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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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40. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 9, 2009, 17:10 The PC Warrior
 
I am fanatical about my platform but even I cannot bring myself to pay for this obvious cash grab. There isn't much to be said that hasn't been said already in many other topics but I'll just add that online multiplayer games for $59 was already a tight sale with me. The extra content is what pushed me over to purchase the first installment of the franchise. I won't be buying the second when they could just announce a third a year later from then.  
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39. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 17:38 Prez
 
That was the best Hitler tirade yet on Youtube. I was literally laughing my ass off. Especially at the part where the girl told the crying girl, "Don't worry; they could still finish it." Laugh Laugh2

EDIT: In case you don't what I'm talking about (it was buried deep in Johhny's long post), here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQe4tlsfRbY&feature=email

This comment was edited on Jun 5, 2009, 17:39.
 
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38. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 16:48 Tumbler
 
Personally I've easily had my sale-price money's worth of L4D, but it's still a little galling that they're not doing what was promised when all I'm tired of in L4D is the same old maps. I think they could have managed this better - the reaction would have been different if they'd released what they are still doing for L4D plus released a new campaign and THEN announced L4D2 with a slightly more respectable time gap.

Pretty sure anyone who buys L4D2 and gets shafted this next time is clearly looking for it. When 3 months goes by after you buy the game and you're still waiting for those last 2 campaigns to be delivered, or the flame bullets to show up, because who knows what will really end up coming with L4D2, can we say, "I told you so?" Will you even care at that point? Or have you already decided that you love this game based on what you've seen?

Jeez, I'm amazed anyone is this desperate for a video game. Valve has a better chance at selling me another copy of L4D than they do this POS. I can't seem to wrap my head around anyone wanting to give Valve more money for this. You've got to be just swimming in dollars I guess, because I get pretty pissed when I spend money on something and what was promised to me is not delivered. It doesn't matter if it's a fucking dollar, if I order a cheeseburger from McDonalds and they deliver a plain burger you think I'm going to just go order another cheeseburger? You've got to be fucking kidding me.

L4D2 has a extra fee attached where you have to give me $1. Sorry, thems the rules, hand it over. You seem to be anxious to just throw money away so for $10 you can have a special discount on those fees. You'll be paying Super Fees, totally better than regular fees, that is why it costs $10.
 
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37. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 14:16 DG
 
People are annoyed because they're not getting what they were promised, arguments that played a part in convincing them to part with their cash. They're annoyed some more because they went around saying that and selling the game to other people, and now they learn they have been misled into telling something that's not true.

Compounding that is Valve is probably the main thing leading PC gaming to a good place right now. Most other major players ran away or turned to DRM, but Valve talked about how the business works better if you service customers well. The L4D2 announcement is seen as back-pedalling on that.

Being annoyed is justified. Sure there's been massive overreaction but welcome to the internet.

Personally I've easily had my sale-price money's worth of L4D, but it's still a little galling that they're not doing what was promised when all I'm tired of in L4D is the same old maps. I think they could have managed this better - the reaction would have been different if they'd released what they are still doing for L4D plus released a new campaign and THEN announced L4D2 with a slightly more respectable time gap.
 
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36. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 13:58 theyarecomingforyou
 
Chun-Li, Ryu, Cammy and Ken are four veteran world tournament fighters trying to survive a zombie apocalypse in a vast open world zombie action shooter that will take you across the entire globe. Special infected could be Dhalsim as the Smoker, Zangief as the Tank, Blanka as the Hunter and E.Honda as the Boomer.

There I've made a better concept sequel than Valve.
lol
 
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35. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 12:43 Verno
 
LOL, I just spent at least 5 min trying to imagine just WTF this would even look like...

Chun-Li, Ryu, Cammy and Ken are four veteran world tournament fighters trying to survive a zombie apocalypse in a vast open world zombie action shooter that will take you across the entire globe. Special infected could be Dhalsim as the Smoker, Zangief as the Tank, Blanka as the Hunter and E.Honda as the Boomer.

There I've made a better concept sequel than Valve.
 
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34. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 11:57 Tumbler
 
Super Left 4 Dead 2 Turbo HD Remix

LOL, I just spent at least 5 min trying to imagine just WTF this would even look like...

So you didn't release dev tools earlier because playtesters found them confusing? I'm starting to think playtesters are Valve's excuse for not delivering on shit. They seem to have some playtester related excuse for every missed or changed feature.

I gave Valve the benefit of the doubt with L4D, they had an excellent game with strong potential at the time. Assuming they continued to add content it would was going to become a real powerhouse...

Sadly it seems they want to exploit this franchise and keep players from making their own content so that each year gamers are dying to buy the next little version for $50.

And Gabe's whole excuse that the devs came up with this idea and he was the one concerned about the rep of the company is such complete bullshit. What company even asks the workers what they think a product should sell for? Or how it will be marketed? What a fucking joke. This whole announcement has blown up in his face and he's throwing the dev team under the bus? Classy. But what would you expect from a company that had a great game like BF2 L4D and decided to crank out as much shit like special forces L4D2 as possible to maximize profit.

Crazy that EA is involved in this again...totally random coincidence... Fucking scumbags.
 
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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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32. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 10:08 Verno
 
Here's quotes from Gabe himself from the L4D launch:

Valve intends to support hotly anticipated zombie survival shooter Left 4 Dead post-release with new characters, new maps, new achievements and new weapons in order to grow the community, Gabe Newell has revealed.

Newell said that Valve's support of the game post-launch will be essential for growing the community.

He said: "One of the things that we're doing is we seem to be in a transition between games as a package product and games more of a service. So if you look at Team Fortress 2, one of things that's really helped grow the community is the continuous updates, where we release new maps, new character classes, new unlockables, new weapons. And we tell the stories about the characters, like the meet the sniper, or meet the sandwich. And that ongoing delivery of content really seems to grow the community.

"So each time we've released one of those for Team Fortress 2 we've seen about a 20% increase in the number of people who are playing online. And that number is really important because it determines how many community created maps there are, how many servers are running, and so on. 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."

Funny how most of that never happened. The matchmaker is still borked, dedicated server admins are still unhappy with the poor state of the HLDS functionality for L4D and fans are unhappy with the games content.
 
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31. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 08:41 Verno
 
I'm not really impressed by the features claimed in L4D2. An improved Director? The original Director was pretty unimpressive and didn't lead to anywhere near as much replayability as was suggested.

Yeah, all of that pre-release hype for the Director was total bullshit. I could not believe how different the rushes and stuff played out from what I expected. Oh my god the smoker spawned on the roof instead of in the courtyard, AMAZING AI! Also, Valve's little "Gauntlet" events in L4D2 are a lame feature purposely disabled in L4D1. Using the beta SDK you may only call a panic event(not a rush, a panic event) every 2 minutes in your map. This is to prevent map authors from making their own gauntlet events. They also went out of their to disable mod makers from putting in melee weapons.

So it's pretty obvious they were making the sequel even while L4D was being developed considering those limitations are in the existing campaign maps too.

LOL @ this quote from Gabe:

Early on we wanted to release the developing tools for Left 4 Dead. However, we soon found that playtesters found the tools too confusing, and worse, too time consuming. After many revisions playtesters still were unhappy. We came to the conclusion that it would be better for the players if we simply removed the ability to create new maps and just handled the work ourselves. This gave us the freedom to listen to any ideas people might have with the first game and then later on incorporate those ideas into a 5 campaign packaged sequel. We think this solution ended being this best route.

So you didn't release dev tools earlier because playtesters found them confusing? I'm starting to think playtesters are Valve's excuse for not delivering on shit. They seem to have some playtester related excuse for every missed or changed feature.

I'll pick up this game when it's $15 but by then they will have probably announced Super Left 4 Dead 2 Turbo HD Remix.

This comment was edited on Jun 5, 2009, 10:27.
 
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30. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 07:14 Dades
 
Only between CoD 1 and CoD 2, but then there was the CoD expansion pack in between. Here's the release schedule:

CoD Fall 2003
CoD Expansion Fall 2004
CoD2 Fall 2005
CoD3 Fall 2006
CoD4:MW Fall 2007
CoD:WaW Fall 2008
CoD:MW2 Fall 2009

So yeah, we've gotten a CoD game for Christmas every year since 2003. Edit: And apparently a CoD7 is in development, so the trend ought to hold at least through 2010.

I stand corrected but I think it's worth pointing out that two different studios produce the series which is another reason it's not comparable.
 
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29. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 07:11 theyarecomingforyou
 
I was on the fence about the original L4D but went for it anyway. I didn't like the Versus mode, I didn't really like the community and found the matchmaking / netcode to be pretty terrible. I still very much enjoyed the game for a while but got bored of it.

I'm not really impressed by the features claimed in L4D2. An improved Director? The original Director was pretty unimpressive and didn't lead to anywhere near as much replayability as was suggested. Day / night? Standard feature. New weapons? Look very similar to me, whereas incendiary rounds and frying pans are a bit cheesy. New special infected? A tank that stuns you instead of knocking you down sounds pretty uninspired.

Valve never pull sequels this close together, particularly not for a multiplayer game. It took years for Counter-Strike: Source to overtake the original and yet Valve is pushing out a sequel for L4D already? The game costs more than TF2, has had less support, has more problems and less players (18,000 peak, versus 30,000 for TF2). I may well pick it up if cheap but L4D2 is completely out of character for Valve and certainly not in a good way.
 
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28. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 05:59 Prez
 
It's shocking to me how people assume that that those of us who are bothered by Valve's handling of L4D somehow are the same audience who buy the new Call of Duty and Madden every year. I am baffled at how you could think you know that. There are different subsets of consumers, and many prove fairly consistent. Generally speaking, I would think anyone upset with Valve over this mess is also someone who doesn't buy the flavor of the week sport's roster updates and doesn't care for how EA milks the Sims, etc etc.  
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27. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 05:14 vacs
 
This is a whole new game, new characters, new locations, new weapons, new infected. There are serious improvements in every area that was lacking on the first. From a more intelligent director, to actual random weather, world objects, and the levels change up as well. There are more chapters, each chapter is supposed to be quite a bit bigger bla bla bla yadda yadda....

or maybe it's still exactly the same engine which the addition of weather changes and a Director capable of changing it, reskined characters and weapons, the same buggy and POS matchmaking system (slighty enhanced of course) resulting in absolutely the same gaming experience and which will obsolete in 2010 when L4D3 comes out.

I lost my trust in Valve, I will not buy this new beta version just to get deceived again by Valve with no real updates or added content. I made this error last time, it will not happen again.
 
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26. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 04:24 Jackplug
 
I bought the 1st L4D and within a week i was bored, I cannot see how a sequel which for me and everyone else looks and plays completely the same as the 1st only different being the gfx..

I will not be paying twice for half a game that is almost the same as the 1st, which should have an update to allow it to have melee weapons.

As for TF2 I think they have done a completely shit job of updating TF2, the game is unbalanced and chaotic. I play the Spy most of the time and the new weapons for this class are shite and keeps you out of the game.

Whinge over!
 
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25. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 02:18 Scottish Martial Arts
 
The Call of Duty games are usually two years apart and google seems to bear me out here.

Only between CoD 1 and CoD 2, but then there was the CoD expansion pack in between. Here's the release schedule:

CoD Fall 2003
CoD Expansion Fall 2004
CoD2 Fall 2005
CoD3 Fall 2006
CoD4:MW Fall 2007
CoD:WaW Fall 2008
CoD:MW2 Fall 2009

So yeah, we've gotten a CoD game for Christmas every year since 2003. Edit: And apparently a CoD7 is in development, so the trend ought to hold at least through 2010.

This comment was edited on Jun 5, 2009, 02:23.
 
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24. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 01:21 Ventura
 
I'm sure anyone who didn't get into versus mode felt ripped off as far as the rest of L4D is concerned.

I'm definitely in that category right now, and I bought TWO copies of L4D. You try and show a bit of loyalty towards a company these days, and you get shafted.

Short of them setting up some sort of discount scheme for owners of the original, the're no chance of me buying L4D2.
 
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23. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 00:55 MMORPGHoD
 
There's no comparison to CoD when it comes to single player campaigns. L4D's "campaign" was much shorter than CoDs and not nearly as impressive. You blow through the L4D levels in coop mode. I'm sure anyone who didn't get into versus mode felt ripped off as far as the rest of L4D is concerned.  
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22. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 00:38 Dades
 
People are being winy little bitches indeed.

The Call of Duty example is practically identical. We get a new Call of Duty thats 4-5 hours long, completely linear (zero replayability outside of multiplayer) with solid multiplayer every single year. Any maps being made for last years CoD never work, if they release a SDK at all in the first place. But people don't bitch, they scream 'yea.. BRING IT ON!'

It's about every two years. I'm pretty sure Call of Duty gets bitched out here all the time so I have no idea where you're getting this from. If you mean consumers in general, it's because Call of Duty is a proven franchise with an established history. Left 4 Dead is a younger IP that had a problematic launch and almost non-existent post launch support. Not terribly similar. If there were 4 other L4D games then I'd be right there with you saying "hey you know what to expect".

This is a whole new game, new characters, new locations, new weapons, new infected.

It's the same engine. New models for main characters doesn't really excite me. New locations ok that's cool. The weapons I've seen so far are pretty meh, stainless shotgun? Suppressed Uzi? The melee weapons are all I can get excited about. For the record I've watched quite a bit of the media and I've only seen one new regular infected and 1 new special.

From a more intelligent director

That's your assumption based on the press releases. In the videos I see no such improvements. Feel free to point them out.

, to actual random weather,

Dude, rain effects and overcast skies? Come on, that's not much of a feature to tout.

and the levels change up as well. There are more chapters, each chapter is supposed to be quite a bit biggerq

Not in the way you're probably expecting I wager. Dumpster here one time, not here the next. As for bigger chapters, remains to be seen.

There will be more story and they even said that old content made with the SDK will work

Actually no, they said they want to be able to do this. They also want to be able to play the L4D campaigns in the sequel. In his last interview Chet went out of his way to say that these were hopes and not guarantees, Valve could cut anything if time is an issue. Let's hope the community anger dissuades them from doing that.

Do you pay $25 for every new CoD game that comes out every year? Then why the fuck would you for a game from the guys who make the BEST SHOOTERS IN THE WORLD?

Grow up people.

Let me ask you a question. I'd like a real honest answer and not some snappy little sarcasm or insult in return. It took them two and a half years to make the original game. How exactly do you see them making a bigger game with more of everything in less than a year? Keeping in mind that there's still plenty of broken stuff from the first game that would carry over and need to be fixed alongside all of these features you're excited about. Valve especially who are known for dragging their feet on titles to polish them, often delaying them multiple times.

This comment was edited on Jun 5, 2009, 00:43.
 
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21. Re: Left 4 Dead 2 Interview Jun 5, 2009, 00:23 Fion
 
People are being winy little bitches indeed.

The Call of Duty example is practically identical. We get a new Call of Duty thats 4-5 hours long, completely linear (zero replayability outside of multiplayer) with solid multiplayer every single year. Any maps being made for last years CoD never work, if they release a SDK at all in the first place. But people don't bitch, they scream 'yea.. BRING IT ON!'

This is a whole new game, new characters, new locations, new weapons, new infected. There are serious improvements in every area that was lacking on the first. From a more intelligent director, to actual random weather, world objects, and the levels change up as well. There are more chapters, each chapter is supposed to be quite a bit bigger. There will be more story and they even said that old content made with the SDK will work, they even want to be able to use maps and content made with the SDK for the old game to work in the new one, old characters being able to use the melee weapons, etc.

Do you pay $25 for every new CoD game that comes out every year? Then why the fuck would you for a game from the guys who make the BEST SHOOTERS IN THE WORLD?

Do you get this way with the same stupid ass EA sports games released every year, often even worse then last years? No, people freak out with anticipation and lap it up for $65 every single damn year. Even when they shut down the multiplayer for the previous years!

Grow up people.

Hell, maybe L4D2 will come with an actual server browser and they will drop that POS matchmaking service on the PC version.

This comment was edited on Jun 5, 2009, 00:25.
 
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