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Valve on Why L4D2 and Not Ep 3

Left 4 Dead 2 Comic-Con 2009 Interview on G4tv.com is a videotaped conversation with Valve spokesperson Doug Lombardi about the upcoming zombie shooter sequel. One of the thrusts of the conversation is storytelling, describing story-oriented dialog that was stripped from the first game, and the lessons they've learned about how this does and does not fit in the context of a replayable action game. Doug also says the that the cliché of "Valve time" (where games are shipped "when they are done," which is inevitably after their planned release date) is "actually a bit out of date," since many of their recent releases have been more timely. He also goes into reasons for such a rapid L4D sequel, including the passion the team has for the project and the fresh ideas they have for the follow up, coming out and saying development of Left 4 Dead 2 is easier than development would be for the third episode of Half-Life 2:

…and then you had the AI director, which allowed us to start building sets and get gameplay up and running really, really quickly. In a game like Half-Life, every moment, every gesture Alyx makes, every facial expression she gives you, is pretty much 'hand crafted,' and that's just a lot of hand-stitching. So for us to be able to put out… I mean, we tried it with episodes, we said we were gong to go smaller, and we were going to get quicker, and we got a little bit quicker, but we didn't get that much quicker. And it was because of that, you know, that hand-stitching of that single-player experience where you have to go through and script every dramatic moment, script every time Alyx is going to turn and look at you like this [Doug includes a good impression of Alyx's doe-eyed look] and what have you. And with Left 4 Dead 2, with the AI Director, a lot of that is handed over to the controls, and then you can say, 'okay, we can just start building new content now, checking it in and start play-testing immediately'."

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2. Episode 3 Jul 25, 2009, 11:55 Riker
 
Mark my words, there will be no Episode 3. I predict Valve will surprise everybody by revealing Half-Life 3 instead.  
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