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Despite being the sequel to what was possibly last year’s best PC game, Valve’s recently unveiled Left 4 Dead 2 seems to be public enemy number one on gamers’ lists of E3 announcements they love 2 hate. Why? Answers range from “Team Fortress 2 got free stuff! Why not L4D?” to “L4D2’s too colorful!” Valve, though, believe it or not, isn’t out to bleed its loyal fans dry (at least, not outside its game). There is, in fact, a method to this madness. Valve’s Chet Faliszek explained:
“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,” he told Shacknews.
How can Valve hope to accomplish all of this in only a single year? Well, in a sense, the developer’s outsourcing that. To a robot.
Left 4 Dead’s A.I. Director 2.0 does everything the first Director did – and more. Along with positioning zombies such that you’re always positioned on the edge of your seat, the rapidly evolving A.I. will now control weather and dynamic pathing. Faliszek elaborated on the latter of those two terms.
“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,” he noted.
So then, Valve’s created an A.I. that’s quickly learning how to deviously toy with and eventually murder humans? And Valve is allowing that A.I. to slowly assume control of its company? That doesn’t sound like a threat at all. We’re just going to go back to complaining about videogames now.