1. Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Left 4 Dead 2 Interview: Valve Details, Speculates, Reveals 'The Wire' Connection

Discussion in 'Games' started by TheMailMan78, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    21,416 (7.26/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,902
    This interview was conducted Nick Breckon and Chris Faylor from Shack news. It has a LOT of cool information about L4D2 and what their plans are for it and L4D1. I'm also including some screens. After all this wouldn't be a MailMan post without some screens would it?

    Left 4 Dead 2 Interview: Valve Details, Speculates, Reveals 'The Wire' Connection.
    by Nick Breckon and Chris Faylor

    Much to the chagrin of Half-Life fans, but to the pleasure of Left 4 Dead fiends, Valve announced a full sequel to its zombie shooter on Monday, set for a quick turn-around release on November 17.
    The sequel will feature four new characters across five new campaigns set in New Orleans. Versus and Survival mode play will be supported for all of the maps out of the box, along with a new unannounced game mode. A fresh cadre of weapons, zombies, AI improvements and other additions are planned.
    To get a handle on the situation, we took twenty to hit up Valve marketing VP Doug Lombardi and developer Chet Feliszek for some choice anecdotes on the new game. Included are finer details on the sequel's upgrades, shared frustration with stacking players, Left 4 Dead's connection to HBO's "The Wire," and more.

    Shack: EA Partners helped publish the first Left 4 Dead, but yesterday's announcement didn't mention any publishing partner. Who's publishing?

    Doug Lombardi: We haven't announced it yet.

    Shack: But there is a publisher?

    Doug Lombardi: There will be before we ship.

    Shack: When did development on Left 4 Dead 2 start?

    Chet Faliszek:Pretty much after Left 4 Dead launched.

    One of the other things is.. we've all played [Left 4 Dead] now, we all play it now, we see things like [players] stacking in the corner and stuff, and we want to avoid it.

    And also, we've got the marrying of the storytelling and the multiplayer. I think we did a good job with that on Left 4 Dead, but we think we're going to do a better job on Left 4 Dead 2. Part of that was we wanted to start with fresh new characters, fresh new setting, and follow their story as it goes across all of New Orleans. And all of this we are able to do because we have the AI director, which allows us to create these spaces and these events, and then it does kind of the hard work of creating that experience side of it.

    Shack: Why did you decide to package the game as a full sequel, rather than DLC?

    Chet Faliszek: So one of the things is, when we're looking at a map--

    [Gabe Newell stops by to say hello, then quickly enters a private room.]


    Chet Faliszek: In Team Fortress you can do one map, and it's a standalone map and it tells its internal story and you're good. In Left 4 Dead, when we started talking about new characters, all of a sudden we were talking about maps, then all of a sudden we were talking about campaign, and then director 2.0, hey, we're in the swamps.

    And now we have to have new creatures in the game, we actually have dynamic pathing--we have all this stuff, and these aren't just incremental changes. These are big, technical changes. And to get that, and to hit our big mantra--making sure that the best way to play it is the funnest way to play it.

    So, being Left 4 Dead 2, we have five campaigns, they're all going to have Versus and Survival mode out of the gate, as well as the regular co-op, and an all-new game mode. Not talking about that game mode yet, but it's going to be there. We also have the new Infected, like you can play the Charger right now in Versus. We have another one coming out a little later, and then another after that. We've got the melee weapons involved, we've got the chainsaw--we've got the frying pan.

    Doug Lombardi: We didn't start off saying, "Hey, let's make a sequel for next year." We started off saying, "There's a bunch of really cool ideas. Let's put 'em all up on a whiteboard and figure out what's the best way to put these together and get them out there." And that's really fundamentally how Valve thinks about stuff. It's not like, "Oh, we need a product in this quarter," or whatever. We're not publicly traded; we don't have any of those weird pressures.

    Shack: Will updates for the original Left 4 Dead continue?

    Chet Faliszek: Looking at Left 4 Dead 1, we have updates still coming out for it. Next week we'll be talking about the community map update, so that's coming. There's some other stuff we're not talking about yet, that's coming for that, that will explain why the Left 4 Dead SDK tools are different from previous ones. And then we still have four vs. four matchmaking coming. So we're not putting that to bed yet.

    Shack: How will Left 4 Dead 2 interface with Left 4 Dead 1, if at all?

    Doug Lombardi: We haven't really worked it all out yet. It's likely that it will be different on the different platforms. We really haven't made any final decisions, but it is something that we're looking at, and we understand that it's something that is on people's minds, and that there are more elegant ways to do it than others.

    Some of the things that we're doing that we can talk about already is that, if you're using the SDK and making maps, it will work for either game. So we've got one or two elegant points that we can talk about now. [laughs]

    Shack: What price-point should we expect?

    Doug Lombardi: This is a full sequel.

    Shack: So full price?

    Doug Lombardi: Yeah. At the end of the day, this is going to be a bigger game than Left 4 Dead. It's five campaigns versus four, all five are playable in Versus mode, Survival mode out of the box, the new multiplayer game mode. Plus over 20 new weapons and items. It's a full sequel.

    Shack: Most of us were not expecting Left 4 Dead 2 to show up at E3. You guys had teased more information on Half-Life 2: Episode 3 earlier in the year. Should we expect more on that soon?

    Doug Lombardi:[laughs] Don't have a new date. Since we missed the last time, I'm not gonna put out another one. I've said this before, but Freeman's not done with his adventure. Stay tuned for more.

    Shack: Can you talk more about the changes to the dynamic systems in Left 4 Dead 2?
    Chet Faliszek: So, the AI director, there are some really noticeable ones. We're giving it control over the weather now. Now you go from [a sunny day] to holy crap man, I can't see anyone around me. It's like the Blood Harvest cornfield, right.

    Dynamic pathing changes--so in the next map in this campaign, they go through an above-ground cemetery, a haunted old cemetery with crypts above ground, and it actually changes the path every time you play. And also how spawning the creatures, and the pacing of the game.

    One of the things we look at with people playing online, are people playing the game--the stacking in the corner.. that sucks.

    Shack: Absolutely.

    Chet Faliszek: It sucks that there are people that don't play it that way, and they get yelled at.

    Shack: Oh, I know. I'm always the guy--there are the three guys in the corner, and then I'm the guy standing over there, and they say, "Come onnn!"

    Chet Faliszek: The way you want to play it, the fun way, is the best way to play it, too. So to do that, there are just a lot of subtle changes to make, in how the director handles what it's going to spawn, and how it thinks about attacking the survivors.

    Shack: How are you accounting for the additional boss Infected in Versus mode?

    Chet Faliszek: So that's probably what we're spending the most iteration time on. We just have outside players coming in all the time. We had a lot of ideas early on that we wanted to try. Some of them just failed. Some of them sucked. The Charger is a winner. We've got another one that we're almost done with that's good as well. There's a third coming out.

    Shack:So, there are five campaigns. What's the chance of a mall level?

    Chet Faliszek: A mall?

    Shack: A mall.

    Chet Faliszek: Maybe it could start in a mall or something. We'll see.

    Shack: How about a ferris wheel?

    Chet Faliszek: Are you guys taking pictures from our office or something? Um.. [laughs] There's some stuff we'll be talking about later.

    Shack: Flamethrower? Not saying?

    Chet Faliszek: No. We like fire though.

    Shack: Did I notice an improved fire effect?

    Chet Faliszek: Yeah.

    Shack: It seems like it travels from zombie to zombie.

    Chet Faliszek: No, so incendiary ammo, when you're shooting it gives the appearance of that. We have a lot of examples [of fire] here. In this case, we've got a guy in a hazmat suit, and he doesn't catch fire. In one campaign, we have an area of guys in hazmat suits, and all of a sudden your molotovs are [useless].

    One of the things all of us do on our team is, we all have different accounts we play Left 4 Dead on. I was just playing it first as Chet, and my games would never be empty, and all these things would happen, and I was like, wait a minute. These people know who I am. And so let's create fake accounts, and see what that experience is like, and we get a lot more information based on that. So be nice. You might be playing with me.

    Shack: What are you guys doing about ragequitting?

    Chet Faliszek: We kind of did a lot of research on that, where's that happening, what's the lobby makeup before that happens. And one of the thing we noticed is four players that know eachother on one side versus four pubbies. And so that's why we're going to have four vs. four matchmaking come out, and that's actually going to come out in Left 4 Dead 1, and that should be.. probably this month?

    Shack: Are you leaving any hooks in the engine to allow for expansion in patches rather than releasing a new sequel?

    Chet Faliszek: I think all this, oh, Valve's going to make Maddens every year--that's not true. There's this whole group of us at Valve who had all these ideas. When we get done with this, we're going to sit back and we have no future plans or anything like that. This could be the platform for zombie apocalypse games for a while. One of the cool things that Doug was saying, current maps, they're being made to drop in, they work. Obviously if you want to take advantage of the new director stuff you'll have to go back in and touch some stuff up, but they'll just work.

    Shack: Is there a chance we could see the original Left 4 Dead campaigns imported into Left 4 Dead 2?

    Chet Faliszek: There is a chance for that. Like Doug said, we're trying to figure out the way that makes the most sense for that to happen.

    Shack: How long ago was the voice work done?

    Chet Faliszek: So Nick, he's voice acted by Hugh Dylan, who is on Flashpoint on CBS on Friday nights. Catch it! I think the big people's reaction on the voice acting has been on--have you guys watched The Wire?

    Shack: Yeah.

    Chet Faliszek: You know coach Cutty [character Denise "Cutty" Wise on The Wire, played by Chad L. Coleman], the guy that works with the boxing kids? He voices Coach.

    Shack: No way. That's amazing.

    Chet Faliszek: It was great. We got to go out to hang out with him.

    We did the voice work, I guess a month ago? So we went out, he's actually on a play right now--actually Obama went to see it the other day, so that's good company. I'm just going to make you cry: we went to go see him backstage afterward, we were like hey thanks, that was a great session yesterday, it was a lot of fun. What are you guys doing? Oh, we're going to go out for drinks. Oh, where are you going? So we got to hang out with Cutty for a couple hours, and probably he'll never want to hang out with us again, because we just drilled him about The Wire.

    Shack: That's great. The Wire is a fantastic show.

    Chet Faliszek: We need to get the Clay Davis "sheeeeeeiiiit" in there.

    Left 4 Dead 2 hits the Xbox 360 and PC on November 17.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Source
     
  2. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    21,416 (7.26/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,902
    This review was found on "Rock Paper Shotgun". Again I've included some screens :toast:


    Left 4 Dead who now? No one was expecting Valve’s next game to be a sequel to 2008’s awesome co-op zombie shooter, Left 4 Dead. To answer your immediate question: Yes, this is a completely new game, with new characters, in a new location, with new zombies, new weapons, new twists, and an improved Director, in five completely new campaigns set in the Southern United States. This isn’t more maps for the previous game, it’s a brand new game, and it’s due this November. We snuck into Valve HQ ahead of Monday’s announcement and played a full campaign, and at first glance much appears to have evolved.


    It’s still Left 4 Dead: Valve have more sense than to change anything that made the first game so splendid. Rather the focus on L4D2 appears to have been the desire by everyone involved in the first game to make something bigger and better. Coming off the back of the project, we were told by various Valve developers, people we bursting with ideas of where to take the game next. So they went right there.



    Left 4 Dead 2 takes place in the South of the USA, beginning in Savannah, eventually reaching New Orleans. There’s four new characters to play, each with back-stories to be hinted at in their conversations. Coach is a high school football coach from the Savannah area, used to leading the kids, comfortable in his life, and perhaps not enamoured by the arrival of a zombie attack. There’s Rochelle, from Cleveland originally, working for a cable news network. She’s producing a segment on this strange story occurring in Savannah, and gets caught up in the events. Ellis is a Southern boy mechanic, an enthusiastic but smart guy with a “Southern flair”. Finally there’s Nick, a gambler and a conman, unsure of his company and cynical about the events.

    The plan for the five new campaigns is to bring them together more coherently, so you can more obviously see how the events of one lead to the beginning of the next. Nothing that will enormously impact on jumping right in to a game in a particular stage, but giving a stronger narrative logic to the complete game. And with that, the new cast will also develop their personalities as things progress. Coach looks set to gain bravery as he gets closer to New Orleans, while Nick’s attitude to the others may soften. This will be born out in a more elaborate and involved collection of dialogue barks, once more primarily away from the player’s control. Perhaps one of the most endearing aspects of L4D was the characters’ surprisingly apt and timely remarks about the events, and occasional exchanges. This is to be expanded upon, with many more back-and-forth moments of chatter appropriate to the events happening around you.



    Beyond the new cast, nothing else from L4D is being replaced, but rather added to or expanded upon. So the Special Infected we’re already familiar with will appear, joined by a new collection. Of these only one has been revealed so far, The Charger. Looking like a crossbreed between a Tank and a Common Infected (what an unholy union that would be) the beast has one giant mutated arm, which he uses to shoulder-charge the Survivors. He knocks you down, but doesn’t incapacitate you. Rather you’re off balance for a moment. As happened to us as we played with Valve designers, he’s capable of taking out many of you in a single charge, sending us flying like bowling pins. However, should he charge someone on their own, rather than running to hide after, instead he might pick you up with his giant arm and repeatedly smash you face-first into the ground until a teammate comes to rescue you.

    While other Specials aren’t yet shown, we have seen some changes to the familiar. Rather cutely, some of the Common Infected have been changed while in hazmat suits. This means laying down walls of Molotov cocktail fire won’t keep everyone away any more, as the fire-proof baddies can run right through. The pay-off for this is exploding their heads and seeing the goo splat against the inside of the perspex visor.

    But perhaps most exciting is the Wandering Witch. Another new feature of L4D2 is setting some of the campaigns in the daylight. The campaign we played was such, and it’s oddly frightening to see it all happening while the sun shines. Making our way through the sprawling streets of New Orleans, desperately trying to reach a distant bridge at the other end of which was lay an apparent helicopter rescue, the only time we needed our torches was when making our way through buildings. And it seems in the daytime, the Witch has a bit more pep. Rather than sitting crouched, sobbing, singing, now this most terrifying of gaming enemies methodically paces around, wandering where she sees fit, although still apparently zoned out. She may be on foot, but she’s no more interested in being disturbed. This adds in a whole new aspect to Witch evasion. No longer can you simply take the long way around where she’s squatted. Instead, she may well be walking exactly where you’re headed. Or worse, walking up behind you, singing her haunting song, suddenly infuriated by you when you swing around in terror.

    The Witch’s capacity to create anecdotes seems only more powerful now. Sitting down to grab some food with a collection of Valve, stories about their most frightening or plain inconvenient Wandering Witch stories flow freely, each explained in animated terms.



    Of the new weapons, perhaps the most exciting reveal are the melee tools. So far we’ve seen the axe and the frying pan. Yes, the frying pan. Feeling like a sneaky bit of TF2 in the game, it’s the perfect comedy weapon, that somehow doesn’t feel irreverent in a way inappropriate to L4D’s more sullen world. Complete with a fantastic KWAPANG noise, it’s extraordinarily effective to bat your way through crowds, and can even be used to knock a Hunter off a pinned Survivor. There’s also a baseball bat, which didn’t appear in the campaign we saw, which we assume will be a little less bonky than TF2’s Scout’s. And the chainsaw, which again we haven’t played with, but hell: there’s going to be a chainsaw. The axe can’t go unexplained either. It’s utterly brutal, and shows off the Infected’s newly regioned vulnerability. Swing it low and you can slice off a zombie’s legs, letting them collapse horribly to the ground, bleeding out of their fresh stumps. Or maybe swipe off either arm. Or most horrendously of all, remove a face.

    This same gore is achievable with all the weapons, with new ragdoll deaths for the throngs, to make their entrail-spilling, armpit-dribbling, face-exploding ways all the more entertaining. There were many gasps and cries of “OH GOOD GRIEF!” as we played, the strings of guts slopping wildly into the air, or as mentioned above, the faceless leaking mess suddenly bursting like a blood-filled balloon as the Infected fell to the floor. It’s awesome.

    There’s a new shotgun, a new semi-automatic, and a brand new sniper rifle. This last one feels dramatically out of place in a game where you can’t stand still, but it seems extremely likely that this will be the weapon that will be used most skilfully. Obviously powerful, it’s a very useful tool when you find yourself in one of the new “gauntlet” moments.



    Gauntlets are one of the new elements that will occur, as one of many moves to attempt to make L4D2 a more consistently thrilling experience. In the final moments of the campaign, finally reaching the bridge, we had to cross it. At the other end lay the potential of rescue. But it was one long, straight, inescapable path down which the Director was able to screw with us as much as ‘he’ liked. Standing still was never and option, but trying to stay high, jumping from roof to roof of the vans and cars, very much was. Someone sniping from the back here proves helpful, while a couple of at the front wielding axes or frying pans was equally effective. These make for interesting moments, an almost unrelenting onslaught from in front, but the peculiar safety of knowing that nothing you didn’t let get past you would be attacking from behind.

    Another very smart change is to prevent sneaky players from trying to sit out the triggered events. In those moments in L4D where you had to press a button that began a frantic attack until an elevator arrived, or a door opened, it seems too many were crouching in a corner together and waiting for it to all die down. L4D2 has plans to prevent such treachery. Now some of the events you start can only be stopped by reaching a further target. In an extremely tense sequence, we had to make our way through a labyrinth of alarmed cars to reach a distant point that would finally see the attack fade. Trying desperately to avoid hitting any of the cars, and thus making the situation far worse, while having to make constant forward progress, amped things up significantly.



    The Director even has discretion over the layout of certain sections of levels. In New Orleans we reached a graveyard that is different each time you play. As Valve explained to us, if the Director gives you a pretty straight route right through it, it’s an insult to how poorly you’ve been playing that the omnipotent AI thought it needed to make things a little easier for you. If you’ve won his robotic respect, then it’ll be a far more convoluted journey.

    While there’s no intention to waste players’ time with dead ends, there is a greater emphasis on rewarding exploration. You may well learn the correct route through most of a level, but heading off down a longer pathway, or going to check out an out of the way room, is more likely to be beneficial. The Director is, we’re told, going to be far smarter this time about placing items, and the selection of these has expanded as well. Which includes the incendiary ammo.

    Oh, what a pleasure it is to find these beauties. Like an ammo stash, incendiary bullets can be picked up from tables, etc, and will give you a clip of ammo for your current weapon that will set absolutely everything it hits on fire. Which is spectacular. Right up until you accidentally set a Charger alight and he comes bounding toward you to share it.

    Everything seems bigger and better. And this includes the number of Infected to kill. The average number taken down in a campaign in the first game was around 1000. In our play through one of the sequel’s five new chapters we clocked up around 1700.

    Due November 17th this year, it’s quite remarkable that it’s so far on already. And frankly, that of all developers Valve have made something this quickly is almost dizzying. While there’s obviously going to be something of a fuss made over people’s expectations that L4D would be constantly expanded for free, following the TF2 model, it’s important to stress that while this is obviously still the same L4D core experience, it’s certainly not a bunch of new maps thrown into the old game. It’s a coherent new imagining of the game, this time bigger, smarter, and far more elaborate. Oh, and gloriously more gory.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Source
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2009
  3. ShadowFold

    ShadowFold New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2007
    Messages:
    16,921 (6.16/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,644
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Very awesome interview, thanks for that!
     
  4. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    21,416 (7.26/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,902
    Second post updated with new info.
     
  5. Darknova

    Darknova

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Messages:
    5,037 (1.60/day)
    Thanks Received:
    535
    Location:
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    I'm afraid the idea of the matchmaking sends a cold shiver of dread through my system. Valve already f***ed up the Lobby System, I can only imagine how many problems there will be with a matchmaking system.

    I do like how maps can just drop in, I can see the originals being ported over pretty damn quick.

    I just hope there's some way to port the original survivors over as well. Imagine having a choice of 8 survivors to play as....

    It would make the survivor closets more believable, a random survivor in the closest, instead of the same one you just lost. You could start off as Coach, and end up finishing the level as Zoey.
     
  6. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    21,416 (7.26/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,902
    As long as the server doesnt end with Coach doing Zoey.
     
  7. a_ump

    a_ump

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2007
    Messages:
    3,624 (1.30/day)
    Thanks Received:
    376
    Location:
    Smithfield, WV
    I like the source engine, because it runs really easy and is compatible with a vast range of systems, so good for them. But dam, source engine is how old? like 5 at my guess, come out with a new and prettier graphics engine damit :) i wanna play CS:3
     
  8. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    21,416 (7.26/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,902
    Then you'll bitch about why you cant run it :laugh:
     
  9. a_ump

    a_ump

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2007
    Messages:
    3,624 (1.30/day)
    Thanks Received:
    376
    Location:
    Smithfield, WV
    haha nope, i never bitch about not being able to run a game, it just makes me wanna buy better hardware, well GPU mainly which i'm doing this summer in a month though might make it 2 months for RV870. And lower resolutions don't bug me, higher is prefered but my 7800GTX can only do so much :p
     
  10. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    21,416 (7.26/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,902
    Have you seen this???

    http://forums.techpowerup.com/showpost.php?p=1414128&postcount=40
     
  11. a_ump

    a_ump

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2007
    Messages:
    3,624 (1.30/day)
    Thanks Received:
    376
    Location:
    Smithfield, WV
    nope, nice looking game, though not sure its relevance to this thread or my post :p
     
  12. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    21,416 (7.26/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,902
    You were talking about pretty games. Thought I would show ya one :)
     
  13. flashbeat New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2009
    Messages:
    5 (0.00/day)
    Thanks Received:
    0
    Location:
    London, Uk
    Any idea when the full sdk will be out for l4d 1? I wonder if the end product will justify us ditching l4d1 for 2
     
  14. thraxed Guest

    only for the 360, well that bytes, steam better give us somethin
     
  15. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    21,416 (7.26/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,902
    I found some more shots.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guest)

Share This Page