The Boycott Left 4 Dead 2 campaign has taken some very strange turns in the last few days. You may well have heard the remarkable story of Valve flying two of the campaign's figureheads to visit their Seattle HQ last week. Walking_Target and Agent of Chaos were flown to the developers and shown the game running, as well as given behind-the-scenes access to the continuing development of the original L4D. And it seems to have made a difference. You can read their reaction to the trip here (and of course the furious reaction of others). Then the story gets more strange.
So these two vociferous boycotters wrote after their trip,
"We can definitely say that support for L4D is NOT being dropped by Valve and that they are actively pursuing bug fixes for Left 4 Dead. We're going to continue to talk to Valve and ask questions as needed, however if the frantic pace which we had seen people working at is any indication, we're not going to be left in the dust. The staff seemed to honestly love the original 4 Survivors and many said that 'we're not done with them yet'."
It's a magical story. These 'Left 4 Dead 2 Boycott Staff' also reported that the sequel is not the rush job they'd been campaigning against.
"As for L4D2, things seemed balanced and 'tight' and did not feel like a rushed job. While we were visiting their offices we personally witnessed what can only be called a small army of artists, coders, mappers hard at work, which explains the rapid transformations in artwork that we've all seen. What we can say with confidence is that the quality of gameplay in Left 4 Dead 2 is not in question; and it will only get better (from what we understand, almost daily testing of game builds by most of the staff at Valve)."
Now clearly this isn't going to appease everyone, and of course many others in the group now feel betrayed by this apparent about-face. But this isn't a post about them, or what happened there. It's about what happened next.
Australian L4D modder Joe decided this was decidedly unfair. He's been making Valve game-based mods for a while, but has never once been flown to visit Valve. He wrote to Gabe Newell to demand that this be changed in light of his currently in development L4D1 map.
And received this reply:
This took Joe by surprise. He realised the tables had been turned, and wrote back:
It seems he does. And not just Gabe. Erik Johnson too.
So rather brilliantly, Joe has now begun a fund-raising scheme to raise the money needed to fly Gabe and Erik out to Brisbane, Australia. Hopefully if they play his mod they'll change their minds and call off their boycott.
He's at $400 so far, which isn't really close to the amount needed to fly Mr Newell in the aerial accommodation to which he's likely accustomed, let alone Mr Johnson too. Come on everyone, let's donate! Let's make this happen! Paypal donations can be made on Joe's site, and he promises to return the money if Gabe and Erik change their minds.
Will Gabe be creating a Steam group and printing his own t-shirts? So far this information has not come to light, but it can only be a matter of time. Thanks to Nicholas for the tip.