Left 4 Dead 2


In gaming since L4D2, tín đồ campaigns have even pressured devs khổng lồ release entirely new endings.

Kyle Orlvà - May 1, 2021 1:00 pm UTC


The following piece, originally published in late 2009, looks baông xã at that year"s somewhat quixotic attempted boycott of Left 4 Dead 2—and how that effort eventually fell apart. Flawed as it was, that movement would serve as a precursor lớn more frequent attempts by organized người communities trying khổng lồ bring change in the game industry. The most famous example might be the outcry around the conclusion of Mass Effect 3 in 2012, where the developers actually released a downloadable patch changing the conclusion of a franchise-sweeping narrative sầu khổng lồ placate vocal fans.This report và over a dozen more are collected in Save sầu Point, a new collection from Ars Technica Senior Gaming Editor Kyle Orland. The book looks baông chồng on đoạn Clip games as they were between 2003 to 2011, a sometimes-uncomfortable "awkward adolescence" period where the industry did its best lớn grow up with the young audience that had grown up with games as their entertainment of choice through the "70s, "80s, & "90s. The pieces collected in the book analyze how games were learning from their past & influencing the future, report on some of gaming"s growing & myriad sub-communities, và examine how the business of selling & kinh doanh games was evolving alongside the explosive sầu growth of the Internet.

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Save Point is available exclusively as part of the Spring Getaway Games Bundle through May 13.

In general, gamers aren"t very effective sầu at organizing to lớn effect change in the game industry. Sure, there are hundreds of online petitions demanding everything from a Full House game to a generalized over to lớn game hacking, but the vast majority fail khổng lồ garner much attention or tư vấn. Even well-organized và well-publicized efforts, lượt thích those seeking LAN tư vấn in StarCraft 2 or further tư vấn for the Earthbound games are met with official responses ranging from polite refusal to teasing hints & rarely with real change.

But this year, many gamers took a different tachồng lớn prodemo what they saw as a betrayal of a publisher"s past promises. Mere hours after Valve sầu announced the planned November release of Left 4 Dead 2 (L4D2) at June"s Electronic Entertainment Expo, a group calling for an L4D2 boycott popped up on Valve"s Steam user community. The group"s first public message asked a simple question that would come to define its cause: "Where"s all the content and the updates you promised for , Valve?"


The somewhat impolitic biệu tượng công ty for the boycott group.
By casting their disagreement in the khung of a boycott, the tens of thousands of gamers who joined the L4D2 boycott group immediately mix themselves apart from the Internet petitioners who came before them. A petition is just a polite request for someone khổng lồ change their mind, if they would, please. A boycott is a statement of collective action—a way for a group lớn flex its economic power khổng lồ force change. It"s a way for a community khổng lồ effectively put its money where its mouth is and dem& that its case be heard. It"s a cause that brings up images of patriotic movements, civil rights struggles, international incidents, và other events more momentous than an argument over the release timing for a video clip game sequel.

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Now that Left 4 Dead 2 is actually available for sale, can those who took part in the boycott argue they achieved their goals? Was this boycott more effective than any of the other failed grassroots petition efforts undertaken by gamers over the years? Did Valve change its plans to gain the approval of the masses, or did it effectively pacify the Internet throngs with nothing more than a couple of plane tickets và a khách sạn reservation?


In other words, was the boycott successful?

Well, it depends on what you mean by "successful."

An explosive start

From the start, the Left 4 Dead 2 boycott effort succeeded at attracting a lot of attention, at least. Thanks lớn mostly bemused coverage from gaming websites during the high-traffic E3 news window, 5,000 Steam users signed up for the group in its first three days of existence. "We gave sầu interviews khổng lồ just about anybody that asked," said Walking_Target, the pseudonymous founder of the L4D2 boycott group, in an interview for this piece. " responded to lớn questions from our members & benefited from a lot of press exposure, even if a lot of it was negative sầu. In the kết thúc, it was so successful , because this was a group made mostly of Valve sầu fans who just wanted khổng lồ let Valve know that they expected more for L4D."

But getting people khổng lồ click a button & sign up for an Internet prodemo group is simple. Getting them lớn actually organize for effective action is the tough part. Luckily for the group, Walking_Target seemingly realized this early on in the process. "To simply talk about the release of L4D2 và the issues we have sầu with it are not enough," he wrote in a June 4 message khổng lồ the group. "It is only half the battle. A storm of words without action is no more potent in its ability khổng lồ move sầu our cause forward or make our goals happen. It is time we took some action as a community."

But first they had to figure out what those goals were. So, after a quiông xã poll lớn gauge the group"s "official concerns," the boycotters put together a 325-word manifesto that laid out their commitments, beliefs, & requests for Valve.

Crucially, the manifesto started off by recognizing Valve"s need to lớn make money off its games and acknowledged that "judgment cannot be passed on the unique of Left 4 Dead 2 until its release." But those concessions didn"t dampen the impact of the group"s demands: "That Valve sầu honor its commitment to release ongoing periodic content for Left 4 Dead;” that "Left 4 Dead 2 not be released as a stand-alone, full-priced sequel but as either a không tính tiền update khổng lồ Left 4 Dead or an expansion with full compatibility with basic Left 4 Dead owners;" và "that Left 4 Dead owners be given discounts for Left 4 Dead 2, should it be released as premium nội dung."


While the requested changes lớn the price & format of the sequel were important, it was the idea that Valve sầu was somehow abandoning the original Left 4 Dead that animated the most passion in the boycotters. "Left 4 Dead has not yet received the support và nội dung which Valve has repeatedly stated will be delivered," the manifeskhổng lồ argued.

It was an argument that had some justification behind it. In an October 2008 interview with VideoGamer.com before the original game"s release, Valve Co-Founder and Managing Director Gabe Newell compared Left 4 Dead to lớn Valve"s own Team Fortress 2 (TF2), a multiplayer staple that has received frequent không lấy phí updates since its late-2007 release. Newell said that these updates had proved key lớn the continued success of TF2"s online community & that Left 4 Dead would receive sầu the same kind of continued attention. "We"ll vì chưng the same thing with Left 4 Dead where we"ll have the initial release and then we"ll release more movies, more characters, more weapons, unlockables, achievements, because that"s the way you continue to grow a community over time," he said.

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When Valve announced Left 4 Dead 2 in early June, this was beginning to look like a bit of an empty promise. By that point, the company had only released a collection of small tweaks and new modes as a Left 4 Dead "Survival Pack" và had provided a beta version of a Software Development Kit for eager modders. These tepid additions didn"t come cthua khổng lồ matching the robust updates being provided for an ongoing game lượt thích Team Fortress 2.

The depth of Valve"s support for TF2 may have actually set a precedent that has come back to bite Valve during the slow rollout of new Left 4 Dead nội dung. "I vày think that a bit of the issue falls on Valve sầu for training us for such good free nội dung," said Brent Copel&, host of The Safe House, a Left 4 Dead-focused podcast. "I almost think if L4 chiều came from a different company that there wouldn"t be as big of an issue."

Walking_Target agreed that Valve"s handling of TF2 led people to lớn think of it as a different kind of company. "It made a reputation for Valve sầu as a company that supports their games. It was probably a bad idea khổng lồ compare support for L4D khổng lồ TF2 so early on, though."