is on L4D, Steamworks and future plans etc (but I don’t read Ep3 anywhere, darn!):
    Part 2

  35. Optimaximal says:

    If only someone had told Crytek that.

    They did… repeatedly…

  36. Bitkari says:

    I’m very happy to leave TR/Valve up to their own devices on this one.

  37. Dominic White says:

    Something else to keep in mind: Valve have apparently been after Turtle Rock for some time, but TR only agreed to be bought up along with L4D.

    One thing we can look forward to in future Valve projects is most likely vastly improved AI. Ever play CS:S with bots? They’re some of the best artificial teammates out there, full of useful battle chatter and even whoops and cheers when they win.

    Given that the big gimmick of L4D is the AI (mappers just create the map itself, place a couple of checkpoints for players, and set beginning/end points, and the AI ‘director’ populates and scripts everything randomly and on the fly), it seems quite reasonable that we’re going to be seeing smarter characters in Source engine games in the future. Shouldn’t take too much effort to port AI code from one Source game to another, or so I’d assume.

    My wish: Team Fortress 2 bots, each one actually working with a class-appropriate personality, with more chatter added to make everything work.

  38. Y3k-Bug says:

    I *think* it was stated in the TF2 commentaries that they didn’t add bots because they couldn’t get them to facilitate the whole team play aspect of the game. The bots you see in a game like Counter-Strike are in a game that’s team deathmatch.

    There’s a world of difference between team play and team deathmatch, which makes it that much harder to put a bot together for teamplay.

  39. silvrstar says:

    Actually, the original, ‘Classic’ TF had some excellent unofficial bots. Classes worked and assisted each other pretty well, arguably better than their human counterparts. Even the spy and medic classes were skillfully implemented.

    I can’t say the same for TF2 as I haven’t played that, but I’d assume that with it’s gameplay changes, it’d pass as a whole new game.

  40. Nick says:

    By original do you mean Quake?

  41. silvrstar says:

    My bad, I meant the Half-Life ‘GoldSrc’ Classic TF.

  42. Kadayi says:

    My wish: Team Fortress 2 bots, each one actually working with a class-appropriate personality, with more chatter added to make everything work.

    AI smart enough to play a spy convincingly? Or support as a medic? Or defend as an engineer? Or ambush as a Pyro/Demo man? I think you’ve a long wait on that one tbh. AI is easy to spot after a while, and easy to outwit.

  43. Nick says:

    I wasn’t trying to be pedantic btw, I was just curious as I recall some quake bots being pretty advanced back in the day.