Batman’s a bit of an odd case, even as far as videogame characters are concerned. I mean, aside from the tight-fitting latex suit and bat fixation (or should I say Bat-bat fixation), he doesn’t kill anyone. Ever. Oh, sure, occasionally he’ll twist people’s arms for info by breaking their legs, but when it’s all said and done, Batman’s enemies come away relatively unscathed.
Of course, when distilled into videogame form, this strict moral code results in a number of strange, oftentimes chuckle-worthy discontinuities. “So let me get this straight: I hit him with a barrage of pointy metal projectiles, stuck him with a grappling hook and reeled him in Scorpion-style, and then proceeded to jump up and down on his chest like it was a trampoline? And his heart rate sits at… something above zero?!” Doesn’t make much sense, does it? And here I was, all ready to talk about suspension of disbelief and how games still have a long way to go before they create truly believable experiences when I realized something:
At least Batman – a purported “good guy” – doesn’t wantonly murder thousands of people like, you know, every videogame character ever. The rest is after the break!
With Left 4 Dead 2, Valve’s showing its full hand. It’s going all out. After all, with no other major franchise to help line the developer’s pockets, what other choice does it have?
"We'll be supporting Left 4 Dead 2's launch with a $25 million campaign," said Doug Lombardi, Valve's vice-president of Marketing. "Left 4 Dead 2 has already set the record for greatest number of pre-orders in our company's history, and we're still over a month out from shipping."
"Based on the strength of pre-orders, Left 4 Dead 2 will be the fastest-selling product in Valve's history," said Gabe Newell, president of Valve. "Left 4 Dead 2 has consistently run at 300% of Left 4 Dead's numbers."
So yeah, Left 4 Dead 2 – no pressure.
Now if only Valve tried its hand at building up another series – perhaps something with, say, physicists and small crablike creatures that reside on or around the head. They could be called… cranium crustaceans! Too bad Valve hasn’t been keeping a sequel to a crazy idea like that under wraps for nearly three years.
If you’ve played Left 4 Dead to death, Valve’s just made a pair of announcements that are sure to brighten your day.
First up, Left 4 Dead’s “Crash Course” DLC will finally walk among the living on September 29. It’s free, of course, and includes a new campaign, new survival maps, and a few other tweaks and balances.
Then, just in time to catch you on the rebound after you’ve kicked Crash Course to the curb, Valve’s dropping a Left 4 Dead 2 demo on October 27. Preorderers will apparently gain early access to the demo, though, and since you’re probably already going to buy the game anyway, you might as well.
As for what the demo actually contains, it’s anyone’s guess at this point. We’ll let you know as soon as Valve finally spills its guts. Our highly advanced torture techniques – known as “extreme nagging” in some circles -- break everyone eventually.
Ever since Valve announced Left 4 Dead 2 at this year’s E3, it’s been in the doghouse with many fans of its first undead slaughterfest. Believe it or not, though, Valve never intended on ruffling any feathers. Crash Course, as it turns out, was on a crash course with Left 4 Dead right from the start. Extenuating circumstances, however, prevented the L4D DLC from sealing Valve’s promise of free updates with a nice, crusty zombie smooch in the nick of time. And by then, well, it was too late.
“I think in this case we just didn't message correctly. We didn't make it clear that Left 4 Dead was still going to be updated. We just didn't think to mention it, we were focusing on other stuff. We, internally, always knew we were going to do cool new stuff, so we didn't say anything about the original game,” Valve’s Chet Faliszek told Offworld.
“Of course we also intended to get the Crash Course DLC for L4D out before E3, but some things held us up. I think if we had that out before the Left 4 Dead 2 announcement, then it would have been clearer for our intentions. Losing the opportunity to get that right hurt us, but I think we made the right choices otherwise.”
Well, that’s that, we think. The case of Valve vs. The Fans is officially adjourned.
Just because a Valve's got a new baby sloshing around in its tremendous, engorged Boomer womb (insert baby Boomer joke here) doesn't mean the developer's going to start neglecting its first undead child. The proof? A brand new, totally free DLC campaign is on the way for stalwart L4D1 supporters.
Titled “Crash Course,” the new campaign fits snugly between No Mercy and Death Toll, chronologically speaking. Along with new Campaign and Survival maps, new character dialogue, a recharge timer for Infected teammates, and rebalanced item spawns also put the C in this DLC.
The new scenarios will, of course, work fine and dandy with Campaign mode, but apparently, Crash Course’s true purpose is to be a “30 minute” showcase for Versus mode. You know, more like a typical multiplayer shooter.
It’s out in September. And it’s free! Unless you’ve been so horrendously wronged by the existence of Left 4 Dead 2 that even Valve’s continued support of L4D1 (the very thing you feared for when L4D2 was announced) isn’t enough to stop your steaming, you’ll play it. You’ll play it and you’ll love it because, well, why not?
Anything can become boring if you do it enough. Skydiving, surfing, and avoiding surefire undead death are just a few non-specific examples. But a change of scenery is always great for freshening things up, so Valve’s decision to add custom campaign support to Left 4 Dead is much appreciated. After all, tussling with hungry zombies is one thing, but fending off boredom? That’s just too much.
Adding your zombie-infested obstacle course to Left 4 Dead is as simple as uploading it to a single .VPK file, which other players need only double-click to install. Campaigns and other add-ons can then be managed in Left 4 Dead, ensuring that you’ll never have to be out of Left 4 Dead’s loving embrace for long. There’s also matchmaking, leaderboards, and auto-updates for the lazy, competitive, and lazy, respectively.
The update’s waiting for you over on Steam. So what are you waiting for? Remember, you’re the only one who’s ever come up with the idea for a “Thriller” tribute map. Why keep your brilliance from the rest of the world?
After Valve announced Left 4 Dead 2’s near-complete status at last week’s E3, L4D 1 players took up their pitchforks. After all, a sequel to any sort of multiplayer game is typically the final nail in the coffin of a developer’s ongoing support for that game, so why should Valve – one of the first major companies to embrace digital downloads, comedic reactions to PR flubs, and portal technology – be any different from everyone else?
Well, looks like you’ve once again underestimated Valve. So guess what you get for that costly mistake? That’s right: everything you wanted.
"Doing a sequel in one year is new for Valve. But providing ongoing support for our titles after the initial launch isn't - it has been part of our philosophy since Half-Life was released ten and half years ago," said Valve president Gabe Newell in a statement to Kotaku. "We see no reason to change that and will continue to support the over three million customers in the L4D community."
“In addition to the recently released Survival Pack, we are releasing authoring tools for Mod makers, community matchmaking, 4x4 matchmaking, and more new content during the coming months for L4D1," Newell says. "We also agree with our customers that there needs to be an interoperability plan for players of L4D1 and L4D2, as multiplayer games are driven by the cohesiveness of their community."
And so, Valve gives everyone everything they ask for. As usual. Seriously, how can you whine and gripe at that? It’s like screaming at a fireman for not salvaging your favorite family picture after he saved your mom, dad, cat, dog, potted plant, and sister who you didn’t like all that much and would’ve rather had the picture. Cut Valve some slack people. God forbid you have to actually pay for content every once in a while.
Sure, Friday is already a pretty great day of the week (some might argue, the best). But, thanks to Valve, it just got a bit better due to a 24-hour trial of Left 4 Dead! Looks like that whole “last day of the work week” nonsense is going to have to wait another week for its chance to shine.
If you haven’t given Left 4 Dead a try yet, there’s no better time to give it a chance. According to Steam, “Beginning Friday at 12:01 am GMT, the PC version of Left 4 Dead will be available for a free 24-hour trial via Steam. The free trial will include access to the recently released Survival Pack DLC, which introduces a new multiplayer game mode and two additional Versus campaigns. Those who wish to give L4D and the Survival Pack a try may now pre-load everything needed to play with no obligation to purchase.”
Sounds like a pretty sweet deal! If you decide to take Newell and company up on this offer, be sure to join the Maximum PC Steam Community group, and take full advantage of our servers. Don’t say we never gave you anything!
UPDATE: Well ladies and germs, it looks like the fantastic Left 4 Dead trial that Valve Software is offering for today just got extended! You can play everyone’s favorite zombie apocalypse simulator all the way until Saturday at 5 PM GMT. And, if over the course of this weekend you decide you like the game enough to buy it, you’ll get a whopping 40 percent off of the retail price. Not too bad!
Want to play two of PC gaming’s genre bests? Also want to hang onto your cash with no attached consequences? Well, that’s theft. People like you belong in prison. But for once, the kind hearts at NCSoft and Valve are turning a blind eye to your antics, so you can finally live out your typically larcenous dreams – for a limited time, anyway.
For the next 24 hours, Left 4 Dead is in free trial mode, meaning that anyone can download and play Valve’s highly implausible piece of anti-zombie propaganda for free. Don’t dawdle, though; you only have until Saturday to take advantage!
As for City of Heroes, snagging a freebie is tad trickier. In celebration of the game’s fifth anniversary, NCSoft has reactivated all City of Heroes accounts – retail or trial – until 11:59pm EST on Sunday. On the menu for this birthday bash is a brand new player-driven mission editor, special events, and in-game commemorative badges. We can’t really think of any reason not to want to be a friggin’ super hero, but a few extra perks are never a bad thing.
So, how will you spend your free time this weekend – cleaning up crime or drowning in Boomer bile? Or are you gonna try for a twofer?
Cool, right? Granted, Valve has never given us reason to fear that it’s into the whole nickel-and-diming thing, but it’s still nice to hear that our dwindling budgets can now go toward more important things like Starbucks coffee, impulse iPhone app purchases, and a replacement iPhone after an ill-advised literal interpretation of DanceDanceRevolution S Lite.
Oh hey, here are some details about the new rides the Survival DLC pack will bring to Valve’s carnal carnival. Apparently, the mode will see “up to four players set records for the longest time surviving hordes of zombies on over 12 maps.” That’s all anyone knows at this point, really.