When Microsoft announced during their presentation that a sequel would be coming to the ever popular online shooter Left 4 Dead many, including yours truly, were quite surprised. Not because we didn't expect to see to a sequel coming, especially when the title has sold over 2.5 million retail copies alone, but because the game is barely seven months old.
Valve has and thrives on an amazing reputation of supporting their games for months after its release, in some cases even years (they still update and patch Counter Strike 1.6), and they are also known for taking their sweet time developing games as well, so why the release so early?
Valve's Chet Valiszek, his explaination, thought weirdly worded, was simple, they were not happy with the quality of the title (little confusing considering it carry's a Metacritic rating of 89): " "Left 4 Dead 1, like I said, had some of those fundamental things that we wanted to change about it, like the changes to the director, which took really long periods of time and a really long period of testing," he said. "And so, those changes fell in line with the long period of time it takes to create characters and everything else. That's why we're doing Left 4 Dead 2, right?"
He then went on to promise that this game was to be supported for a long time (like all Valve games are right?) with patches and downloadable content, but this is exactly where the frustration of so many stem from, they said the exact same thing for the title before it. Currently, in the "Left 4 Dead 2 Boycott" steam community group, lies just under 4000 members and growing by the minute. Their reasons for their anger?
- * Significant content for L4D1 was promised, and never delivered
* Valve put little faith in L4D1 since they almost certainly started working on L4D2 right after release
* The fact that L4D2 is nearly identical to L4D1 will decimate the community for both games
* The announced date is not nearly enough time to polish content or make significant gameplay changes
* The new character designs seem bland and unappealing so far
* L4D2 is too bright to fit in with L4D1's visual aesthetic
* The fiddle-based horde music is extremely disliked, though the differently orchestrated music is otherwise welcome
* L4D2's release will result in a drop in quality and frequency for L4D1 content, even compared to before
* The community has lost faith in Valve's former reputation for commitment to their games post-release
While some quarrels maybe seem a bit far fetched, they do raise some interesting concerns. One of their most vocal arguments is that it is just a money grab, and it is hard not to think otherwise. Valve, a company on strives on their reputation to its loyalty to its gamers, has yet to comment on the situation.
UPDATE: Looks like Valve has responded to the criticism. Valve's Chet Faliszek is asking that gamers give them a fair shake and compares this situation to the Orange Box situation, where gamers were forced to purchase a copy of Half Life 2 again and asks if that was a rip off (it was, what am I suppose to do with two copies of Half Life 2?). He asks gamers to read all of the information and at least play the game before posting criticism on the forums, and reassures them that most, if not all, posts on the forums are read by Valve. The boycott group now houses more then 22000 people now.