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Left 4 Dead 2 Interview

Before its time? Valve explains Left 4 Dead sequel to Ars is a sit down between Chet Faliszek and Ars Technica as Valve looks to assuage the anger of fans over plans to release a sequel so soon after the original Left 4 Dead. The gist of their reasoning is how much bigger a project this is than their Team Fortress updates, though he also describes how Gabe Newell had to be talked into the sequel, saying it was against the character of the company. Chet outlines all the content the sequel will offer, and provides reassurances that existing L4D mods will work with L4D2.

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33. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 11:49 JohnnyRotten
The most telling item in the article is this part:

..the team brought their concepts and ideas to create a sequel to Gabe Newell, and even he was skeptical about the idea. According to Faliszek, he expressed his doubts, and claimed this move was against the character of the company.

In my opinion, Gabe should have stuck to his guns. With the horribly mismanaged launch campaign for their new product, they’ve manage to burn down the entire trust ecosystem they’ve built up with their customers almost overnight. That’s not a forest you can regrow overnight. This is pretty high on the scale of business mistakes.

I can certainly understand the dismay of some of the gaming community here as many valid points have been raised:

They’ve made promises with the original product that they haven’t kept to date. This is a problem.

They keep talking about how revolutionary the next game will be, but it appears to me to be an evolutionary step forward. Valve’s previous method of release games – only after long/extensive internal development, testing, and quality control would seem to invalidate the “full sequel” concept that is being pushed. If they’ve already got the L4D2 version of the game up and running with the new bad guys (as indicated by the writer), then how much work was it, really? This is a problem.

One of the justifications for the new game is that “It's not nearly that easy with Left 4 Dead, where one change affects nearly everything else”. This logic would seem to infer that L4D2 will suffer the same problems as it is the same engine, just with more intractable features added. Are we being told that we can look forward to L4D[#] releases on the Madden schedule because of this? This is a problem.

They haven’t acknowledged (to *my* knowledge) to date the impact this will have on the existing game (i.e. everyone flees to the L4D2 servers). This is a problem.

They keep presenting the false dichotomy of it could have only been done as a free update, or as a (potentially full price) game, when in fact there are several other options available. This is a problem.

As others have noted, there is a lot of “want to” and “hope to” as regards to features and functionality of the new game. Given the short time to the release, this is a problem.

It seems pretty obvious to me that they’ve gone into damage control mode here, and don’t really have answers for the community at this time. This goes back to my first point – which is they didn’t really think this through. My guess is that everyone would be ecstatic about the new product (New toons! New maps! New weapons! New bad guys!) without fully considering the history of broken promises on the first game, and possibly worse for Valve, without truly understanding the (potentially former) very high regard the community held for their company. For a lot of people, this still smacks of going over to the side of Evil (all rights reserved), and that alone will start the forest fire.

Last on this ridiculously long post about a game we really still know very little about is that I still agree with the “red box” idea Dagok brought up on another post. It might be a way for Valve to dig themselves out from under this hole (HL2-EP3, Portal 2, L4D2).

As a side note, how come this game was announced at a MS press conference? How is MS involved with Valve and L4D2?

'Nother note: Blue's media link on this subject is priceless. I laughed so hard I almost cried.

This comment was edited on Jun 5, 2009, 11:50.
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