This year’s E3 brought us a ton of new games and technology. It also brought some controversy from a very unlikely place. Valve, the creator of games like Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, and Portal dropped the news that a sequel to their hit Left 4 Dead will be hitting this November. For those not keeping score, that is one year after the original game released.
Now, if you’re a company like EA or Activision, no one is going to bat an eye when you release the latest Madden or Guitar Hero. These games are as reliable as Christmas and Arbor Day. There is no expectation or promise that they will release periodic updates that freshen up the game or add new features. There is just the yearly (or less) retail game we’ve all become accustomed to.
Valve has always stood as the antithesis to this philosophy. They take their time polishing their products. They released possibly the greatest deal in gaming history with the Orange Box. They recently released yet another big update to Team Fortress 2 for free. Not to mention the extra content added to the original Left 4 Dead. Valve is a company that supports its products. It’s one reason for the huge success of Steam.
That is what makes the announcement of Left 4 Dead 2 so baffling.
The sentiment towards Left 4 Dead 2 is nearly unanimous. Too soon. How will Valve now support two titles with promised downloadable content? How will this split the community of players? Why isn’t this an expansion pack for the original game?
A Steam community has even emerged that is encouraging a boycott of the new game. Their manifesto is quite compelling and well thought out. No one is asking Valve to do anything that will hurt their bottom line. They just want to be heard. The group has over 20,000 members.
Valve has stated that they still have plans to release additional content for the original L4D. That is a small consolation to those of us who still play the game (wink wink). Half of our friends will have the new game while the other half will have the old. The value of original will drop significantly and eventually we will be left with a game that’s not worth much more than the previous year’s Madden.
What say you? Is more zombie killing a good thing regardless of how we get it or did Valve make a bad call by following up with a sequel this soon?