Sunday, July 19, 2009

If we run out of bullets - they're gonna wish we hadn't.

So here’s a bit of ridiculousness I’ve been meaning to comment on: the “boycott” of Left 4 Dead 2.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I was stunned when developer Valve announced at E3 that they were releasing a sequel to Left 4 Dead less than a year after the original game’s release. Valve is not really known for being a speedy developer. With the original Team Fortress coming out in 1996, they didn’t release the sequel until 2007 – 11 years later. With Half Life and Half Life 2 having 6 years between them as well, people have come to expect that Value will take their sweet, sweet time releasing new games but the end result always negates the wait.

So yes, it’s a little surprising that Left 4 Dead 2 is coming out so soon but, honestly, I was thrilled. Like, jumping up and down thrilled. It’s more Left 4 Dead! How awesome is that?!

Well, apparently, not everyone thinks it’s awesome. In fact, as of today, 40,070 people have joined the “official boycott Left 4 Dead 2” community.

On Steam.

I’ll ignore the irony.

Apparently, these people feel as though Left 4 Dead isn’t done and that Valve should first properly update it before abandoning it for a sequel. People were expecting years – or at least a good while - of Team Fortress 2 style updates before the announcement of a sequel. They believe that such an early release will end the playing of Left 4 Dead as everyone just moves on to the sequel, making the original game useless. To sum it up? They feel as though Value is ripping them off.

Here’s my issue: none of these people has played the game.

I find it incredibly annoying that people are boycotting a game they haven’t gotten their hands on and, accordingly, have no earthly idea how different it is from the original game. I mean, let’s give credit where credit is due: Value is an awesome developer. They always produce quality products – which they continue to support – at fair prices; they’ve even released DLC for free as with the Left 4 Dead Survivor pack. Founded by independently wealthy, ex-Microsoft employees, this is a company that loves what they do and are staffed with people who are not driven by money but by passion. They have consistently proven this time and time again over the years. My question is, why would this time be any damn different?

As for Value and players abandoning the original game for the sequel? I have full confidence that they will continue to support and update it despite the release of the second game. Also? I’m sure, no matter how good the sequel is, I’ll miss running through cornfields with Bill, Louis, and Zoey. Yeah, I always play Francis. He’s the man.

In sort, I have no problem paying more money for more Left 4 Dead. Not at all. I do have a problem with people thinking that this company owes them something. They have and will continue to give you great games. They don’t owe you shit.

Basically, these people need to quit their bitching and swallow their pride. I’m positive I will see at least half of them – if not closer to 100% of them – at their local Gamestop within weeks of Left 4 Dead 2’s release.


  1. That is 8 kinds of ridiculous. Of all the things in the world to boycott [um, Exxon, anyone?], why would anyone waste their time? Now, I love Left 4 Dead, but are we going to mourn the non-continuation of these characters when 4 just as capable characters are given to us? L4D2 all the way!! [bouncebounce]


  2. 1.) I agree, 100%. But I also do truly think that despite how awesome this new game is going to be we'll feel the urge to play the original as well.

    2.) Oh, hai Kendall!

  3. Yup. Same thing for me with Gears of War and the sequel. I still like playing the original.

  4. I have no problem with them making Left 4 Dead 2 as a quick cash-in. I have more of a problem with the price they're charging for two dedicated multiplayer games with extremely limited replayability. I bought the first one for $20, and that's probably the price at which I'd pick up the sequel. I'd rather speak with my cash than with a nonsensical protest.

  5. Meanwhile you have someone like me who is still yet to play the original, because he lives under a rock. That or he was overwhelmed with all of last year's titles -- take your pick.

    Despite my behind the times status, I was also completely baffled when I saw the reaction to the sequel's announcement. In fact, I'm still baffled; it truly is another of those WTF moments of this industry. What are those 40-odd thousand people thinking, exactly? It's Valve, surely that should be enough. Guess reputation means nothing these days?

    Ah whatever, how about we enjoy the game (not that I can talk) while they stare at the wall? Sound good? Awesome!

  6. Matthew,

    Left 4 Dead has "extremely limited replayability"? Hmm. I'm not sure if I'm really getting what you meant to say with that or if I'm just a giant freak but I've gotten hours and hours and hours and HOURS of fun and surprising gameplay from the original Left 4 Dead. Between the AI direction which never makes a run through of a level quite the same to the always unpredictable versus mode, I could play this game for days on end without getting bored.

    If you however haven't gotten as much enjoyment out of it as I have then I without question understand your hesitation and unwillingness to pay 60 bucks for the sequel. I've never thought of it from that position before.

  7. Steven,

    Come out from under that rock! You really should check the game out. It's such an amazing bit of fun. Lynsey and I play it all the time and we'd gladly run through a game with you if you'd like.

    But yeah, I agree with your comment on Valve. The company is awesome and it irritates me to no end to see their "loyal" patrons having such little faith in them. But what are you gonna do, eh? More zombie killin' for me! :p

  8. Not to split hairs, but the reason I say "limited replayability" is not because of the AI director, but rather the scarcity of levels and few play modes. With regard to the levels, sure, enemies come out at different rates and from different places, but you're still essentially doing the same things, navigating those small levels in the same fashion. It's not like the levels themselves are completely randomized. And multiplayer largely comes down to cooperative, survival, or team vs. team competitive. Surely, they could have come up with more modes than that.

    I'm not saying it's a bad game; it has the usual level of Valve polish and quality (which is to say "a ton"). I simply wish there was more of it. I have a feeling that the whiners behind the protest feel similarly, although I'd argue they're going about it the wrong way.

  9. Matthew,

    Ahhh, I had a feeling I was reading that wrong. Thank you for the clearification.

  10. I have the game just sitting on my shelf, just like Far Cry 2 and a few others. I just haven't gotten around to them yet which is probably because I'm a completionist and take forever to get through games other people would fly through. Alas, at least I have some good times ahead when I do finally get to it. I might just take up your offer too. :)