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{{Infobox video game
{{RelevantLinks
 
|articlelink = w:c:left4dead:Left 4 Dead
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| title = Left 4 Dead
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| image = [[Image:Left4Dead Windows cover.jpg|252px]]
|articlename = Left 4 Dead
 
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| caption = North American box art.
|wikilink = w:c:left4dead
 
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| developer = {{small|'''Windows:'''}}<br />[[Valve Corporation]]<br />{{small|'''Xbox 360:'''}}<br />[[Certain Affinity]],<br />[[Valve Corporation]]
|wikiname = The Left 4 Dead Wiki
 
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| publisher = Valve Corporation
|portallink = Portal:Shooters
 
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| distributor = {{small|'''Retail:'''}}<br />[[Electronic Arts]]<br />{{small|'''Online:'''}}<br />[[Steam (content delivery)|Steam]]
|portalname = Shooters
 
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| designer = Mike Booth
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| composer = Mike Morasky
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| writer = Chet Faliszek
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| engine = [[Source (game engine)|Source]] (Build 4023, {{date|2009-11-12}})
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| version = 1.0.1.8 ({{date|2010-02-24}}<ref name='Steam News 3513'>{{cite web | url = http://store.steampowered.com/news/3513/ | title = Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 Updates Released | accessdate = 2010-08-12 | date = 2010-02-24 | work = [[Steam (content delivery)|Steam]] | publisher = [[Valve Corporation|Valve]]}}</ref>)
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| release = {{collapsible list|title=November 17, 2008|'''Windows:''' <small>(download)</small><br />November 17, 2008<br />'''Windows & Xbox 360:'''<br /><small>(retail)</small><br />{{vgrelease|NA=November 18, 2008|AUS=November 18, 2008|EU=November 21, 2008|JP=November 21, 2008}}}}
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| genre = [[First-person shooter]]<br />[[Survival horror<!--See talk page for a discussion about the genre-->]]
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| modes = [[Cooperative gameplay|4-player Cooperative multiplayer]], 4-vs-4 multiplayer, Single-player
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| ratings = {{vgratings|BBFC=18<ref>[http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/0/E0CFA168E7AFD193802574D6004191A8 BBFC rating of Left 4 Dead]</ref>|ESRB=M|OFLCA=MA15+|PEGI=18|USK=18|CERO=Z}}
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| platforms = [[Microsoft Windows]]<br />[[Xbox 360]]
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| media = [[DVD]]<br />[[Digital Distribution|digital download]]
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| requirements = 3.0&nbsp;[[Hertz|GHz]] Pentium 4, 2.0&nbsp;[[Hertz|GHz]] Dual Core, or AMD64X2 [[central processing unit|processor]],<br />1&nbsp;[[gigabyte|GB]] [[Random Access Memory|RAM]],<br />128&nbsp;MB [[DirectX]] 9.0 [[graphics card]],<br />[[Pixel Shader 2.0]] support,<br />DirectX 9.0c-compatible [[sound card]],<br />[[Internet]] Connection for product activation and downloading updates
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| followed by = [[Left 4 Dead 2]]
 
}}
 
}}
   
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'''''Left 4 Dead''''' is a [[cooperative gameplay|cooperative]] [[first-person shooter]] [[video game]]. It was developed by [[Turtle Rock Studios]], which was purchased by [[Valve Corporation]] during development. The game uses Valve's proprietary [[Source (game engine)|Source engine]], and is available for [[Microsoft Windows|Windows]] and the [[Xbox 360]]. Development on the game was completed on November 13, 2008 and was released digitally on November 17, 2008 and at retail on November 18, 2008 in North America, In Australia on November 18, 2008 and on November 21, 2008 in Europe and Japan.
{{Infobox
 
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|title = Left 4 Dead
 
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Set during the aftermath of an [[Zombie apocalypse|apocalyptic]] [[pandemic]], the game pits its four protagonists—dubbed the "Survivors"—against hordes of the infected. There are four game modes: a single-player mode in which allied characters are controlled by AI; a four-player, co-op campaign mode; an eight-player online versus mode; and a four-player survival mode. In all modes, an [[game artificial intelligence|artificial intelligence]] (AI), dubbed the "[[#AI and the Director|Director]]", controls level pacing and item placements, in an attempt to create a dynamic experience and increase [[replay value]].
|image = [[Image:Left4DeadXbox.jpeg|220px]]
 
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|developer = [[Turtle Rock Studios]]
 
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''Left 4 Dead'' was well received by the industry media upon its release, with praise given for its replay value, focus on cooperative play, and [[Film|movie]]-like experience. Several criticisms were aimed at limited level selection and the lack of a narrative. The game has won several publication awards, as well as distinctions from the [[Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences]] and [[British Academy Video Games Awards|British Academy of Film and Television Arts]]. As was done with ''[[Team Fortress 2]]'', Valve plans on supplementing the game with free downloadable content. The first of these, called the "Survival Pack", was released on April 21, 2009. The second piece of DLC was charged for via Xbox Live and came in the form of a new Campaign entitled "Crash Course," released for both the PC and Xbox 360 on September 29, 2009. The popularity of the game led to the development of a sequel, ''[[Left 4 Dead 2]]'', which was released November 17, 2009. ''Left 4 Dead'' will be brought to [[Mac OS X]] along with other Valve games in mid-2010, allowing for cross-platform support between PC and Mac versions.
|publisher = [[Valve]]
 
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<!-- Anyone planning on adding a notation about L4D2, look down a few sections -->
|designer =
 
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|engine = [[Source Engine]]
 
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==Plot==
|released = '''Steam''':<br />[[November 18]], [[2008]]<br />'''Retail & Xbox 360''':<br />[[November 18]], [[2008]] ([[North America|NA]])<br />[[November 21]], [[2008]] ([[Europe|EU]])
 
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{{Refimprove|section|date=September 2010}}
|genre = [[Survival horror]]
 
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''Left 4 Dead'' begins in Pennsylvania, following an outbreak of so-called "Green Flu", a highly contagious virus causing extreme aggression and loss of higher brain functions.
|modes = [[1-8 players]] (4 survivors + 4 infected)
 
|ratings = [[ESRB: RP]]
 
|platforms = [[Microsoft Windows|Windows]], [[Xbox 360]]
 
|media =
 
|requirements =
 
|input =
 
}}
 
<div style="text-align: justify;">
 
'''''Left 4 Dead''''' is a co-operative, [[survival horror]], [[first-person shooter]] game by [[Valve Software|Valve Corporation]]. The game uses the [[Source engine|Source]] [[game engine]], and is available for [[Microsoft Windows|Windows]]-based [[personal computer]]s and the [[Xbox 360]].
 
   
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Two weeks after the infection of Patient Zero, four immune survivors of the outbreak (Francis, Zoey, Bill, and Louis) make their way through the city of Fairfield, only to discover that the virus is creating [[#Infected characters|new, even more dangerous mutations]]. After narrowly avoiding these new infected, along with hordes of others, the survivors are alerted to the presence of an evacuation point at the nearby Mercy Hospital by a passing news [[helicopter]]. Fighting their way through the city's streets, subway and sewers, the survivors are rescued from the hospital's roof by the pilot, only to discover that he is succumbing to the infection. ("''No Mercy''") With Zoey forced to kill the pilot, the helicopter crash lands in an industrial district outside the city. Finding a delivery truck that has been armored by other survivors, the group decides to use it to make their way to the town of Riverside ("''Crash Course''"). Before arriving in the town however, they find the road blocked, and are forced to travel the rest of the way on foot. Following an encounter with an infected madman in the local church, they discover that the town is overrun, and decide to head to a nearby [[boathouse]] for possible rescue. Contacting a small fishing vessel, they manage to reach the city of Newburg on the other side of the river, only to find much of it in flames ("''Death Toll''").
''Left 4 Dead'' puts four human playable or [[artificial intelligence|AI]] controlled survivors of an apocalyptic pandemic against hordes of aggressive "Infected" zombies in a cinematic backdrop in which the players "star" as each character in a fictional movie. The Survivors' goal is to help each other make it through various scenarios to safety. The Infected are controlled by an AI that dynamically balances difficulty and mood depending on the players' progress and situation. In an alternate game mode, human players can control up to four different monsters with special abilities and cooperate to stop the Survivor players.
 
   
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Seeking cover in a large [[greenhouse]], their rest is interrupted when a military [[C-130 Hercules]] passes overhead, leading the survivors to travel through the city's business district towards Metro International Airport. Upon arrival, the group is shocked to see that in an attempt to contain the infection, the military had bombed the airport; the runway however is largely intact, allowing the survivors to fuel up and escape in the waiting C-130 ("''Dead Air''"). Despite this apparent rescue, the survivors once again find themselves alone on the outskirts of [[Allegheny National Forest]]. Following a series of train tracks through the area, the group find themselves at a functioning, but abandoned, military outpost. After answering a radio transmission, the survivors make their final stand against hordes of infected, before a military [[Armoured personnel carrier|APC]] arrives to transport them to Northeast Safe Zone, supposedly the only location in the area yet to be overrun ("''Blood Harvest''"). The survivors then spend the next week travelling south, eventually ending up in the town of Rayford, where an encounter with the infected results in Louis being injured, and Bill sacrificing himself in order to allow the others to escape to safety ("''The Sacrifice''", still to be released).
It was released on November 18, 2008 in the [[United States]] and November 21, 2008 in [[Europe]] to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the release of ''[[Half-Life]]''.<ref name="steam">{{cite web |url=http://store.steampowered.com/app/500/ |title=Left 4 Dead |publisher=[[Valve Corporation]] |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/54372 |title=Left 4 Dead Delayed, Now Due November 18 |last=Faylor |first=Chris |date=2008-08-25 |publisher=[[Shacknews]] |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref> A five-minute trailer was released on Halloween.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://left4dead411.com/news/2008/10/l4d-opening-cinematic/ |title=Holy Shit, L4D Opening Cinematic |publisher=Left 4 Dead 411 |publisher=Valve Corporation |date=2008-10-31 |accessdate=2008-11-08}}</ref> A playable demo was made available on November 6 for pre-purchasers and on November 11 for the general public. The playable demo was closed on November 18, 2008. The demo contained the first one and a half out of five maps of the "No Mercy" campaign and was playable in both single player and multi-player. ''Left 4 Dead'' went gold on November 13, 2008.
 
   
 
==Gameplay==
 
==Gameplay==
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[[Image:Left 4 Dead screenshot.jpg|thumb|left|In ''Left 4 Dead'', the four survivors must fight off infected humans while trying to escape or make their way to a safe house.]]
Played in first person, players take control of the four main characters of the game, known as the Survivors. If four human players are not available to play, the remaining Survivors can be AI-controlled bots. They play through the levels fighting off the Infected, which are living humans (not traditional undead zombies, although they are sometimes referred to as such by the characters), who have been infected with a mutated rabies virus.<ref>{{cite news |url=http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/left4dead/news.html?sid=6173776&mode=recent |title=Left 4 Dead E3 2007 Preshow First Impressions |date=2007-07-11 |publisher=GameSpot |accessdate=2008-11-21}}</ref>
 
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''Left 4 Dead'' is a [[first-person shooter]]. In campaign mode, the player takes control of one of the survivors; if four human players are not available, then the remaining survivors are AI-controlled [[Computer game bot|bots]]. They play through the levels fighting off the infected—living humans who have been infected with a [[rabies]]-like virus that causes [[psychosis]], to which the survivors are immune.<ref name="1up.com">{{cite web |url=http://www.1up.com/do/feature?cId=3172298 |title=Left 4 Dead Afterthoughts from 1UP.com |publisher=1UP.com |accessdate=2009-01-23}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/left4dead/news.html?sid=6173776 |title=Left 4 Dead E3 2007 Preshow First Impressions |date=2007-07-11 |publisher=[[GameSpot]] |accessdate=2008-11-21}}</ref>
   
The game is focused on cooperation and team play; coloured outlines of teammates are visible through walls to help players stick together and coordinate their movement, and Survivors can be knocked down by the Infected and only helped up by another player. If a teammate is knocked down after being helped up twice, without tending to his wounds in between, the player will experience distorted black-and-white vision, and the next takeout will kill the player, forcing them to wait until the survivors find a safe room before [[Spawn|respawning]]. There are respawn areas scattered around the map that can be opened to find respawned survivors.<ref name="ignpodcast21">{{cite web |title=IGN ''Command Prompt'' Podcast, Episode 21 |url=http://pc.ign.com/articles/919/919917p1.html |publisher=[[IGN]] |date=2008-08-14}}</ref>
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The game is focused on cooperation and team play and thus eshews some "realism" conventions usual in most FPS games of the wider genre; colored outlines of teammates are visible through walls to help players stick together and coordinate their movement. If a survivor falls off a ledge, then they may automatically hang onto it and can only be helped up by another survivor. If a survivor's [[health (game mechanic)|health]] is depleted, then they become incapacitated and can only be revived by another survivor, at which point they continue playing with a low amount of health that decreases over time. If a survivor has been incapacitated and revived twice without tending to their wounds, then they will experience distorted [[black-and-white]] vision, and the next incapacitation will kill the character. If a survivor takes enough damage while incapacitated, or is not eventually helped up by teammates, then the incapacitated character will die. During "Campaign" mode, if a survivor is killed, then they will [[Spawning (computer gaming)|respawn]] in a closet or other enclosed space after a period of time (except during key points in the scenario), but must be freed by another survivor to rejoin the team. Otherwise, the player must wait until the next level.<ref>{{cite web |title=IGN ''Command Prompt'' Podcast, Episode 21 |url=http://pc.ign.com/articles/919/919917p1.html |publisher=IGN |date=2008-08-14}}</ref> However, if all human player survivors are killed or incapacitated, players will have to restart from the last checkpoint. Survivors can share [[first-aid kit]]s and pain pills and help each other heal. ''Left 4 Dead'' has [[friendly fire]] that cannot be disabled, increasing the need for caution around other survivors. On the easy difficulty level, friendly fire does not harm teammates but still registers as having occurred with a notice on the screen saying, "Don't shoot teammates!"
   
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The survivors communicate by voice commands that are accessed by quick menus, and some may sound off automatically when performing actions such as reloading or spotting infected.<ref>{{cite video game |title=Left 4 Dead |developer=[[Valve Corporation]] |date=2008 |platform=PC |level=No Mercy: The Subway (developer commentary) |quote='''Elan Ruskin''': Each survivor has a large database of lines to choose from based on their present activity and a variety of factors, such as their health, stress level, kind of special infected seen so far, and many others.}}</ref> Over 1,000 unique lines have been recorded for each survivor.<ref name="411handson" /> Additional communication of player actions is conveyed through character lights. Also, weapon-mounted flashlights and [[muzzle flash]]es help the players in determining whether their companions are shooting, performing melee attacks, reloading or moving. Due to control issues and the likelihood of players using a [[Xbox 360 accessories#Headsets|LIVE headset]], the Xbox 360 version of ''Left 4 Dead'' omits the quick phrases feature.<ref name="making_of_e3_video" />
"Boss Infected" also command special attacks, such as a Hunter's pounce, Boomer's vomit, the Smoker's tongue-choke, and the Tank's throw (usually throws cars or chunks of pavement), which require assistance from a teammate to get out of or to get back up after being knocked down. Survivors can also share [[first-aid kit]]s and help each other heal. ''Left 4 Dead'' has full [[friendly fire]] during the Advanced and Expert modes, increasing the need for caution around other Survivors. It is disabled in Easy mode.
 
   
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The game is experienced through five campaigns that take place in various urban and rural locales. Multiple visual in-game hints—including license plates, park signs, markings on airport equipment, and lines of dialogue spoken by the survivors—suggest that these locations are in [[Pennsylvania]],<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.joystiq.com/2009/07/03/interview-valves-doug-lombardi/ |title=Interview: Valve's Doug Lombardi |date=2009-07-03 |publisher=Joystiq |accessdate=2009-07-14 |quote=''The things that are happening, all the shit that is hitting the fan and turning everyone into mutant zombies, has gone much bigger than just Pennsylvania, which is where the original game was loosely set.''}}</ref> and similarly a memorial wall giving names of those who have died in the infection (actually names of the game's development team) along with their dates of birth and death suggests that the game takes place in October 2009.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://left4dead411.com/news/2008/11/valve-has-balls/ |title=Valve Has Balls, Play With Them |date=2008-11-22 |publisher=Left 4 Dead 411 |accessdate=2009-05-11}}</ref> Each campaign is divided into five chapters (except Crash Course, which has two chapters) marked by safe rooms, which are checkpoints where players can heal, re-arm and revive characters who were killed.<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Hands-on Previews |url=http://www.shacknews.com/featuredarticle.x?id=745 |publisher=[[Shacknews]] |date=2008-01-17 |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref> Specifically, the four campaigns are: "No Mercy", an urban setting culminating in a [[hospital]] [[skyscraper]]; "Death Toll", a small-town and countryside setting; "Dead Air", an airport setting; and "Blood Harvest", a woodland and farm setting. A two-level campaign, "Crash Course", was released on September 29, and is set in the outskirts of a small industrial town. The levels have distinct beginnings and ends, but there are a number of alternate routes to follow with more supplies, helping to create a sense of non-linearity.<ref name="gamespot_e3_2008_stageshow">{{cite web |title=GameSpot Video: Left 4 Dead E3 2008 Stage Show Demo |url=http://www.gamespot.com/xbox360/action/left4dead/video/6194927/left-4-dead-e3-2008-stage-show-demo |publisher=[[GameSpot]] |date=2008-07-23 |accessdate=2008-07-23}}</ref> In the final chapter of each campaign, the players must defend a position from an onslaught of infected until rescue arrives.<ref name="411handson">{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Hands-on Preview&nbsp;– Survivor Side |url=http://www.left4dead411.com/left-4-dead-preview-pg1 |publisher=Left 4 Dead 411 |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref> Each campaign typically lasts between 20 and 75 minutes depending on the difficulty level. Both platform versions of the game utilize an achievement system.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/e3_2008_left4dead_interview_new_graphics_weapons_and_steam_achievement_details |title=E3 2008: Left4Dead Interview. New Graphics, Weapons, and Steam Achievement Details |last=Chan |first=Norman |date=2008-07-21 |work=[[Maximum PC]] |accessdate=2008-10-26}}</ref>
The Survivors communicate by voice commands that are accessed by quick menus, and some will also sound off automatically when doing such things as reloading or spotting Infected. Over 1000 unique lines have been recorded for each Survivor.<ref name="411handson" /> Additional communication of player actions is conveyed through character lights. Also, weapon-mounted flashlights and [[Muzzle Flash|muzzle flashes]] help the players in determining whether their companions are shooting, performing melee attacks, reloading or moving. Due to control issues and to the fact that players will probably be using a LIVE headset, the Xbox 360 version of ''Left 4 Dead'' will omit the quick phrases feature.<ref name="making_of_e3_video" />
 
   
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===Survivor characters===
The game is experienced through four scenarios that take place in various urban and rural locales, such as a hospital, an airport and a murky countryside. Each scenario is divided into several shorter sections marked by safehouse checkpoints, where players can heal, re-arm, calm their nerves, and revive players who were killed.<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Hands-on Previews |url=http://www.shacknews.com/featuredarticle.x?id=745 |publisher=[[Shacknews]] |date=2008-01-17 |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref> Specifically, the four phases of the campaign mode are: No Mercy (urban setting), Death Toll (small town/countryside setting), Dead Air (airport setting), and Blood Harvest (woodland/nature setting).<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.nothingbutsoftware.com/blog/2008/11/left-4-dead-video-review/|title=Left 4 Dead Review}}</ref>
 
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[[Image:Left 4 Dead Revised Cast.jpg|right|thumb|The final design of the survivors, shown on the poster for the "No Mercy" campaign. Left to right: Francis, Bill, Zoey, Louis]]
The levels are essentially linear, with distinct beginnings and ends, but there are a number of alternate routes to follow with more supplies and alternate objectives, as well as create a sense of non-linearity.<ref name="gamespot_e3_2008_stageshow">{{cite web |title=GameSpot Video: Left 4 Dead E3 2008 Stage Show Demo |url=http://www.gamespot.com/video/937407/6194927/videoplayerpop? |publisher=[[GameSpot]] |date=2008-07-23 |accessdate=2008-07-23}}</ref> At the end of each scenario, the players must defend a position from an onslaught of Infected until rescue arrives.<ref name="411handson">{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Hands-on Preview - Survivor Side |url=http://www.left4dead411.com/left-4-dead-preview-pg1 |publisher=Left 4 Dead 411 |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref> Each scenario lasts between 45 and 75 minutes.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/e3_2008_left4dead_interview_new_graphics_weapons_and_steam_achievement_details |title=E3 2008: Left4Dead Interview. New Graphics, Weapons, and Steam Achievement Details |last=Chan |first=Norman |date=2008-07-21 |work=[[Maximum PC]] |accessdate=2008-10-26}}</ref>
 
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There are four playable human characters in the game:<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.shacknews.com/featuredarticle.x?id=922 |title=Left 4 Dead E3 Preview: New Characters, New Weapons, New Details |last=Linde |first=Aaron |date=2008-07-16 |publisher=[[Shacknews]] |accessdate=2008-10-26}}</ref> ''Francis'', a stereotypical biker (voiced by Vince Valenzuela); ''Bill'', a Vietnam Veteran (voiced by [[Jim French (radio)|Jim French]]); ''Zoey'', a university student (voiced by [[Jen Taylor]]); and ''Louis'', an electronics salesman (voiced by Earl Alexander).<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.l4d.com/l4d/survivors.htm |title=Left 4 Dead Official Website |publisher=Valve Software |accessdate=2009-02-16}}</ref> Early plans were for players to be randomly assigned to characters but in the final release, players can choose any character—provided that the character has not already been selected—or be randomly assigned an unselected character.<ref name="411handson"/> Aside from appearances, all of the characters have identical abilities in-game.
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===Weapons===
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Survivors are armed with various [[firearm]]s. Each player starts the game with an [[M1911 pistol]].<ref name="411faq">{{cite web |url=http://left4dead411.com/left-4-dead-information |title=Left 4 Dead Information&nbsp;– FAQ |publisher=Left 4 Dead 411 |accessdate=2008-10-26}}</ref> It may be reloaded an unlimited number of times and is the only weapon that the survivor can use when they are incapacitated. When a second pistol is found, the player can [[dual wield]] them. At the beginning of each campaign, the player can choose between an [[Uzi]] submachine gun and a [[pump-action shotgun]]<!--Please do not attempt to identify this weapon; see "Talk:Left 4 Dead/Archive 3"-->. As the survivors progress through a campaign, more powerful weapons can be found: the fully automatic [[M16A3]] assault rifle (an upgrade to the Uzi), [[Benelli M4 Super 90]] semi-automatic shotgun (an upgrade to the pump-action shotgun), and a scoped [[Ruger Mini-14]] hunting rifle. A [[flashlight]] that can be toggled on and off is mounted on each firearm, with the exception of additional pistols. In addition to firearms, a player can also carry three other items in their inventory: improvised grenades (either a [[Molotov cocktail]] or a [[pipe bomb]] modified with an attached smoke alarm designed to attract the infected to it before it explodes);<ref name="411faq" /> a [[first aid kit]], which can be used to heal any survivor and [[Analgesic|pain pills]], which provide temporary health that depletes gradually and quicker with damage from infected, and can be handed to teammates for later use. Regardless of what weapon or item a player is using, a [[melee]] attack can be used to shove away any infected within reach. Also available are environmental weapons, such as gas cans, propane cylinders, and oxygen tanks, all of which explode when shot. These environmental weapons can be picked up, moved, and used as a melee weapon by the survivors, but while carrying an object they cannot use their weapons or health items. Strategically-placed [[minigun]] turrets are also encountered at various locations throughout the different maps.
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===Infected characters===
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The infected (voiced by [[experimental music]]ian [[Mike Patton]] and voice actor [[Fred Tatasciore]])<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1323932/ |title=Left 4 Dead (2008) (VG) |publisher=[[IMDB]] |accessdate=2009-05-14}}</ref> are the survivors' foes in ''Left 4 Dead'', and they appear to be partly inspired by the infected from several modern films, including ''[[Dawn of the Dead (2004 film)|Dawn of the Dead]]'', ''[[28 Days Later]]'', or [[Quarantine (film)|Quarantine]].<ref>{{cite web |first=Jason |last=Ocampo |title=Left 4 Dead Review |url=http://uk.pc.ign.com/articles/930/930763p1.html |publisher=IGN |date=2008-11-17 |accessdate=2009-08-11 |quote=''Left 4 Dead is a game that venerates zombie movies throughout the ages, from George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead to Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later''}}</ref><ref name="cavg">{{cite web |first=Jim |last=Rossignol |title=Preview: Left 4 Dead |url=http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=151399 |publisher=[[PC Gamer]] |date=2006-12-12 |accessdate=2009-01-20}}</ref> An important distinction from the former is that while the infected do resemble traditional [[undead]] [[zombie]]s, they are, as cited in the game's manual, living humans infected with a [[rabies]]-like [[pathogen]], very much like the infected in the latter film. While they are never seen eating human flesh or brains (although multiple 'survivors' who have been killed by the infected appear throughout the game, and appear to have been partially eaten. One such victim can be heard saying "I can't believe he bit me!" before being encountered later on, fully infected.), the manner in which they are portrayed is meant to create and sustain a more brutal, believable reality for the player to become immersed in. In an interview with 1Up.com, Mike Booth commented on the concept of using a pathogen as an inspiration for the setting:{{cquote|
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Even though we obviously pushed well beyond the realm of believability with many of our "boss" infected, the core idea of a mind-destroying, civilization-collapsing pathogen is more horrifying to me than magically animated corpses, precisely because it is plausible. Rabies is a good example of a pathogen that can turn a loyal, friendly, protective family pet into a slavering attack machine. It's a virus that reprograms the behaviors of a complex animal&nbsp;– a mammal, in fact. What if something similar happened to humans? ''Left 4 Dead'' is one possible answer.<ref name="1up.com"/>
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}}
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The common infected encountered during the game are fast and agile, weak individually, but may be overwhelming in numbers. They display a special attraction to high-pitched alarm-type sounds, such as the beeping device attached to pipe bombs and car alarms. Common infected will often chase down the source of these noises while ignoring lower-pitched, but much louder sounds such as gunfire. They occasionally attack in masses referred to in-game as a "horde".<ref name="Infected Guide">{{cite web |url=http://news.bigdownload.com/2008/12/02/left-4-dead-guide-how-to-identify-a-zombie/ |title=Left 4 Dead Guide: How to Identify a Zombie |date=2008-12-02 |publisher=Big Download |accessdate=2008-12-10}}</ref>
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In addition to the common infected, there are five "special" or "[[boss (video games)|boss]]" infected whose mutations grant them special attacks that make them far more dangerous. Each of the special infected, as well as approaching hordes, have a distinctive sound or a timely [[leitmotif|musical cue]], making their presence easily recognizable by players. There are five special infected in ''Left 4 Dead''.<ref name="Left 4 Dead—Infected">{{cite web |url=http://www.l4d.com/infected.htm |title=Left 4 Dead Guide |publisher=[[Valve Corporation|Valve]] |accessdate=2008-12-12}}</ref> The Boomer is a bloated infected that can spit vision-impairing bile on the Survivors that attract hordes of infected, and explodes on death, spewing more bile in the immediate area. The Hunter is an agile foe that can jump and pounce on a Survivor, and then tear at his victim until he is knocked off or killed. The Smoker has a long tongue that he can use to ensnare a Survivor and then drag him back to himself, either attacking the Survivor directly, allowing the horde to attack the Survivor, or leaving the Survivor suspended over a cliff or roof edge; the Smoker only releases its victim if the tongue is shot or on death, at which point it dies in a burst of vision-clouding smoke for a brief period. The Tank is a gigantic muscular infected that has the ability to swipe at Survivors, knocking them off their feet and incapacitating them; it can also knock cars and other debris into the Survivors. The Witch is a passive female infected that stays in a spot, crying; Survivors can sneak by the Witch, but if they should disturb her with light or loud noises, she will become aggressive and attack the Survivor that alerted her, usually incapacitating the Survivor and attacking him until she or the Survivor is killed. Each of these special infected is preluded to players through special audio cues; for example, the Witch's cries or the Smoker's coughs can be heard before they are seen, while certain musical cues will alert the players to the presence of a Hunter in the area.
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One special infected did not make it into the game. The "Screamer" was an infected strapped in a [[straitjacket]] and let out a loud, high-pitched scream when it sighted the survivors, thus forcing the survivors to find and kill it before it screamed, resulting in a horde of common infected. However, it ended up being too difficult for players to figure out where the Screamer came from or where it was going or even understand that they were meant to chase it. Because of the confusion, it was replaced by the Boomer.<!-- the source is one of the developer commentaries. Not sure which one -->
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In versus mode, four additional players can take control of the special infected—apart from the witch, who remains computer-controlled. Each infected player is randomly assigned a class of special infected when they enter a [[spawning (computer gaming)|spawn mode]]. While in spawn mode, the infected can quickly roam around the map in search of an appropriate place in which to spawn. This location must be sufficiently distant from any survivor, out of the line of sight of any survivor, and outside restricted areas such as safe rooms. Upon death, the infected player must wait up to 10–25 seconds before reentering spawn mode, depending on how many players are on the infected team. When a tank is spawned in the game, infected players receive a message indicating which player will control it. The human-controlled infected can see their teammates' outlines through walls similar to the survivors, but can also see each survivor's outline, which is colored according to the survivor's health and fades out if the survivor refrains from attacking, running and vocalizing. Vertical pathways exclusive to the infected, such as pipes and vines, are marked with animated symbols for the infected players. These can be climbed and used for ambushes.
   
 
===AI and the Director===
 
===AI and the Director===
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{{See also|Nonlinear gameplay}}
The [[artificial intelligence]] of ''Left 4 Dead'' features a dynamic system for game dramatics, pacing, and difficulty called the Director. Instead of set [[spawn point]]s for enemies, the Director places enemies and pick-ups (e.g. weapons, bombs, etc.) in varying positions and numbers based upon each player's current situation, status, skill and location, creating a new experience for each playthrough.<ref name="411handson" /> The Director also creates mood and tension with emotional cues such as visual effects, dynamic music, and character communication.<ref name="making_of_e3_video"/>
 
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[[Image:Left 4 Dead Director Intensity.jpg|thumb|right|In ''Left 4 Dead'', the AI Director computes each player's "stress level" based on a variety of factors to better pace the game and provide a fair challenge.]]
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The [[Game artificial intelligence|artificial intelligence]] of ''Left 4 Dead'' features a dynamic system for game dramatics, pacing and difficulty called the "Director". Instead of fixed [[spawn point]]s for enemies, the Director places enemies and items in varying positions and quantities based upon each player's current situation, status, skill and location, creating a new experience for each playthrough.<ref name="411handson"/> The Director also creates mood and tension with emotional cues, such as visual effects, dynamic music, and character communication.<ref name="making_of_e3_video"/>
   
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Valve has termed this dynamic set-up "[[Emergent gameplay#Emergent narrative|procedural narrative]]".<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.edge-online.com/blogs/gabe-newell-writes-edge |title=Gabe Newell Writes for Edge |last=Newell |first=Gabe |date=2008-11-21 |quote=''The events are trying to give them a sense of narrative. We look at sequences of events and try to take what their actions are to generate new sequences. If they've been particularly challenged by one kind of creature then we can use that information to make decisions about how we use that creature in subsequent encounters. This is what makes procedural narrative more of a story-telling device than, say, a simple difficulty mechanism.'' |work=[[Edge (magazine)|Edge]] |accessdate=2008-11-22}}</ref> In addition to the AI Director, there is a second Director that controls music. It was created as a way to keep the music interesting throughout the game. The music Director monitors what a player has experienced to create an appropriate mix. The process is client-side and done by a multi-track system. Each player hears their own mix, which is being generated as they play through the game, and dead players watching a teammate hear their teammates' mix.<ref>{{cite video game |title=Left 4 Dead |developer=[[Valve Corporation]] |date=2008 |platform=PC |level=No Mercy (developer commentary) |quote='''Tim Larkin''': We took several steps to keep the music interesting enough that the players would be inclined to keep it on as they play. We keep it changing so it won't become tedious; to this end, we created a music director that runs alongside the AI director, tracking the player's experience rather than their emotional state. We keep the music appropriate to each player's situation and highly personalized. The music engine in ''Left 4 Dead'' has a complete client-side, multi-track system per player that is completely unique to that player and can even be monitored by the spectators. Since some of the fun of ''Left 4 Dead'' is watching your friends when you're dead, we thought it was important to hear their personal soundtrack as well. This feature is unique to ''Left 4 Dead''.}}</ref>
===Versus mode===
 
''Left 4 Dead'' will introduce a new 8-player versus experience. In the [[deathmatch]] Versus mode, four additional players can take control of powerful Infected with unique abilities, amongst the other AI-controlled Infected. The Infected players are randomly assigned which boss Infected to play as, which changes with each spawn. The Tank only spawns once per level, excluding the finales. Infected players will receive a message which informs the players who will become the Tank. The Witch is the only Boss-Infected that cannot be controlled by players. While playing as a Boss-Infected, the player will also have a limited "squad" leadership among the normal Infected. The Infected have the ability to see Survivors through the walls at a certain range if the Survivors are running, have the flashlight on, or are talking. The Infected can also see in the dark, unlike the Survivors. Infected spawn ahead of the Survivors and can, if they stay still, see a marker for their likely path of advance so they can set up ambushes. Throughout levels, Infected-only ways up buildings are marked with symbols. These can be climbed and used for ambushes, especially with the Infected immunity to falling damage. Versus mode is playable on all campaigns.
 
   
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A far simpler version of the A.I. Director was previously used for some key battles in ''[[Half-Life 2: Episode Two]]''.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/left-4-dead-2-interview?page=2 |publisher=eurogamer.net |title= Left 4 Dead 2 Interview |quote=''The AI director - I don't want to say it fell out of Half-Life 2, but it was definitely a jumping-off point of stuff we did in Half-Life 2, particularly Episode 2. There are a couple of key battles where the number of Combine, and where they come at you from, uses something like that. It's much cruder than what we accomplished with Left 4 Dead, but there was some of that there'' |date=2009-07-03 |accessdate = 2009-07-05}}</ref>
===Award system===
 
''Left 4 Dead'' will include [[Steam]]'s achievement system, recording players' accomplishments and mishaps. Part of the intent of this system is to help players to avoid [[griefer]]s and to find teammates with more experience. To help ensure good teamwork among the players, the game provides positive feedback for good behavior (such as aiding fallen comrades) and negative feedback for poor behavior (such as the shooting of one's own team members), but these rewards and punishments do not carry over from round to round. A global, persistent "merit/demerit" system, which would have tracked these good and bad behaviors for each player, was originally planned for inclusion in the game to give all players an incentive to engage in good in-game behavior,<ref name="left4dead411">{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Hands-on Preview |url=http://www.left4dead411.com/left-4-dead-preview-pg7 |accessdate=2008-11-19}}</ref> but this system was removed late in the development of the game in favor of immediate, non-persistent feedback displayed in-game.<ref name="411forum">{{cite web |url=http://www.left4dead411.com/forums/index.php?action=vthread&forum=2&topic=5413&page=0 |title=What Happened to Merits/Demerits? |accessdate=2008-11-19}}</ref>
 
   
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Valve is looking for ways to apply the Director in their future games to make pacing and difficulty more dynamic.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://news.vgchartz.com/news.php?id=2167 |work=[[vgchartz]] |title=VGChartz Interviews Valve's Doug Lombardi on Left 4 Dead |accessdate=2009-12-01}}</ref>
===Xbox 360 version===
 
The Xbox 360 version of ''Left 4 Dead'' has the same game modes as the PC version. The game supports [[split screen]] and [[system link]] play.<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead |url=http://www.xbox.com/en-GB/games/l/left4dead/ |publisher=Xbox.com |publisher=[[Microsoft]] |accessdate=2008-07-08}}</ref> Players can mix split screen and online play in the same game.<ref name="1up_20080828" /> A new matchmaking system is also included for online play.<ref name="making_of_e3_video">{{cite video |people=Gabe Newell |title=Making Left 4 Dead E3 2008 Presentation |url=http://www.viddyou.com/viddstream?videoid=41607 |medium=Video presentation |publisher=[[Valve Corporation]] |year2=2008}}</ref>
 
   
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===Game modes===
Valve will run dedicated servers on [[Xbox Live]] for ''Left 4 Dead''.<ref name="1up_20080828">{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead for Xbox 360 Using Dedicated Servers on Live which will be a great addition to this game.|url=http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3169669 |publisher=[[1UP]] |date=2008-08-28 |accessdate=2008-08-28}}</ref>
 
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''Left 4 Dead'' contains four game modes: campaign, versus, survival, and single-player. The cooperative campaign consists of up to four human-controlled survivors who attempt to make their way between safe rooms and eventually to rescue. In this mode, the special infected are controlled by the AI. In a versus campaign, each team of one to four players plays each chapter of the campaign as both survivor and infected, swapping sides once per chapter.<ref name="L4Dreview-Gamespot"/> Unlike campaign mode, dead survivors do not respawn. If at least one player-controlled survivor finishes the level, the survivor team earns 100 points as well as bonus points based on their health and the health items in their inventory. These points are then multiplied by the chapter's difficulty level, and the number of survivors who finished. If all player-controlled survivors are killed, the survivor team only earns points according to their average progress through the chapter and the difficulty multiplier.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://left4dead411.com/left-4-dead-versus-preview-1 |title=Left 4 Dead Versus Preview |date=2008-11-17 |publisher=Left 4 Dead 411 |accessdate=2009-05-01}}</ref> Survival mode consists of a timed challenge where players try to survive as long as possible against a never-ending flood of the infected, added in April 2009 in the Survival Pack downloadable content.<ref name="IGN L4D DLC1"/> Single-player mode is basically the same as campaign mode, but played offline with three AI-controlled bots as the other survivors. On Xbox 360, other players can join in on the same console to turn single player into an offline co-op game. The game can also be played through a system link, or local area network. Players have also discovered a way to do splitscreen co-op play with the PC version.
   
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==Production==
==Survivor characters==
 
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[[Image:L4DP.jpg|thumb|The original design of the survivors. Left to right: Louis, Francis, Zoey, Bill]]
There are four playable human characters in the game (hence the "4" in the title).<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.shacknews.com/featuredarticle.x?id=922 |title=Left 4 Dead E3 Preview: New Characters, New Weapons, New Details |last=Linde |first=Aaron |date=2008-07-16 |publisher=[[Shacknews]] |accessdate=2008-10-26}}</ref> Early plans were for players to be randomly assigned to characters, though in the final release players can choose any character they would like so long as another player has not selected it first.<ref name="411handson" />
 
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Development on ''Left 4 Dead'' started in mid-2005.<ref name="play.tm_gabe_interview">{{cite web |last=Guttridge |first=Luke |title=Valve Software's Doug Lombardi interview |url=http://play.tm/interview/17853/valve-software-s-doug-lombardi/ |publisher=Play.tm |date=2008-05-01 |accessdate=2008-08-20}}</ref> Turtle Rock Studios aimed to create a horror film-inspired game that merges single player games' character-driven narrative structure with multiplayer games' social interaction and high [[replay value|replayability]].<ref name="making_of_e3_video" /> The game was first revealed in the Christmas 2006 publication of ''[[PC Gamer UK]]'' with a six-page article describing a playthrough at Turtle Rock Studios headquarters. A [[teaser trailer|teaser]] was released with ''[[The Orange Box]]''. The game was first playable at the Showdown 2007 LAN in [[San Jose, California|San Jose]] and at [[QuakeCon#2007|QuakeCon 2007]]. [[Turtle Rock Studios]] announced ''Left 4 Dead'' on November 20, 2006,<ref>{{cite web |title=Turtle Rock and Valve Announce Left 4 Dead |url=http://www.shacknews.com/docs/press/112006_left4dead.x |publisher=[[Shacknews]] |date=2006-11-20 |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref> and was acquired by [[Valve Corporation]] on January 10, 2008, because of the game and long-standing relationship between the companies.<ref name="Valve 2008-01-10">{{cite web |title=Valve Acquires Turtle Rock Studios |url=http://store.steampowered.com/news/1401/ |publisher=[[Steam (content delivery)|Steam]] |publisher=[[Valve Corporation]] |date=2008-01-10 |accessdate=2008-01-10}}</ref> The game opened up to pre-purchasing on Valve's [[Steam (content delivery)|Steam system]] on October 15, 2008.<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Pre-Purchase Infection on Now |url=http://store.steampowered.com/news/1897/ |publisher=[[Valve Corporation]] |date=2008-10-15 |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref>
   
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To give ''Left 4 Dead'' significant exposure, Valve financed a $10-million marketing campaign for the game in the United States and Europe, with advertisements appearing on television, print, websites and outdoor placements in many cities. Valve also hosted photo contests called, "Dude, where's my thumb?" offering copies of ''Left 4 Dead'' to people who submitted the best picture involving zombies or the outdoor advertising.<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Available at Retail Worldwide |url=http://store.steampowered.com/news/2052/ |publisher=[[Valve Corporation]] |date=2008-11-21 |accessdate=2008-11-25}}</ref>
*'''''Francis''''' is a tattoo-covered biker.
 
*'''''Zoey''''' is a college student and horror movie enthusiast.
 
*'''''Louis''''' is a Junior Systems Analyst in his company's IT department.
 
*'''''Bill''''' is a former Green Beret and a Vietnam veteran.
 
   
===First tier weapons===
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===Development===
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''Left 4 Dead'' uses the latest version of Valve's [[Source engine]], with improvements such as [[multi-core]] processor support and [[physics engine|physics-based animation]] to more realistically portray hair and clothing, and to improve physics interaction with enemies when shot or shoved in different body parts.<ref>{{cite video game |title=Left 4 Dead |developer=[[Valve Corporation]] |date=2008 |platform=PC |level=No Mercy: The Hospital (developer commentary) |quote='''Miles Estes''': Since killing zombies is such a big part of this game, we invested a lot of time into making their death animations more dramatic than simple ragdolls. We had a professional stuntman on the motion capture stage perform about a hundred different dying animations from different kinds of weapons and hit from different directions, like from the front or behind. We then combined these mo-cap animations with the physics-driven ragdolls.}}</ref> Animation was also improved to allow characters to lean realistically when moving in curved paths. Rendering and artificial intelligence were scaled up to allow for a greater number of enemies who can navigate the world in better ways, such as climbing, jumping, or breaking obstacles.<ref>{{cite video game |title=Left 4 Dead |developer=[[Valve Corporation]] |date=2008 |platform=PC |level=No Mercy: The Apartments (developer commentary) |quote='''Phil Robb''': We treat the infected horde as a major character in ''Left 4 Dead'', and spend a lot of effort in making their movements believable. This includes hundreds of motion-captured animations that are algorithmically blended with the physics system to create characters that realistically interact with their environment and each other. ... When they see a survivor, they become enraged, taking off at a full sprint, leaning into their turns, jumping and climbing over everything in their way, trying to get to their victim. We wanted to express this rage in their faces as well, so we found efficient ways for each member of the horde to make intense facial expressions.}}</ref><ref>{{cite video game |title=Left 4 Dead |developer=[[Valve Corporation]] |date=2008 |platform=PC |level=No Mercy: The Subway (developer commentary) |quote='''Matt Campbell''': Although it sounds ridiculous to talk about advanced zombie AI, we spent a great deal of time on the AI systems for the common horde. First and foremost is their ability to navigate. The environments in ''Left 4 Dead'' are geometrically complex, and littered with breakable and movable objects. One of the design goals for the zombie horde was that there can never be a place where a survivor can stand that a zombie cannot navigate to. To make this happen required not only robust path-finding code, but also path-following algorithms as well. These path followers have to continuously evaluate the local geometry around them, and decide whether to crouch, stand, jump, climb over, and otherwise navigate nearly-arbitrary environmental obstacles.}}</ref> Lighting was enhanced with new [[self-shadowing]] [[normal mapping]] and advanced shadow rendering that is important to convey information about the environment and player actions.<ref name="making_of_e3_video" /><ref name="firingsquad_valve_interview">{{cite web |last=Callaham |first=John |title=Left 4 Dead Interview |url=http://www.firingsquad.com/games/left_4_dead_interview/default.asp |publisher=FiringSquad |date=2007-03-22 |accessdate=2008-09-01}}</ref> Wet surfaces and fog are used to create mood.<ref name="gamesfest2008-presentation">{{cite web |author=[[Valve Corporation]] |title=How Valve Connects Art Direction to Gameplay |url=http://www.valvesoftware.com/publications/2008/GameFest08_ArtInSource.pdf |format=PDF|month=July | year=2008 |accessdate=2008-08-02}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2008/07/indepth_how_valve_makes_art_to.php |title=In-Depth: How Valve Makes Art To Enhance Gameplay |last=Carless |first=Simon |date=2008-07-31 |publisher=GameSetWatch |accessdate=2008-10-26}}</ref> Many kinds of [[Video post-processing|post processing]] cinematic visual effects inspired by horror movies have been added to the game. There is dynamic [[color correction]] that accentuates details based on importance, [[contrast (vision)|contrast]] and [[Unsharp masking|sharpening]] to focus attention on critical areas, [[film grain]] to expose details or imply details in dark areas and [[vignetting]] to evoke tension and a horror-film look.<ref name="making_of_e3_video" />
Survivors are armed with various firearms divided into two tiers. The first tier is available for everyone to select from when the scenario starts in addition to the one Springfield Armory [[M1911 pistol|M1911]] pistol<ref name="411weaps">{{cite web |url=http://left4dead411.com/left-4-dead-information |title=Left 4 Dead Information - FAQ |publisher=Left 4 Dead 411| accessdate=2008-10-26}}</ref> all Survivors always carry. The pistols have unlimited ammo and are the only weapon that Survivors can use when they are knocked down by the Infected. Survivors all have a [[melee]] attack, which is very useful as they can use it to push away infected by hitting them. Survivors use this to push infected away and then attack them, or to get time to reload. Also, the player can reload, melee, and continue the reload process throughout the melee attack. The first tier contains the standard [[Uzi]], [[pump-action shotgun]], and a pistol.
 
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[[Image:L4d filmic.jpg|thumb|Before and after the application of cinematic effects]]
   
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''Left 4 Dead'' underwent many phases of development; influenced by [[playtest]]ing, Turtle Rock Studios removed many of the features that were originally in the game. In the initial phases, there was another special infected, called the "screamer", which had no attacks but upon spotting a survivor would run to a safe place and then emit a loud scream that attracted a horde of infected. This infected class was removed, but its ability to attract the horde was incorporated into the boomer's vomit.<ref>{{cite video game |title=Left 4 Dead |developer=[[Valve Corporation]] |date=2008 |platform=PC |level=No Mercy: The Apartments (developer commentary) |quote='''Jaime Sue''': The screamer was a boss zombie who didn't have any actual attacks; he was bound in a straitjacket. You knew when he was around because of his crazed, maniacal cackling. The trick to the Screamer was that if he saw you, you had a moment to kill him before he ran away, and once the screamer got away from the survivors to a hiding place, he would emit a loud, howling scream that would cause a huge mob of zombies to attack the survivors. While there were several exciting moments of knowing you had to chase him down to shoot him before he screamed, dodging zombies all the way, ultimately it proved too confusing for the survivors to discover how he worked or even to reliably notice him in the crowd. He was cut, and his horde-drawing attack eventually evolved into the boomer attack.}}</ref> A persistent merit/demerit system was envisioned to provide positive feedback for good behavior, such as aiding a fallen teammate; and negative feedback for poor behavior, such as shooting a teammate. This would provide a score to rank a player's effectiveness as a teammate,<ref name="left4dead411">{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Hands-on Preview |url=http://www.left4dead411.com/left-4-dead-preview-pg7 |accessdate=2008-11-19}}</ref> but this system was removed late in the development of the game in favor of immediate, non-persistent feedback displayed in-game. Another significant element removed was a long introduction between campaigns; because the game is designed for replayability, it was difficult to hold the player's attention for repeated viewings of cut scenes, so they were dropped in favor of a sparse narrative.<ref>{{cite video game |title=Left 4 Dead |developer=[[Valve Corporation]] |date=2008 |platform=PC |level=No Mercy: The Apartments (developer commentary) |quote='''Doug Wood''': We experimented with a variety of different introductions for each campaign. For "No Mercy", we tried a 40-second fly-in of the helicopter to give the player a more movie-like introduction to the game. Ultimately, we found that such elaborate cut scenes are hard to watch over and over in a game that's built for replayability. Playtesters wanted to get into the game and start playing right away, so we ended up going with a much more streamlined game intro.}}</ref> Also, the game started out with one big city design with many routes for the survivors, but playtesters were confused when they began to play, and later they always chose the same route; ultimately Turtle Rock Studios cut the city maps into the first "No Mercy" and "Dead Air" campaigns.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.1up.com/do/feature?pager.offset=1&cId=3172298 |title=Left 4 Dead Afterthoughts |publisher=1up.com |quote=''We actually started out with a single, huge city design with a great many routes for the survivors to take to reach the extraction point. As we began to playtest in this zombie city, we immediately discovered that having that much choice combined with the chaos of zombie hordes made for frustrated and paralyzed survivor teams'' |accessdate=2009-01-19}}</ref>
===Second tier weapons===
 
Weapons in the second tier can be found throughout the maps and at the end of the scenario, just before the final fight. The second tier, in addition to having a wider variety of weapons, also provides weapons that fulfill the same role as first tier weapons but are inherently better, such as replacing the Uzi submachine gun with the M16A1 assault rifle - and the standard pump-action shotgun with the Benelli M4 Super 90]shotgun. Along with those, players also receive a scoped Ruger Mini-14 rifle. A second pistol is also available, often in a different location.
 
   
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[[Certain Affinity]] assisted Turtle Rock Studios with the Xbox 360 version of the game.<ref>{{cite web |title=Outta The Bag |url=http://www.certainaffinity.com/news.htm |publisher=[[Certain Affinity]] |date=2008-02-04 |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref> The Xbox 360 version of ''Left 4 Dead'' has the same game modes as the PC version but has additional features such as support for [[Split screen (computer graphics)|Split screen]], allowing for two players to play offline and online from the same console,<ref name="1up_20080828" /> and [[System Link]] play.<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead |url=http://www.xbox.com/en-GB/games/l/left4dead/ |publisher=Xbox.com |publisher=[[Microsoft]] |accessdate=2008-07-08}}</ref> Split-screen mode can also be achieved on the PC version, but it requires console commands and may require the modification of controller configuration files; and it is not officially supported.<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead: SplitScreen PC Guide |url=http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=745113 |date=2008-11-06 |accessdate=2009-02-20}}</ref> Both versions of the game have a new matchmaking system to simplify the process of finding other players.<ref name="making_of_e3_video">{{cite video |people=Gabe Newell |title=EA E3 Presentation Video |url=http://www.left4dead411.com/news/2008/07/ea-e3-presentation-video/ |medium=Video presentation |publisher=Left 4 Dead 411 |date=2008}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=http://ve3d.ign.com/articles/news/42875/Valve-On-Left-4-Dead-Servers-Matchmaking |title=Valve On Left 4 Dead Servers & Matchmaking |date=2008-11-10 |publisher=Voodoo Extreme |accessdate=2008-12-10}}</ref> This new server management system was met with a negative reaction from PC server operators, who, with this system, had very little control over their servers. This led to Valve releasing a series of patches that allowed server operators to remove their server from the matchmaking "pool" of servers or make private servers.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20081107-server-socialism-valves-fumbles-mar-left-4-dead-demo.html |title=Server socialism: Valve's fumbles mar Left 4 Dead demo |date=2008-11-07 |publisher=[[Arstechnica]] |accessdate=2008-12-10}}</ref> Valve runs [[dedicated server]]s for both versions of the game.<ref name="1up_20080828">{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead for Xbox 360 Using Dedicated Servers on Live which will be a great addition to this game. |url=http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3169669 |publisher=[[1UP.com]] |date=2008-08-28 |accessdate=2008-08-28}}</ref><ref name="pc_dservers">{{cite web |url=http://list.valvesoftware.com/mailman/private/hlds/2008-December/054482.html |author=Erik Johnson |title=Re: <nowiki>[hlds]</nowiki> hlds Digest, Vol 10, Issue 13 |publisher=Valve Corporation |date=December 5, 2008 |accessdate=December 9, 2008 |quote=We're currently hosting about 5,000 game servers for Left 4 Dead on the PC.}} (archives are members only to view. Log in with wikipedia@tempinbox.com and password xetafoki)</ref>
===Additional weapons===
 
In addition to firearms, Survivors can also carry either a Molotov cocktail to create a pool of fire on the ground which lights infected on fire (which damages bosses over time and causes normal Infected to panic and die) or a pipe bomb bedecked with bright strobe lights and a high pitched siren squeal designed to attract the Infected.<ref name="411faq">{{cite web |url=http://left4dead411.com/left-4-dead-information |title=Left 4 Dead Information - FAQ |publisher=Left 4 Dead 411 |accessdate=2008-10-26}}</ref> In addition to these weapons, [[minigun]]s can be found mounted in defensible positions in some areas of the game, while gas cans, propane tanks, and oxygen tanks could be placed and set off for a wide-area fire or explosion, similar to the Molotov cocktail/pipe bomb. A player can also lose health by walking into the fire. The player burns for a few seconds, losing health until the fire is extinguished. When an infected is set on fire it does not go out, and the infected continues to lose health until it dies.
 
   
===Additional items===
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===Promotion===
Each survivor is able to carry a single first-aid kit which will heal 80% of total health, meaning a player who is close to death would benefit more from a first-aid kit than one who has taken little damage. First-aid kits are primarily found in the safe rooms at the end of each level. Also scattered about the levels are pain killers which temporarily heal 50% of damage taken. Any survivor can heal or give pain killers to a teammate.
 
   
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To promote the game and provide basic training to players before starting the game, Valve chose to develop a [[Cut-scene#Animated cut scenes|pre-rendered]] intro movie. This movie was released on Halloween<ref>{{cite web |url=http://store.steampowered.com/app/5141/ |title=Left 4 Dead Intro |publisher=[[Valve Corporation]] |date=2008-10-31 |accessdate=2008-11-08}}</ref> and shows events prior to the beginning of the "No Mercy" campaign.<ref name="intromovieblog">{{cite web
==Infected characters==
 
  +
|title=The Moviemaking Process: Left 4 Dead's Intro Movie
{{SectOR|date=November 2008}}
 
  +
|url=http://www.l4d.com/blog/post.php?id=2081
The ''Infected'' are the Survivors' foes in ''Left 4 Dead'', and they appear to be partly inspired by the infected from several modern films, including ''Dawn of the Dead'', ''I Am Legend'', and ''28 Days Later''.<ref>{{cite web |first=Jim |last=Rossignol |title=Preview: Left 4 Dead |url=http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=151399 |publisher=[[PC Gamer]] |date=2006-12-12 |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref> The 'Common Infected', as opposed to the slow, shuffling zombies associated with George A. Romero's ''Dead'' series and the [[Resident Evil series]], are fast and agile, creating quite a formidable foe. They can be dealt with easily on their own, but in great numbers are difficult to defeat. In addition, there are five mutated Infected who have their own special mutant abilities and are more powerful than the regular Infected. These special Infected make distinctive sounds to announce their presence, sometimes followed with a survivor shouting out, e.g. "Hunter!" Four of the six Infected characters are playable in Versus mode.
 
  +
|publisher=[[Valve Corporation]]
  +
|last=Mitchell |first=Jason
  +
|date=2008-12-04
  +
|accessdate=2008-12-06}}</ref> Valve chose an intro movie over in-game training mechanics because they wanted the players to be immediately dropped into a zombie apocalypse. Valve later detailed in their official ''Left 4 Dead'' blog how they designed the movie, from an intentionally very basic animation in the beginning of July 2008 to the final result for the launch of the game.<ref name="intromovieblog" />
   
  +
Early access to the ''Left 4 Dead'' demo for people who pre-ordered the game began on November 6, 2008, for both Windows and Xbox 360. It gave users access to both online and single-player play in two "scenes" in one "movie" within the game. This promotion was being offered in addition to the ten percent savings for those who pre-order and applies to all Steam Windows pre-orders and all Windows and Xbox 360 pre-orders from GameStop and EB Games in North America.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/55765 |title=Shack PSA: Left 4 Dead Demo Released |last=Faylor |first=Chris |date=2008-11-06 |publisher=[[Shacknews]] |accessdate=2008-02-21}}</ref> On November 11, the ''Left 4 Dead'' demo was made available to all Windows and Xbox 360 gamers worldwide.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/55848 |title=Left 4 Dead Public Demo Arrives |last=Faylor |first=Chris |date=2008-11-11 |publisher=[[Shacknews]] |accessdate=2008-02-21}}</ref> The ''Left 4 Dead'' demo was removed from the Xbox 360 Marketplace and Valve's own Steam after the game's release on November 18, 2008, however it is still available for those that played it.
*'''''The Horde''''' is a large swarm of rushing Infected who are brawlers more than biters, at once similar to ''28 Days Later'', using their sheer number to attempt to overcome the Survivors. Hordes can be triggered due to a Survivor being splattered by a Boomer, setting off a car alarm, at seemingly random moments, and staying at an area for too long. Horde events are also more probable if the Survivor team plays efficiently. The Horde is prefaced by a musical horn cue in the soundtrack.
 
*'''''The Boomer''''' is a distended and bloated Infected that can spew projectile vomit at the Survivors, blinding them temporarily and triggering a swarm of Infected. Boomers blow up when they die, spraying nearby Survivors with bile that also attracts the Infected. Boomers also have the ability to hurl themselves off buildings and detonate on impact with the ground but it is not clear if this is intentional.
 
*'''''The Hunter''''' is an agile Infected who can climb walls and jump over rooftops, similar to ''I Am Legend'' Infected and ''[[Half-Life 2]]''{{'}}s [[Headcrab#Fast headcrab zombie|Fast Zombie]]. Crouching for some time gives the Hunter access to a powerful pounce attack that pins a Survivor down and it then starts to slash at the Survivor. It continues to slash at the pinned Survivor until the Hunter is knocked off or the Survivor is killed. The Hunter can be identified by its distinctive scream and growls.
 
*'''''The Smoker''''' has a long, grasping tongue which can stretch up to 15 meters (50 feet). It can capture Survivors as it drags them away from their team mates, or dangle them a foot off the ground if pulled from a rooftop, similar to ''Half-Life's'' [[Barnacle]] and ''[[Resident Evil series]]''{{'}}s Licker. When the Smoker is destroyed, it leaves a haze of green smoke that distorts the players' vision in the game and causes the character to start coughing, preventing them from using voice commands. The Smoker can be identified by its coughing and strained breathing, along with the cloud of smoke that comes off of it.
 
*'''''The Tank''''', a huge, muscular, and noisy Infected, bears some resemblance to ''[[The Hulk]]'' or ''The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'''s Mr. Hyde and is capable of throwing large items such as cars or blocks of concrete. Players cannot choose to be the Tank; Infected players are randomly chosen to spawn as one. The Tank can take the most amount of damage before dying and can deal a lot of damage. The tank has a "Frustration Meter" which means that control will be taken away from a human player if the Tank does not engage the survivors for a certain time when playing as the Tank. The Tank's presence is foreshadowed by a musical cue and the area quaking.
 
*'''''The Witch''''' is the only mutant Infected that cannot be played by human players.<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Infected Bosses: Witch |url=http://left4dead411.com/infected/witch/ |publisher=Left 4 Dead 411 |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref> Witches can easily be detected by their loud, distinctive crying and by the eerie choir music that swells up as the player draws near. Witches are not aggressive and can be avoided by careful players, but flashlight beams, physical contact, prolonged staring, and loud sounds such as gunfire or car alarms in their vicinity rouse them, causing them to attack whichever player startled them. When a Witch takes sufficient damage or kills the player who startled her, she retreats, covering her face and screaming horrifically. The lethality of a Witch is dependent on the difficulty of the game, and on all difficulty levels, the witch can knock down a player in one attack and swiftly kill them. On the "expert" difficulty, her attack is fatal at first strike. Offensively, Witches are far more dangerous than Tanks, but they are generally easier for players to kill. Compared to most Infected, they can withstand a large amount of damage before dying, but much less damage than a Tank. Due to the extreme danger Witches pose to players at all difficulty levels, there is very little benefit inherent in fighting them, except to obtain the handful of Witch-related Achievements (e.g., killing a Witch with a single headshot). When a Witch does not directly block the players' path, it is generally better to sneak past her rather than to risk a Survivor's life by engaging her in needless combat.
 
   
  +
The demo had many server problems when it launched, primarily Valve's strategy for server management which made it impossible to set up a dedicated private server with administrator controls.<ref name="ars_technica_demo_review">{{cite web |title=Server socialism: Valve's fumbles mar Left 4 Dead demo |url=http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20081107-server-socialism-valves-fumbles-mar-left-4-dead-demo.html |date=2008-11-07}}</ref> However, a stream of patches led to the availability of a server browser and basic private server functionality as well as Valve's acknowledgment of player concerns.<ref name="ars_technica_demo_review" /> It appears that a patch released just before the game itself has resolved many of the connection issues that demo players were having.<ref name="Left 4 Dead server update">{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Demo Update Released |url=http://store.steampowered.com/news/2021/ |date=2008-11-21}}</ref>
==Development==
 
[[Image:L4d filmic.jpg|thumb|Before and after the application of cinematic effects]]
 
Development on ''Left 4 Dead'' started in mid-2005.<ref name="play.tm_gabe_interview">
 
{{cite web |last=Guttridge |first=Luke |title=Valve Software's Doug Lombardi interview |url=http://play.tm/story/17853 |publisher=play.tm |date=2008-05-01 |accessdate=2008-08-20}}</ref> Valve aimed to create a horror film-inspired game that merges single player games' character-driven narrative structure with multiplayer games' social interaction and high replayability.<ref name="making_of_e3_video" /> The game was first revealed in the Christmas 2006 publication of ''[[PC Gamer#PC Gamer UK|PC Gamer UK]]'' with a six-page article describing a playthrough at Valve's headquarters. A [[Teaser trailer|teaser]] was released with ''[[The Orange Box]]''. The game was first playable at the Showdown 2007 LAN in [[San Jose, California|San Jose]] and at [[QuakeCon#2007|QuakeCon 2007]].<ref>{{cite web |title=First Left 4 Dead In-Game Footage/Pics Caught At Showdown LAN 2007 |url=http://news.filefront.com/first-left-4-dead-in-game-footagepics-caught-at-shadowlan-2007/ |publisher=Gaming Today |publisher=[[FileFront]] |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref> [[Turtle Rock Studios]] announced ''Left 4 Dead'' on November 20, 2006,<ref>{{cite web |title=Turtle Rock and Valve Announce Left 4 Dead |url=http://www.shacknews.com/docs/press/112006_left4dead.x |publisher=[[Shacknews]] |date=2006-11-20 |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref> and was acquired by [[Valve Corporation]] on January 10, 2008 because of the game and long-standing relationship between the companies.<ref name='Valve 2008-01-10'>{{cite web |title=Valve Acquires Turtle Rock Studios |url=http://store.steampowered.com/news/1401/ |publisher=[[Steam (content delivery)|Steam]] |publisher=[[Valve Corporation]] |date=2008-01-10 |accessdate=2008-01-10}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |title=Outta The Bag |url=http://www.certainaffinity.com/news.htm |publisher=[[Certain Affinity]] |date=2008-02-04 |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref> [[Certain Affinity]] announced in February 2008 that they are assisting with the Xbox 360 version of the game. The game opened up to pre-purchasing on Valve's [[Steam|Steam system]] on October 15, 2008.<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Pre-Purchase Infection on Now |url=http://store.steampowered.com/news/1897/ |publisher=[[Valve Corporation]] |date=2008-10-15 |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref>
 
   
  +
On May 1, 2009, the game was released freely via Steam as a one-day trial called "Freaky Free Friday". The trial was then extended to end on Saturday.<ref>{{cite news |url=http://store.steampowered.com/news/2471/ |title=L4D Freaky Free Friday Held Over |date=2009-05-01 |work=Steam News |accessdate=2009-06-01}}</ref>
''Left 4 Dead'' uses the latest version of Valve's [[Source engine]], with improvements such as multi-core processor support and [[Physics engine|physics-based animation]] to more realistically portray hair and clothing, and to improve physics interaction with enemies when shot or shoved in different body parts. Animation was also improved to allow characters to lean realistically when moving in curved paths. Rendering and artificial intelligence were scaled up to allow for greater number of enemies who can navigate the world in better ways, such as climbing, jumping or breaking obstacles. Lighting has been enhanced with new self-shadowing [[normal mapping]] and advanced shadow rendering that is important to convey information about the environment and player actions.<ref name="firingsquad_valve_interview">{{cite web |last=Callaham |first=John |title=Left 4 Dead Interview |url=http://www.firingsquad.com/games/left_4_dead_interview/default.asp |publisher=FiringSquad |date=2007-03-22 |accessdate=2008-09-01}}</ref><ref name="making_of_e3_video" /> Wet surfaces and fog are used to create mood.<ref name="gamesfest2008-presentation">{{cite web |author=[[Valve Corporation]] |title=How Valve Connects Art Direction to Gameplay |url=http://www.valvesoftware.com/publications/2008/GameFest08_ArtInSource.pdf |date=July 2008 |accessdate=2008-08-02}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2008/07/indepth_how_valve_makes_art_to.php |title=In-Depth: How Valve Makes Art To Enhance Gameplay |last=Carless |first=Simon |date=2008-07-31 |publisher=GameSetWatch |accessdate=2008-10-26}}</ref>
 
   
  +
===Release===
Many kinds of post processing cinematic visual effects inspired by horror movies have been added to the game. There is dynamic colour correction that accentuates details based on importance, contrast and sharpening to focus attention on critical areas, film grain to expose details or imply details in dark areas, and vignetting to evoke tension and a horror-film look.<ref name="making_of_e3_video" />
 
  +
''Left 4 Dead'' went [[Release to manufacture|gold]] on November 13, 2008, and was released on November 18, 2008, in [[North America]]; and on November 21, 2008, in [[Europe]] to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the release of ''[[Half-Life (video game)|Half-Life]]''.<ref name="steam">{{cite web |url=http://store.steampowered.com/app/500/ |title=Left 4 Dead |publisher=[[Valve Corporation]] |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/54372 |title=Left 4 Dead Delayed, Now Due November 18 |last=Faylor |first=Chris |date=2008-08-25 |publisher=[[Shacknews]] |accessdate=2008-10-25}}</ref>
   
  +
Valve released a server patch in December 2008 to stop players on Xbox Live from using PC-style cheats.<ref>{{cite news |url=http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21470 |title=Valve Patch Nixes Left 4 Dead Cheats |last=Caoili |first=Eric |date=2008-12-11 |publisher=Gamasutra |accessdate=2009-02-05}}</ref> A spokesperson from Valve said, "The fix is designed to halt the cheating behavior on the dedicated servers, which accounts for the majority of the co-op and versus modes of play."<ref>{{cite news |url=http://www.oxm.co.uk/article.php?id=7445 |title=Left 4 Dead attacked by hackers |last=King |first=Ryan |date=2008-12-11 |work=Official Xbox 360 Magazine |accessdate=2009-02-05}}</ref>
===Demo===
 
Early access to the ''Left 4 Dead'' demo for people who pre-ordered the game began Thursday, November 6, 2008 on both Windows and Xbox 360. It gave users access to both online and single player play in 2 levels of one story within the game. This promotion is being offered in addition to the 10% savings for those who pre-order and applies to all Steam Windows pre-orders and all Windows and Xbox 360 pre-orders from GameStop and EB Games in North America. However, many of the people who pre-ordered the game through GameStop did not receive their demo codes on time to play the demo on release. This may have been due to a glitch in GameStop's website, which allowed anyone who signed up to receive the demo key, whether they had pre-ordered or not.
 
   
  +
===After release===
On November 11, the ''Left 4 Dead'' demo was made available to all Windows and Xbox 360 gamers worldwide. The demo concluded on November 18, when ''Left 4 Dead'' was made available at retail outlets across North America and worldwide via Steam, in order to use the dedicated servers for the full game.
 
  +
Valve intends to support the PC version of the game through free content updates and the Xbox 360 version with DLC <ref name="Left 4 Dead DLC">{{cite web |url=http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/54485 |title=Left 4 Dead DLC Will Include More Levels, Enemies; Xbox 360 Version Uses Dedicated Servers |last=Ellison |first=Blake |date=2008-08-29 |work=[[Shacknews]] |accessdate=2008-11-25}}</ref> On a podcast by [[Kotaku]], writer Chet Faliszek divulged that an announcement regarding [[Downloadable content|DLC]] for the [[Personal computer|PC]] and [[Xbox 360]] would be released "very soon", and that the announcement was delayed by the holiday season. On February 5, 2009, Valve released details about the upcoming [[downloadable content]] pack. The two full campaigns of "Death Toll" and "Dead Air" for versus mode—which were previously unavailable—are included, as well as the survival game mode, where the survivors try to survive endless waves of the infected for as long as possible. On February 11, 2009, Valve announced that the downloadable content for the game would be free for both the Xbox 360 and PC;<ref>{{cite news |url=http://kotaku.com/5151646/left-4-dead-survival-pack-will-be-free |title=Left 4 Dead Survival Pack Will Be Free |last=Crecente |first=Brian |date=2009-02-11 |work=kotaku |accessdate=2009-02-11}}</ref> and on April 21, it was released.<ref>{{cite news |url=http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/57518 |title=Left 4 Dead DLC Coming Before April 21 |last=Faylor |first=Chris |date=2009-03-05 |work=Shacknews |accessdate=2009-03-10}}</ref> Survival mode shipped with 16 maps, 15 of them being modified portions of existing maps and one being a new lighthouse-themed level titled "The Last Stand".<ref name="IGN L4D DLC1">{{cite web |url=http://pc.ign.com/articles/959/959549p1.html |title=Valve Takes the Gloves Off: Left 4 Dead DLC Hands-on |last=Ocampo |first=Jason |date=2009-03-06 |work=[[IGN]] |accessdate=2009-03-07}}</ref> A ''Game Of the Year Edition'' of ''Left 4 Dead'' was released on the PC and Xbox 360 on May 12, 2009 with updates and new content included on the disc.<ref name="objects1">{{cite web |url=http://pc.ign.com/objects/143/14322218.html |title=Left 4 Dead (Game of the Year Edition) |work=[[IGN]] |accessdate=2009-04-24}}</ref>
   
  +
On May 15, 2009 an open beta test for the Source Development Kit updated to support ''Left 4 Dead'' was started under the name of the "Left 4 Dead Authoring tools". This included a new set of plugins that allowed for users to import data from [[SketchUp]], a free 3D modeling program, directly into the Hammer level editor for use in maps.<ref name="SDK Beta">{{cite web |url=http://www.l4d.com/blog/post.php?id=2510 |title=Personalize your apocalypse |date=2009-05-13 |work=[[Valve Corporation]] |accessdate=2009-06-13}}</ref> The beta was concluded on June 25, 2009 with the full release of the Left 4 Dead authoring tools and corresponding server and matchmaking update to support custom maps. The update included a command line tool for packaging custom ''Left 4 Dead'' campaigns to ease distribution.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://store.steampowered.com/news/2620/ |title=Left 4 Dead Update Released |date=2009-06-25 |work=[[Valve Corporation]] |accessdate=2009-06-25}}</ref>
====Demo private server issues====
 
  +
The demo had many server problems and game glitches, primarily Valve's strategy for server management which made it impossible to set up a dedicated private server with administrator controls.<ref name="ars_technica_demo_review">{{cite web | title=Server socialism: Valve's fumbles mar Left 4 Dead demo|url=http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20081107-server-socialism-valves-fumbles-mar-left-4-dead-demo.html|date=2008-11-07}}</ref> However, a stream of patches led to the availability of a server browser and basic private server functionality as well as Valve's acknowledgment of player concerns.<ref name="ars_technica_demo_review" /> It appears that a patch released just before the game itself has resolved many of the connection issues that demo players were having.<ref name="Left 4 Dead server update">{{cite web | title=Left 4 Dead Demo Update Released|url=http://store.steampowered.com/news/2021/|date=2008-11-21}}</ref>
 
  +
A sequel, ''[[Left 4 Dead 2]]'', was announced at the 2009 [[Electronic Entertainment Expo|E3]] conference and was released November 17, 2009.<ref>{{cite news |url=http://e3.gamespot.com/story/6210612/left-4-dead-2-due-november-17 |title=Left 4 Dead 2 due November 17 |last=Magrino |first=Tom |date=2009-06-01 |work=[[GameSpot]] |accessdate=2009-06-01}}</ref> Addressing concerns voiced by fans, Gabe Newell responded to an email from Kotaku explaining that despite the upcoming sequel, ''Left 4 Dead'' would continue to be supported and more content is planned in the coming months.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://kotaku.com/5286185/valve-responds-to-left-4-dead-2-boycott-vows-support-for-original |title=Valve Responds To Left 4 Dead 2 Boycott, Vows Support For Original |last=McWhertor |first=Michael |date=2009-06-10 |work=[[Kotaku]] |accessdate=2009-03-07}}</ref>
  +
  +
On August 4, 2009, Valve announced the second DLC pack. It contains a new campaign called ''Crash Course'', set shortly after the events of the ''No Mercy'' campaign, where the Survivors try to get to a Truck Depot after the helicopter they were in crashed. It is available for co-op, versus and survival modes, with various tweaks to game mechanics, and containing new locations and character dialog.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://store.steampowered.com/news/2708/ |title=More Left 4 Dead DLC Announced |date=2009-08-04 |work=[[Valve Corporation]] |accessdate=2009-08-04}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.destructoid.com/left-4-dead-crash-course-announced-as-new-campaign-142454.phtml |title=Left 4 Dead 'Crash Course' announced as new campaign |last=Sterling |first=Jim |date=2009-07-04 |work=destructoid.com |accessdate=2009-03-07}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.destructoid.com/exclusive-preview-left-4-dead-crash-course-campaign-142570.phtml |title=Exclusive preview: Left 4 Dead 'Crash Course' campaign |last=Sterling |first=Jim |date=2009-07-04 |work=destructoid.com |accessdate=2009-03-07}}</ref> The DLC was announced to be released on September 29, 2009,<ref>{{cite web|url=http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2009/09/crash-course-coming-to-left-4-dead-september-29.ars|title=Crash Course coming to Left 4 Dead Sept 29|first=Ben|last=Kuchera|date=2009-09-23|publisher=Ars Technica|accessdate=2009-09-23}}</ref> on which date it was released for free for PC, but was accidentally released on Xbox Live for 800 [[Microsoft Points]] instead of the previously announced price of 560 Microsoft Points. The price was amended soon after, and all players who bought the DLC for 800 points were refunded 240 points.<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/l4d-crash-course-released-on-live|title=L4D Crash Course released on Live|first=Robert|last=Purchese|date=2009-09-29|publisher=Eurogamer|accessdate=2009-10-02}}</ref>
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  +
On November 9, 2009, a matchmaking update to allow for matchmaking between teams of four players in versus mode was released.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.l4d.com/blog/post.php?id=2390 |title=A Match Made In Zombie Heaven |last=Zoid |date=2009-04-01 |work=[[Valve Corporation]] |accessdate=2009-06-13}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=http://store.steampowered.com/news/3085/ |title=Left 4 Dead Update Released |publisher=[[Valve Corporation]] |accessdate=2009-11-11}}</ref>
  +
  +
An add-on campaign for ''Left 4 Dead 2'', "[[The Passing]]", featured the ''Left 4 Dead'' survivors meeting the new cast as part of a full campaign. The ''Left 4 Dead 2'' content was set for release in March 2010, however it was delayed until April 22, 2010. To connect the events in "The Passing" to that in ''Left 4 Dead'', Valve will release another add-on in October 2010 for both ''Left 4 Dead'' and its sequel, entitled "The Sacrifice"; the events of that add-on take place before "The Passing" and tells how the ''Left 4 Dead'' survivors come to encounter the group from ''Left 4 Dead 2'', and how one will sacrifice themselves for the safety of the others.<ref name="l4d2 sacrifice">{{cite web | url = http://kotaku.com/5618352/new-left-4-dead-expansion-lets-you-choose-who-will-live-or-die | title = New Left 4 Dead Expansion Lets You Choose Who Will Live Or Die | first = Luke | last = Plunkett | date = 2010-08-21 | accessdate = 2010-08-21 | publisher = [[Kotaku]] }}</ref><ref name="crossing kotaku">{{cite web | url = http://kotaku.com/5469905/left-4-dead-2s-the-passing-coming-march-followed-by-comic-more-l4d-dlc | title = Left 4 Dead 2's "The Passing" Coming March, Followed By Comic, More L4D DLC | first = Michael | last = McWhertor | date = 2010-02-11 | accessdate = 2010-02-11 | publisher = Kotaku }}</ref><ref name="gttv passing">{{cite video | url = http://www.gametrailers.com/episode/gametrailers-tv/88?ch=4&sd=4_hd | title = Game Trailers TV Episode 308 | medium = Podcast | publisher = [[Game Trailers]] | date = 2010-03-20 | accessdate = 2010-03-20 }}</ref>
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  +
Valve also announced a 190 page digital comic that will be revealed in four parts in the weeks leading up to the release of ''The Sacrifice''.<ref>[http://www.pcgamer.com/2010/08/21/interview-valve-on-their-new-left-4-dead-dlc/ PC Gamer: Valve reveal their new Left 4 Dead DLC] PC Gamer. Retrieved 2010-08-21.</ref> Part one was released on September 14 2010,<ref>[http://www.l4d.com/blog/post.php?id=4352/ Left 4 Dead comics are here!] L4DBlog. Retrieved 2010-09-14.</ref> with the next three parts scheduled for release each Tuesday until ''The Sacrifice'''s October 5 release.<ref>[http://www.l4d.com/comic/The Sacrifice] L4D.com. Retrieved 2010-09-14.</ref> The comic is illustrated by [[Mike Oeming]], the artist behind the [[Powers (comics)|Powers]] comic series,<ref>[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEWr4G_CHoI#t=1m37s/Geoff Keighley interviews Chet Faliszek]. GameTrailers TV Episode 321. Retrieved 2010-08-20.</ref> and tells the stories of the original four survivors, as well as the events leading up to the infection. The comic begins with Bill, having just sacrificed himself to save the others, taking on three tanks while severly wounded. It then cuts to the finale of Blood Harvest, which is revealed to be one week earlier. In ''The Sacrifice'' DLC, any player, whether playing as Bill or not, can choose to sacrifice themself to allow the other survivors to complete the campaign.
  +
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In March 2010, Valve announced that it would be bringing the Steam content platform to [[Mac OS X]] computers; along with it, they will be providing native versions of existing Valve games including ''Left 4 Dead'' and its sequel. The games will support cross-platform play, allowing Mac players to play alongside PC players on the same servers, and will also be part of its "Steam Play" cross-compatible and Steam Cloud titles, allowing a player that has purchased the game on one platform to download and play it on the other platform for free.<ref>{{cite web | url = http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/left-4-dead-2/1075802p1.html | title= Left 4 Dead 2: Mac and PC Versions are Cross-Platform Compatible | first = Bryn | last = Williams | date = 2010-03-08 | accessdate = 2010-03-09 | publisher = [[Gamespy]] }}</ref> The Mac OS X client is expected to be available by October 2010.<ref name="l4d2 sacrifice"/>
   
 
==Reception==
 
==Reception==
  +
{{VG Reviews
{| style="float:right" class="wikitable"
 
  +
|Edge = 9/10
|+VG Reviews
 
  +
|EGM = A- A A+ <ref>"Electronic Gaming Monthly, January 2009, Issue 236, pp. 84-85."</ref>
!Publication!!Score
 
  +
|EuroG = 9/10<ref name="L4Dreview-Eurogamer" />
|-
 
  +
|IGN = 9.0/10<ref name="L4Dreview-IGN" />
|Edge||9/10
 
  +
|GI =9.25/10
|-
 
  +
|GSpot = 8.5/10<ref name="L4Dreview-Gamespot" />
|Giant Bomb||4/5<ref>http://www.giantbomb.com/left-4-dead/61-20690/reviews/</ref>
 
  +
|GSpy = 4.5/5<ref name="L4Dreview360-Gamespy" />
|-
 
  +
||rev1 = [[Giant Bomb]]
|IGN||9.0/10<ref>{{cite web|url=http://pc.ign.com/articles/930/930763p1.html|title=Left 4 Dead Review|last=Ocampo|first=Jason|publisher=[[IGN]]|accessdate=2008-11-18}}</ref>
 
  +
|rev1Score = 4/5<ref name="L4Dreview-Giant Bomb" />
|-
 
  +
|TX = 9.1/10<ref name="L4Dreview360-Teamxbox" />
|GameSpy||4.5/5<ref>{{cite web|url=http://xbox360.gamespy.com/xbox-360/left-4-dead/930843p1.html|title=Left 4 Dead Review|last=Tuttle |first=Will|date=2008-11-17|publisher=[[GameSpy]]|accessdate=2008-11-18}}</ref>
 
  +
|OXM = 9.5/10
|-
 
  +
|PCGUK = 93%<ref name="Left4Deadpc-pcguk">{{Cite news| last = Pearson| first = Craig| title = Left 4 Dead| newspaper = [[PC Gamer UK]]|date=Christmas 2008}}</ref>
|Official Xbox Mag||9.5/10
 
  +
|rev1 = [[Giant Bomb]]
|-
 
  +
|rev1Score = 4/5<ref name="L4Dreview-Giant Bomb"/>
|TeamXbox||9.1/10<ref>{{cite web|url=http://reviews.teamxbox.com/xbox-360/1622/Left-4-Dead/p1/|title=Left 4 Dead Review (Xbox 360)|last=Edddy|first=Andy|date=2008-11-17|publisher=[[TeamXbox]]|accessdate=2008-11-18}}</ref>
 
  +
|XPlay = 5/5<ref>{{cite web|url=http://g4tv.com/xplay/reviews/1871/Left_4_Dead.html|title=Left 4 Dead Review Videos|publisher=[[X-play]]|accessdate=2009-04-19}}</ref>
|-
 
  +
| MC = 89 (PC and Xbox 360)<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/xbox360/left4dead |title=Left 4 Dead (Xbox360: 2008): Reviews |publisher=[[Metacritic]] |accessdate=2008-11-18}}</ref><br /><ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/left4dead |title=Left 4 Dead (PC: 2008): Reviews |publisher=[[Metacritic]] |accessdate=2008-11-21}}</ref>
|X-Play||5/5
 
  +
|GR = 89 (Xbox 360 and PC)<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.gamerankings.com/xbox360/937407-left-4-dead/index.html |title=Left 4 Dead for Xbox 360 |publisher=[[Game Rankings]] |accessdate=2009-05-01}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/937406.asp |title=Left 4 Dead for PC |publisher=[[Game Rankings]] |accessdate=2008-05-01}}</ref>
|-
 
|MetaCritic||89 (Xbox 36)<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/xbox360/left4dead|title=Left 4 Dead (xbox360: 2008): Reviews|publisher=[[Metacritic]]|accessdate=2008-11-18}}</ref><br> 88 (PC) <ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/left4dead|title=Left 4 Dead (PC: 2008): Reviews|publisher=[[Metacritic]]|accessdate=2008-11-21}}</ref>
+
|Res = 92 <ref name="L4Dreview-Resolution">{{cite web |url=http://www.resolution-magazine.co.uk/issue1/review_left4dead.htm |title=Left 4 Dead Review |last=Denby |first=Lewis |publisher=[[Resolution]] |accessdate=2008-12-09}}</ref>
  +
|Fam = 35/40<ref>[http://fs.finalfantasytr.com/search.asp?query=Left+4+dead ]{{Dead link|date=June 2009}}</ref>
|-
 
  +
}}
|GameRankings||88 (Xbox 360 and PC) <ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/937406.asp|title=Left 4 Dead Reviews): Reviews|publisher=[[Gamerankings]]|accessdate=2008-11-21}}</ref>
 
|}
 
''Left 4 Dead'' received almost unanimous praise from critics, averaging a 91% on Game Rankings and 89% Universal Acclaim on Metacritic, in particular for its procedurally generated movie-like experience. G4 said that the game captured the horror movie feel perfectly and that multiplayer was extremely addictive. IGN stated that "It's almost pitch perfect in how it captures the tension and the action of a Hollywood zombie movie" and went on to describe it as "quite possibly the perfect co-op shooter". IGN noted that the Source engine was no longer cutting edge, but was favourable towards the visuals, describing the lighting as "amazing" and praising the emotive facial animation and detailed, cluttered levels. <ref> {{cite web| title=Left 4 Dead Review| publisher| publisher=GiantBomb | url=http://www.giantbomb.com/left-4-dead/61-20690/reviews/| date=| accessdate=2008-11-19}} </ref>
 
   
  +
===Critical reception===
Common points of criticism were the limited content and lack of overall narrative. While giving the game a "lasting appeal" score of 9, IGN noted that the small number of scenarios may feel "limited", while GameSpy found the lack of background narrative "disappointing" (although noting that there's "reportedly a lot of [[Downloadable content|DLC]] planned [..] that will expand upon the story").
 
  +
''Left 4 Dead'' received mostly positive praise from critics and universal praise from public community mostly from [[Metacritic]],<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/left4dead?q=left%204%20dead |title=Left 4 Dead (pc: 2008): Reviews |publisher=Metacritic.com |date=2008-11-17 |accessdate=2009-06-27}}</ref> with an aggregated score of 89 percent on [[Game Rankings]] and 89 percent on [[Metacritic]]. [[IGN]] stated, "It's almost pitch perfect in how it captures the tension and the action of a Hollywood zombie movie", and went on to describe it as, "quite possibly the perfect co-op shooter."<ref name="L4Dreview-IGN">{{cite web |url=http://pc.ign.com/articles/930/930763p1.html |title=Left 4 Dead Review |last=Ocampo |first=Jason |publisher=IGN |accessdate=2008-11-18}}</ref> [[Giant Bomb]] commented that the Source engine was beginning to show its age, but praised the game's use of lighting and filmic effects that gives the game world, "a desolate, washed-out feeling", as well as the realistic and emotive faces and the engrossing art direction.<ref name="L4Dreview-Giant Bomb">{{cite web |url=http://www.giantbomb.com/left-4-dead/61-20690/reviews/ |title=Left 4 Dead Review last=Davis |first=Ryan |date=2008-11-18 |publisher=[[Giant Bomb]] |accessdate=2008-12-19}}</ref> [[Eurogamer]] concluded that ''Left 4 Dead'' "is another deeply professional, personality-filled and progressive take on the shooter from Valve."<ref name="L4Dreview-Eurogamer">{{cite web |url=http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/left-4-dead-review |title=Left 4 Dead Review |last=Gillen |first=Kieron |publisher=[[Eurogamer]] |accessdate=2008-12-02}}</ref> Both IGN and [[Gamespot]] praised the game's replayability, but Gamespot criticized the "limited map selection" that could "sometimes feel a bit repetitious".<ref name="L4Dreview-Gamespot">{{cite web |url=http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/left4dead/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review |title=Left 4 Dead for PC Review |last=Watters |first=Chris |date=2008-11-20 |publisher=[[GameSpot]] |accessdate=2008-12-08}}</ref><ref name="L4Dreview-IGN" /> [[Gamespy]] noted the lack of an overall narrative between the campaigns was disappointing.<ref name="L4Dreview360-Gamespy">{{cite web |url=http://xbox360.gamespy.com/xbox-360/left-4-dead/930843p1.html |title=Left 4 Dead Review |last=Tuttle |first=Will |date=2008-11-17 |publisher=[[GameSpy]] |accessdate=2008-11-18}}</ref> However, some reviewers praised its faithfulness to the [[zombies in popular culture|zombie film genre]],<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Review |publisher=Examiner.com |url=http://theexplodingbarrel.com/?p=2094 |date=2008-11-17 |quote=''First and foremost, it's probably the most faithful video incarnation of the zombie genre that fans have ever been treated to. Yes, even better than Resident Evil 4'' |accessdate=2008-11-23}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Review |publisher=[[Game Informer]] |url=http://www.gameinformer.com/Games/Review/200901/R08.1118.1603.13328.htm |date=2008-11-17 |quote=''The amazing level designs will remind you of every zombie movie ever made'' |accessdate=2008-11-23}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |title=Eight Hands-on: Left 4 Dead Impressions |publisher=Rock, Paper, Shotgun |url=http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/11/04/eight-hands-on-left-4-dead-impressions/ |date=2008-11-04 |quote=''Over breakfast yesterday&nbsp;– before playing&nbsp;– we were talking about different takes on the zombie game that we'd like to see. One which didn't come up is one which Left 4 Dead grasps completely&nbsp;– its inherent perverseness. Now, it's a constant internet thing to discuss what you'd do in a Zombie Invasion, the implication being that you're smarter than anyone else. Which is fine... but that's not how the genre works'' |accessdate=2008-11-23}}</ref> including the "deliberately ambiguous" back-story,<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Preview |publisher=Game.co.uk |url=http://www.game.co.uk/lowdown.aspx?lid=10067 |date=2008-10-15 |quote=''As with the best horror flicks, the back-story is left deliberately ambiguous'' |accessdate=2008-11-26}}</ref> and the amount of characterization and emotion brought by each of the four survivors.<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, and Valve |publisher=ign.com |url=http://uk.pc.ign.com/articles/936/936221p1.html |date=2008-12-05 |quote=''Yet it also features four distinct survivors who convey an incredible amount of emotion through their facial animations and the rich amount of voice acting. There's Bill, the grizzled old veteran; Francis, the tough biker; Louis, the everyday dude; and Zoey, the college girl. They're so memorable that you can hear their voices in your mind as clear as day'' |accessdate=2008-11-26}}</ref> [[TeamXbox]] commented that [[clipping (computer graphics)|clipping]] issues hurt the otherwise "incredibly good" visual experience.<ref name="L4Dreview360-Teamxbox">{{cite web |url=http://reviews.teamxbox.com/xbox-360/1622/Left-4-Dead/p1/ |title=Left 4 Dead Review (Xbox 360) |last=Eddy |first=Andy |date=2008-11-17 |quote=''The motion-capture animation that makes up the varied zombie behavior is incredibly good, with the visuals peaking when a rushing gray-black mass of zombies are climbing up, over and through the terrain to get at you(...) On the other hand, it's irritating when you come into a room and see an enraged zombie clipping through from the other side of a wall or door'' |publisher=[[TeamXbox]] |accessdate=2008-11-18}}</ref> [[Hideo Kojima]], creator of the [[Metal Gear (series)|''Metal Gear'' series]] declared in an interview to [[1UP.com]] that he was "addicted to the game", which was, in his view, one of the "core titles made with movie-industry people that explore the depths of hi-def".<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3172266 |title=Kojima: "Maybe I Should Quit Being Japanese" |last=Kojima |first=Hideo |quote=''There are games everyone can play -- maybe calling them 'kids' games' would be inappropriate -- but there's also a deep base of core titles made with movie-industry people that explore the depths of hi-def. I'm addicted to Left 4 Dead right now, but people say to me that that game would never work in Japan.'' |date=2009-01-14 |publisher=[[1UP.com]] |accessdate=2009-01-19}}</ref>
   
  +
===Sales===
On October 28, 2008, Valve reported that preorders for ''Left 4 Dead'' had beaten those of ''[[The Orange Box]]'' by 95% after the Steam pre-order was launched.<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/55618|title=Left 4 Dead Midnight Launch Chatty Left 4 Dead Tops Orange Box Pre-orders by 95%, Valve Launches New Contest|last=Breckon|first=Nick|date=2008-10-28|publisher=[[Shacknews]]|accessdate=2008-11-18}}</ref>. On November 21, 2008, the day of the games release in Europe Valve issued a press release stating in total Left 4 Dead had exceeded the pre-order numbers of the Orange Box by 160%<ref>{{cite web|url=http://store.steampowered.com/news/2052/|title=Left 4 Dead Available at Retail Worldwide|date=2008-10-28|publisher=[[Valve_Corporation]]|accessdate=2008-11-32}}</ref>.
 
  +
On October 28, 2008, Valve reported that preorders for ''Left 4 Dead'' had beaten those of ''[[The Orange Box]]'' by 95 percent after the Steam pre-order was launched.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/55618 |title=Left 4 Dead Midnight Launch Chatty Left 4 Dead Tops Orange Box Pre-orders by 95%, Valve Launches New Contest |last=Breckon |first=Nick |date=2008-10-28 |publisher=[[Shacknews]] |accessdate=2008-11-18}}</ref> On November 21, 2008, the day of the game's release in Europe, Valve issued a press release stating that ''Left 4 Dead'' had exceeded the pre-order numbers of ''[[The Orange Box]]'' by over 160 percent.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://store.steampowered.com/news/2052/ |title=Left 4 Dead Available at Retail Worldwide |date=2008-10-28 |publisher=[[Valve Corporation]] |accessdate=2008-12-14}}</ref> The Xbox 360 version of ''Left 4 Dead'' was the seventh best-selling game of December 2008 in the United States, selling in excess of 629,000 copies.<ref name="gamedaily">{{cite web |title=NPD: Nintendo Drives '08 Industry Sales Past $21 Billion |url=http://www.gamedaily.com/articles/news/npd-nintendo-drives-08-industry-sales-past-21-billion-/?biz=1 |publisher=[[Game Daily]] |accessdate=2009-01-15 |date=2009-01-15}}</ref> On February 3, Electronic Arts revealed that ''Left 4 Dead'' had sold 1.8 million copies, excluding Steam and worldwide sales figures.<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Sells 1.8 Million at Retail |url=http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/57074 |publisher=[[Shacknews]] |accessdate=2009-02-07 |date=2009-02-03 |accessdate=2009-02-08}}</ref> On March 26, Mike Booth revealed that the game had exceeded 2.5 million sales at retail during a presentation at the Game Developers Conference 2009.<ref>{{cite web |title=Left 4 Dead Hits 2.5 Million Sold at Retail |url=http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/57883 |last=Faylor |first=Chris |publisher=[[Shacknews]] |accessdate=2009-03-26 |date=2009-03-26 |accessdate=2009-02-08}}</ref> On September 24, 2009, Valve announced that almost 3 million copies of the game had been sold.<ref>[http://store.steampowered.com/news/2858/ Left 4 Dead Crash Course Available Sept 29 - L4D1 DLC2 Expands Award-Winning Game]</ref>
</div>
 
  +
  +
===Awards===
  +
''Left 4 Dead'' received recognition as one of the best multiplayer and PC games of 2008 from various organizations and gaming publications. The game was named the Best Multiplayer Game of 2008 by [[IGN]],<ref>{{cite web |url=http://bestof.ign.com/2008/pc/18.html |title=IGN PC: Best Multiplayer Game 2008 |publisher=IGN |accessdate=2008-12-20}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=http://bestof.ign.com/2008/xbox360/18.html |title=IGN 360: Best Online Multiplayer Game 2008 |publisher=IGN |accessdate=2008-12-20}}</ref> [[GameSpy]],<ref>{{cite web |url=http://goty.gamespy.com/2008/multiplayer/10.html |title=Gamespy&nbsp;— Multiplayer Top 10 |publisher=[[Gamespy]] |accessdate=2008-12-20}}</ref> [[Spike TV]],<ref>{{cite web |url=http://news.bigdownload.com/2008/12/15/left-4-dead-wins-best-pc-game-at-spikes-video-game-awards/ |title=Left 4 Dead wins Best PC Game at Spike's Video Game Awards |last=Callaham |first=John |date=2008-12-15 |publisher=[[Game Daily]] |accessdate=2008-12-16}}</ref> [[NoFrag]]<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.nofrag.com/2008/dec/28/ |title=NoFrag : Left 4 Dead élu FPSOTY 2008 |date=2008-12-28 |publisher=[[NoFrag]] |accessdate=2009-01-05}}</ref> and [[BAFTA]];<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.bafta.org/awards/video-games/nominations,664,BA.html |title=BAFTA Video Game Awards List of Nominations and Winners |date=2009-03-10 |publisher=[[British Academy of Film and Television Arts]] |accessdate=2009-03-10}}</ref> and as the Computer Game of the Year by the [[Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences|Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS)]],<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.interactive.org/awards/annual_awards.asp?idAward=2009 |title=AIAS ANNUAL AWARDS > 12TH ANNUAL AWARDS |date=2009-02-19 |publisher=[[Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences]] |accessdate=2009-02-21}}</ref> Spike TV, and [[Bit-tech]].<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.bit-tech.net/gaming/2008/12/29/top-10-pc-games-of-the-year-2008/7 |title=Game of the Year&nbsp;– Left 4 Dead |publisher=[[Bit-tech]] |accessdate=2009-01-10}}</ref> Other awards include Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay from the AIAS, Best Use of Sound for the PC<ref>{{cite web |url=http://bestof.ign.com/2008/pc/14.html |title=IGN PC: Best Use of Sound 2008 |publisher=IGN |accessdate=2008-12-20}}</ref> and Best Shooting<ref>{{cite web |url=http://bestof.ign.com/2008/overall/8.html |title=IGN Overall: Best Shooter 2008 |publisher=IGN |accessdate=2009-02-12}}</ref> game overall from IGN, Father of All FPS from Nofrag, and the best Cooperative Multiplayer<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.gamespot.com/best-of/special-achievement/index.html?page=19 |title=Gamespot's Best Games of 2008: Best Cooperative Multiplayer |publisher=Gamespot |accessdate=2009-02-12}}</ref> and Shooter<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.gamespot.com/best-of/genre-awards/index.html?page=9 |title=Gamespot's Best Games of 2008: Best Shooting Games |publisher=Gamespot |accessdate=2009-02-12}}</ref> of 2008 from [[GameSpot]] who also nominated it for Game of the Year.
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==See also==
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* [[List of undead-themed video games]]
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* [[Left 4 Dead 2]]
   
 
==References==
 
==References==
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==External links==
{{Wikipedia-info}}
 
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* [http://www.l4d.com/ ''Left 4 Dead'' official website]
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* [http://store.steampowered.com/app/500/ ''Left 4 Dead''] on [[Steam (content delivery)|Steam]]
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* [http://left4dead.gamepedia.com/Left_4_Dead_Wiki Left 4 Dead Wiki]
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Revision as of 20:24, 16 September 2010


Left 4 Dead is a cooperative first-person shooter video game. It was developed by Turtle Rock Studios, which was purchased by Valve Corporation during development. The game uses Valve's proprietary Source engine, and is available for Windows and the Xbox 360. Development on the game was completed on November 13, 2008 and was released digitally on November 17, 2008 and at retail on November 18, 2008 in North America, In Australia on November 18, 2008 and on November 21, 2008 in Europe and Japan.

Set during the aftermath of an apocalyptic pandemic, the game pits its four protagonists—dubbed the "Survivors"—against hordes of the infected. There are four game modes: a single-player mode in which allied characters are controlled by AI; a four-player, co-op campaign mode; an eight-player online versus mode; and a four-player survival mode. In all modes, an artificial intelligence (AI), dubbed the "Director", controls level pacing and item placements, in an attempt to create a dynamic experience and increase replay value.

Left 4 Dead was well received by the industry media upon its release, with praise given for its replay value, focus on cooperative play, and movie-like experience. Several criticisms were aimed at limited level selection and the lack of a narrative. The game has won several publication awards, as well as distinctions from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and British Academy of Film and Television Arts. As was done with Team Fortress 2, Valve plans on supplementing the game with free downloadable content. The first of these, called the "Survival Pack", was released on April 21, 2009. The second piece of DLC was charged for via Xbox Live and came in the form of a new Campaign entitled "Crash Course," released for both the PC and Xbox 360 on September 29, 2009. The popularity of the game led to the development of a sequel, Left 4 Dead 2, which was released November 17, 2009. Left 4 Dead will be brought to Mac OS X along with other Valve games in mid-2010, allowing for cross-platform support between PC and Mac versions.

Plot

Left 4 Dead begins in Pennsylvania, following an outbreak of so-called "Green Flu", a highly contagious virus causing extreme aggression and loss of higher brain functions.

Two weeks after the infection of Patient Zero, four immune survivors of the outbreak (Francis, Zoey, Bill, and Louis) make their way through the city of Fairfield, only to discover that the virus is creating new, even more dangerous mutations. After narrowly avoiding these new infected, along with hordes of others, the survivors are alerted to the presence of an evacuation point at the nearby Mercy Hospital by a passing news helicopter. Fighting their way through the city's streets, subway and sewers, the survivors are rescued from the hospital's roof by the pilot, only to discover that he is succumbing to the infection. ("No Mercy") With Zoey forced to kill the pilot, the helicopter crash lands in an industrial district outside the city. Finding a delivery truck that has been armored by other survivors, the group decides to use it to make their way to the town of Riverside ("Crash Course"). Before arriving in the town however, they find the road blocked, and are forced to travel the rest of the way on foot. Following an encounter with an infected madman in the local church, they discover that the town is overrun, and decide to head to a nearby boathouse for possible rescue. Contacting a small fishing vessel, they manage to reach the city of Newburg on the other side of the river, only to find much of it in flames ("Death Toll").

Seeking cover in a large greenhouse, their rest is interrupted when a military C-130 Hercules passes overhead, leading the survivors to travel through the city's business district towards Metro International Airport. Upon arrival, the group is shocked to see that in an attempt to contain the infection, the military had bombed the airport; the runway however is largely intact, allowing the survivors to fuel up and escape in the waiting C-130 ("Dead Air"). Despite this apparent rescue, the survivors once again find themselves alone on the outskirts of Allegheny National Forest. Following a series of train tracks through the area, the group find themselves at a functioning, but abandoned, military outpost. After answering a radio transmission, the survivors make their final stand against hordes of infected, before a military APC arrives to transport them to Northeast Safe Zone, supposedly the only location in the area yet to be overrun ("Blood Harvest"). The survivors then spend the next week travelling south, eventually ending up in the town of Rayford, where an encounter with the infected results in Louis being injured, and Bill sacrificing himself in order to allow the others to escape to safety ("The Sacrifice", still to be released).

Gameplay

File:Left 4 Dead screenshot.jpg

In Left 4 Dead, the four survivors must fight off infected humans while trying to escape or make their way to a safe house.

Left 4 Dead is a first-person shooter. In campaign mode, the player takes control of one of the survivors; if four human players are not available, then the remaining survivors are AI-controlled bots. They play through the levels fighting off the infected—living humans who have been infected with a rabies-like virus that causes psychosis, to which the survivors are immune.[3][4]

The game is focused on cooperation and team play and thus eshews some "realism" conventions usual in most FPS games of the wider genre; colored outlines of teammates are visible through walls to help players stick together and coordinate their movement. If a survivor falls off a ledge, then they may automatically hang onto it and can only be helped up by another survivor. If a survivor's health is depleted, then they become incapacitated and can only be revived by another survivor, at which point they continue playing with a low amount of health that decreases over time. If a survivor has been incapacitated and revived twice without tending to their wounds, then they will experience distorted black-and-white vision, and the next incapacitation will kill the character. If a survivor takes enough damage while incapacitated, or is not eventually helped up by teammates, then the incapacitated character will die. During "Campaign" mode, if a survivor is killed, then they will respawn in a closet or other enclosed space after a period of time (except during key points in the scenario), but must be freed by another survivor to rejoin the team. Otherwise, the player must wait until the next level.[5] However, if all human player survivors are killed or incapacitated, players will have to restart from the last checkpoint. Survivors can share first-aid kits and pain pills and help each other heal. Left 4 Dead has friendly fire that cannot be disabled, increasing the need for caution around other survivors. On the easy difficulty level, friendly fire does not harm teammates but still registers as having occurred with a notice on the screen saying, "Don't shoot teammates!"

The survivors communicate by voice commands that are accessed by quick menus, and some may sound off automatically when performing actions such as reloading or spotting infected.[6] Over 1,000 unique lines have been recorded for each survivor.[7] Additional communication of player actions is conveyed through character lights. Also, weapon-mounted flashlights and muzzle flashes help the players in determining whether their companions are shooting, performing melee attacks, reloading or moving. Due to control issues and the likelihood of players using a LIVE headset, the Xbox 360 version of Left 4 Dead omits the quick phrases feature.[8]

The game is experienced through five campaigns that take place in various urban and rural locales. Multiple visual in-game hints—including license plates, park signs, markings on airport equipment, and lines of dialogue spoken by the survivors—suggest that these locations are in Pennsylvania,[9] and similarly a memorial wall giving names of those who have died in the infection (actually names of the game's development team) along with their dates of birth and death suggests that the game takes place in October 2009.[10] Each campaign is divided into five chapters (except Crash Course, which has two chapters) marked by safe rooms, which are checkpoints where players can heal, re-arm and revive characters who were killed.[11] Specifically, the four campaigns are: "No Mercy", an urban setting culminating in a hospital skyscraper; "Death Toll", a small-town and countryside setting; "Dead Air", an airport setting; and "Blood Harvest", a woodland and farm setting. A two-level campaign, "Crash Course", was released on September 29, and is set in the outskirts of a small industrial town. The levels have distinct beginnings and ends, but there are a number of alternate routes to follow with more supplies, helping to create a sense of non-linearity.[12] In the final chapter of each campaign, the players must defend a position from an onslaught of infected until rescue arrives.[7] Each campaign typically lasts between 20 and 75 minutes depending on the difficulty level. Both platform versions of the game utilize an achievement system.[13]

Survivor characters

File:Left 4 Dead Revised Cast.jpg

The final design of the survivors, shown on the poster for the "No Mercy" campaign. Left to right: Francis, Bill, Zoey, Louis

There are four playable human characters in the game:[14] Francis, a stereotypical biker (voiced by Vince Valenzuela); Bill, a Vietnam Veteran (voiced by Jim French); Zoey, a university student (voiced by Jen Taylor); and Louis, an electronics salesman (voiced by Earl Alexander).[15] Early plans were for players to be randomly assigned to characters but in the final release, players can choose any character—provided that the character has not already been selected—or be randomly assigned an unselected character.[7] Aside from appearances, all of the characters have identical abilities in-game.

Weapons

Survivors are armed with various firearms. Each player starts the game with an M1911 pistol.[16] It may be reloaded an unlimited number of times and is the only weapon that the survivor can use when they are incapacitated. When a second pistol is found, the player can dual wield them. At the beginning of each campaign, the player can choose between an Uzi submachine gun and a pump-action shotgun. As the survivors progress through a campaign, more powerful weapons can be found: the fully automatic M16A3 assault rifle (an upgrade to the Uzi), Benelli M4 Super 90 semi-automatic shotgun (an upgrade to the pump-action shotgun), and a scoped Ruger Mini-14 hunting rifle. A flashlight that can be toggled on and off is mounted on each firearm, with the exception of additional pistols. In addition to firearms, a player can also carry three other items in their inventory: improvised grenades (either a Molotov cocktail or a pipe bomb modified with an attached smoke alarm designed to attract the infected to it before it explodes);[16] a first aid kit, which can be used to heal any survivor and pain pills, which provide temporary health that depletes gradually and quicker with damage from infected, and can be handed to teammates for later use. Regardless of what weapon or item a player is using, a melee attack can be used to shove away any infected within reach. Also available are environmental weapons, such as gas cans, propane cylinders, and oxygen tanks, all of which explode when shot. These environmental weapons can be picked up, moved, and used as a melee weapon by the survivors, but while carrying an object they cannot use their weapons or health items. Strategically-placed minigun turrets are also encountered at various locations throughout the different maps.

Infected characters

The infected (voiced by experimental musician Mike Patton and voice actor Fred Tatasciore)[17] are the survivors' foes in Left 4 Dead, and they appear to be partly inspired by the infected from several modern films, including Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, or Quarantine.[18][19] An important distinction from the former is that while the infected do resemble traditional undead zombies, they are, as cited in the game's manual, living humans infected with a rabies-like pathogen, very much like the infected in the latter film. While they are never seen eating human flesh or brains (although multiple 'survivors' who have been killed by the infected appear throughout the game, and appear to have been partially eaten. One such victim can be heard saying "I can't believe he bit me!" before being encountered later on, fully infected.), the manner in which they are portrayed is meant to create and sustain a more brutal, believable reality for the player to become immersed in. In an interview with 1Up.com, Mike Booth commented on the concept of using a pathogen as an inspiration for the setting:

Even though we obviously pushed well beyond the realm of believability with many of our "boss" infected, the core idea of a mind-destroying, civilization-collapsing pathogen is more horrifying to me than magically animated corpses, precisely because it is plausible. Rabies is a good example of a pathogen that can turn a loyal, friendly, protective family pet into a slavering attack machine. It's a virus that reprograms the behaviors of a complex animal – a mammal, in fact. What if something similar happened to humans? Left 4 Dead is one possible answer.[3]

The common infected encountered during the game are fast and agile, weak individually, but may be overwhelming in numbers. They display a special attraction to high-pitched alarm-type sounds, such as the beeping device attached to pipe bombs and car alarms. Common infected will often chase down the source of these noises while ignoring lower-pitched, but much louder sounds such as gunfire. They occasionally attack in masses referred to in-game as a "horde".[20]

In addition to the common infected, there are five "special" or "boss" infected whose mutations grant them special attacks that make them far more dangerous. Each of the special infected, as well as approaching hordes, have a distinctive sound or a timely musical cue, making their presence easily recognizable by players. There are five special infected in Left 4 Dead.[21] The Boomer is a bloated infected that can spit vision-impairing bile on the Survivors that attract hordes of infected, and explodes on death, spewing more bile in the immediate area. The Hunter is an agile foe that can jump and pounce on a Survivor, and then tear at his victim until he is knocked off or killed. The Smoker has a long tongue that he can use to ensnare a Survivor and then drag him back to himself, either attacking the Survivor directly, allowing the horde to attack the Survivor, or leaving the Survivor suspended over a cliff or roof edge; the Smoker only releases its victim if the tongue is shot or on death, at which point it dies in a burst of vision-clouding smoke for a brief period. The Tank is a gigantic muscular infected that has the ability to swipe at Survivors, knocking them off their feet and incapacitating them; it can also knock cars and other debris into the Survivors. The Witch is a passive female infected that stays in a spot, crying; Survivors can sneak by the Witch, but if they should disturb her with light or loud noises, she will become aggressive and attack the Survivor that alerted her, usually incapacitating the Survivor and attacking him until she or the Survivor is killed. Each of these special infected is preluded to players through special audio cues; for example, the Witch's cries or the Smoker's coughs can be heard before they are seen, while certain musical cues will alert the players to the presence of a Hunter in the area.

One special infected did not make it into the game. The "Screamer" was an infected strapped in a straitjacket and let out a loud, high-pitched scream when it sighted the survivors, thus forcing the survivors to find and kill it before it screamed, resulting in a horde of common infected. However, it ended up being too difficult for players to figure out where the Screamer came from or where it was going or even understand that they were meant to chase it. Because of the confusion, it was replaced by the Boomer.

In versus mode, four additional players can take control of the special infected—apart from the witch, who remains computer-controlled. Each infected player is randomly assigned a class of special infected when they enter a spawn mode. While in spawn mode, the infected can quickly roam around the map in search of an appropriate place in which to spawn. This location must be sufficiently distant from any survivor, out of the line of sight of any survivor, and outside restricted areas such as safe rooms. Upon death, the infected player must wait up to 10–25 seconds before reentering spawn mode, depending on how many players are on the infected team. When a tank is spawned in the game, infected players receive a message indicating which player will control it. The human-controlled infected can see their teammates' outlines through walls similar to the survivors, but can also see each survivor's outline, which is colored according to the survivor's health and fades out if the survivor refrains from attacking, running and vocalizing. Vertical pathways exclusive to the infected, such as pipes and vines, are marked with animated symbols for the infected players. These can be climbed and used for ambushes.

AI and the Director

File:Left 4 Dead Director Intensity.jpg

In Left 4 Dead, the AI Director computes each player's "stress level" based on a variety of factors to better pace the game and provide a fair challenge.

The artificial intelligence of Left 4 Dead features a dynamic system for game dramatics, pacing and difficulty called the "Director". Instead of fixed spawn points for enemies, the Director places enemies and items in varying positions and quantities based upon each player's current situation, status, skill and location, creating a new experience for each playthrough.[7] The Director also creates mood and tension with emotional cues, such as visual effects, dynamic music, and character communication.[8]

Valve has termed this dynamic set-up "procedural narrative".[22] In addition to the AI Director, there is a second Director that controls music. It was created as a way to keep the music interesting throughout the game. The music Director monitors what a player has experienced to create an appropriate mix. The process is client-side and done by a multi-track system. Each player hears their own mix, which is being generated as they play through the game, and dead players watching a teammate hear their teammates' mix.[23]

A far simpler version of the A.I. Director was previously used for some key battles in Half-Life 2: Episode Two.[24]

Valve is looking for ways to apply the Director in their future games to make pacing and difficulty more dynamic.[25]

Game modes

Left 4 Dead contains four game modes: campaign, versus, survival, and single-player. The cooperative campaign consists of up to four human-controlled survivors who attempt to make their way between safe rooms and eventually to rescue. In this mode, the special infected are controlled by the AI. In a versus campaign, each team of one to four players plays each chapter of the campaign as both survivor and infected, swapping sides once per chapter.[26] Unlike campaign mode, dead survivors do not respawn. If at least one player-controlled survivor finishes the level, the survivor team earns 100 points as well as bonus points based on their health and the health items in their inventory. These points are then multiplied by the chapter's difficulty level, and the number of survivors who finished. If all player-controlled survivors are killed, the survivor team only earns points according to their average progress through the chapter and the difficulty multiplier.[27] Survival mode consists of a timed challenge where players try to survive as long as possible against a never-ending flood of the infected, added in April 2009 in the Survival Pack downloadable content.[28] Single-player mode is basically the same as campaign mode, but played offline with three AI-controlled bots as the other survivors. On Xbox 360, other players can join in on the same console to turn single player into an offline co-op game. The game can also be played through a system link, or local area network. Players have also discovered a way to do splitscreen co-op play with the PC version.

Production

File:L4DP.jpg

The original design of the survivors. Left to right: Louis, Francis, Zoey, Bill

Development on Left 4 Dead started in mid-2005.[29] Turtle Rock Studios aimed to create a horror film-inspired game that merges single player games' character-driven narrative structure with multiplayer games' social interaction and high replayability.[8] The game was first revealed in the Christmas 2006 publication of PC Gamer UK with a six-page article describing a playthrough at Turtle Rock Studios headquarters. A teaser was released with The Orange Box. The game was first playable at the Showdown 2007 LAN in San Jose and at QuakeCon 2007. Turtle Rock Studios announced Left 4 Dead on November 20, 2006,[30] and was acquired by Valve Corporation on January 10, 2008, because of the game and long-standing relationship between the companies.[31] The game opened up to pre-purchasing on Valve's Steam system on October 15, 2008.[32]

To give Left 4 Dead significant exposure, Valve financed a $10-million marketing campaign for the game in the United States and Europe, with advertisements appearing on television, print, websites and outdoor placements in many cities. Valve also hosted photo contests called, "Dude, where's my thumb?" offering copies of Left 4 Dead to people who submitted the best picture involving zombies or the outdoor advertising.[33]

Development

Left 4 Dead uses the latest version of Valve's Source engine, with improvements such as multi-core processor support and physics-based animation to more realistically portray hair and clothing, and to improve physics interaction with enemies when shot or shoved in different body parts.[34] Animation was also improved to allow characters to lean realistically when moving in curved paths. Rendering and artificial intelligence were scaled up to allow for a greater number of enemies who can navigate the world in better ways, such as climbing, jumping, or breaking obstacles.[35][36] Lighting was enhanced with new self-shadowing normal mapping and advanced shadow rendering that is important to convey information about the environment and player actions.[8][37] Wet surfaces and fog are used to create mood.[38][39] Many kinds of post processing cinematic visual effects inspired by horror movies have been added to the game. There is dynamic color correction that accentuates details based on importance, contrast and sharpening to focus attention on critical areas, film grain to expose details or imply details in dark areas and vignetting to evoke tension and a horror-film look.[8]

File:L4d filmic.jpg

Before and after the application of cinematic effects

Left 4 Dead underwent many phases of development; influenced by playtesting, Turtle Rock Studios removed many of the features that were originally in the game. In the initial phases, there was another special infected, called the "screamer", which had no attacks but upon spotting a survivor would run to a safe place and then emit a loud scream that attracted a horde of infected. This infected class was removed, but its ability to attract the horde was incorporated into the boomer's vomit.[40] A persistent merit/demerit system was envisioned to provide positive feedback for good behavior, such as aiding a fallen teammate; and negative feedback for poor behavior, such as shooting a teammate. This would provide a score to rank a player's effectiveness as a teammate,[41] but this system was removed late in the development of the game in favor of immediate, non-persistent feedback displayed in-game. Another significant element removed was a long introduction between campaigns; because the game is designed for replayability, it was difficult to hold the player's attention for repeated viewings of cut scenes, so they were dropped in favor of a sparse narrative.[42] Also, the game started out with one big city design with many routes for the survivors, but playtesters were confused when they began to play, and later they always chose the same route; ultimately Turtle Rock Studios cut the city maps into the first "No Mercy" and "Dead Air" campaigns.[43]

Certain Affinity assisted Turtle Rock Studios with the Xbox 360 version of the game.[44] The Xbox 360 version of Left 4 Dead has the same game modes as the PC version but has additional features such as support for Split screen, allowing for two players to play offline and online from the same console,[45] and System Link play.[46] Split-screen mode can also be achieved on the PC version, but it requires console commands and may require the modification of controller configuration files; and it is not officially supported.[47] Both versions of the game have a new matchmaking system to simplify the process of finding other players.[8][48] This new server management system was met with a negative reaction from PC server operators, who, with this system, had very little control over their servers. This led to Valve releasing a series of patches that allowed server operators to remove their server from the matchmaking "pool" of servers or make private servers.[49] Valve runs dedicated servers for both versions of the game.[45][50]

Promotion

To promote the game and provide basic training to players before starting the game, Valve chose to develop a pre-rendered intro movie. This movie was released on Halloween[51] and shows events prior to the beginning of the "No Mercy" campaign.[52] Valve chose an intro movie over in-game training mechanics because they wanted the players to be immediately dropped into a zombie apocalypse. Valve later detailed in their official Left 4 Dead blog how they designed the movie, from an intentionally very basic animation in the beginning of July 2008 to the final result for the launch of the game.[52]

Early access to the Left 4 Dead demo for people who pre-ordered the game began on November 6, 2008, for both Windows and Xbox 360. It gave users access to both online and single-player play in two "scenes" in one "movie" within the game. This promotion was being offered in addition to the ten percent savings for those who pre-order and applies to all Steam Windows pre-orders and all Windows and Xbox 360 pre-orders from GameStop and EB Games in North America.[53] On November 11, the Left 4 Dead demo was made available to all Windows and Xbox 360 gamers worldwide.[54] The Left 4 Dead demo was removed from the Xbox 360 Marketplace and Valve's own Steam after the game's release on November 18, 2008, however it is still available for those that played it.

The demo had many server problems when it launched, primarily Valve's strategy for server management which made it impossible to set up a dedicated private server with administrator controls.[55] However, a stream of patches led to the availability of a server browser and basic private server functionality as well as Valve's acknowledgment of player concerns.[55] It appears that a patch released just before the game itself has resolved many of the connection issues that demo players were having.[56]

On May 1, 2009, the game was released freely via Steam as a one-day trial called "Freaky Free Friday". The trial was then extended to end on Saturday.[57]

Release

Left 4 Dead went gold on November 13, 2008, and was released on November 18, 2008, in North America; and on November 21, 2008, in Europe to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the release of Half-Life.[58][59]

Valve released a server patch in December 2008 to stop players on Xbox Live from using PC-style cheats.[60] A spokesperson from Valve said, "The fix is designed to halt the cheating behavior on the dedicated servers, which accounts for the majority of the co-op and versus modes of play."[61]

After release

Valve intends to support the PC version of the game through free content updates and the Xbox 360 version with DLC [62] On a podcast by Kotaku, writer Chet Faliszek divulged that an announcement regarding DLC for the PC and Xbox 360 would be released "very soon", and that the announcement was delayed by the holiday season. On February 5, 2009, Valve released details about the upcoming downloadable content pack. The two full campaigns of "Death Toll" and "Dead Air" for versus mode—which were previously unavailable—are included, as well as the survival game mode, where the survivors try to survive endless waves of the infected for as long as possible. On February 11, 2009, Valve announced that the downloadable content for the game would be free for both the Xbox 360 and PC;[63] and on April 21, it was released.[64] Survival mode shipped with 16 maps, 15 of them being modified portions of existing maps and one being a new lighthouse-themed level titled "The Last Stand".[28] A Game Of the Year Edition of Left 4 Dead was released on the PC and Xbox 360 on May 12, 2009 with updates and new content included on the disc.[65]

On May 15, 2009 an open beta test for the Source Development Kit updated to support Left 4 Dead was started under the name of the "Left 4 Dead Authoring tools". This included a new set of plugins that allowed for users to import data from SketchUp, a free 3D modeling program, directly into the Hammer level editor for use in maps.[66] The beta was concluded on June 25, 2009 with the full release of the Left 4 Dead authoring tools and corresponding server and matchmaking update to support custom maps. The update included a command line tool for packaging custom Left 4 Dead campaigns to ease distribution.[67]

A sequel, Left 4 Dead 2, was announced at the 2009 E3 conference and was released November 17, 2009.[68] Addressing concerns voiced by fans, Gabe Newell responded to an email from Kotaku explaining that despite the upcoming sequel, Left 4 Dead would continue to be supported and more content is planned in the coming months.[69]

On August 4, 2009, Valve announced the second DLC pack. It contains a new campaign called Crash Course, set shortly after the events of the No Mercy campaign, where the Survivors try to get to a Truck Depot after the helicopter they were in crashed. It is available for co-op, versus and survival modes, with various tweaks to game mechanics, and containing new locations and character dialog.[70][71][72] The DLC was announced to be released on September 29, 2009,[73] on which date it was released for free for PC, but was accidentally released on Xbox Live for 800 Microsoft Points instead of the previously announced price of 560 Microsoft Points. The price was amended soon after, and all players who bought the DLC for 800 points were refunded 240 points.[74]

On November 9, 2009, a matchmaking update to allow for matchmaking between teams of four players in versus mode was released.[75][76]

An add-on campaign for Left 4 Dead 2, "The Passing", featured the Left 4 Dead survivors meeting the new cast as part of a full campaign. The Left 4 Dead 2 content was set for release in March 2010, however it was delayed until April 22, 2010. To connect the events in "The Passing" to that in Left 4 Dead, Valve will release another add-on in October 2010 for both Left 4 Dead and its sequel, entitled "The Sacrifice"; the events of that add-on take place before "The Passing" and tells how the Left 4 Dead survivors come to encounter the group from Left 4 Dead 2, and how one will sacrifice themselves for the safety of the others.[77][78][79]

Valve also announced a 190 page digital comic that will be revealed in four parts in the weeks leading up to the release of The Sacrifice.[80] Part one was released on September 14 2010,[81] with the next three parts scheduled for release each Tuesday until The Sacrifice's October 5 release.[82] The comic is illustrated by Mike Oeming, the artist behind the Powers comic series,[83] and tells the stories of the original four survivors, as well as the events leading up to the infection. The comic begins with Bill, having just sacrificed himself to save the others, taking on three tanks while severly wounded. It then cuts to the finale of Blood Harvest, which is revealed to be one week earlier. In The Sacrifice DLC, any player, whether playing as Bill or not, can choose to sacrifice themself to allow the other survivors to complete the campaign.

In March 2010, Valve announced that it would be bringing the Steam content platform to Mac OS X computers; along with it, they will be providing native versions of existing Valve games including Left 4 Dead and its sequel. The games will support cross-platform play, allowing Mac players to play alongside PC players on the same servers, and will also be part of its "Steam Play" cross-compatible and Steam Cloud titles, allowing a player that has purchased the game on one platform to download and play it on the other platform for free.[84] The Mac OS X client is expected to be available by October 2010.[77]

Reception

 Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Giant Bomb 4/5[85]

Critical reception

Left 4 Dead received mostly positive praise from critics and universal praise from public community mostly from Metacritic,[95] with an aggregated score of 89 percent on Game Rankings and 89 percent on Metacritic. IGN stated, "It's almost pitch perfect in how it captures the tension and the action of a Hollywood zombie movie", and went on to describe it as, "quite possibly the perfect co-op shooter."[93] Giant Bomb commented that the Source engine was beginning to show its age, but praised the game's use of lighting and filmic effects that gives the game world, "a desolate, washed-out feeling", as well as the realistic and emotive faces and the engrossing art direction.[85] Eurogamer concluded that Left 4 Dead "is another deeply professional, personality-filled and progressive take on the shooter from Valve."[91] Both IGN and Gamespot praised the game's replayability, but Gamespot criticized the "limited map selection" that could "sometimes feel a bit repetitious".[26][93] Gamespy noted the lack of an overall narrative between the campaigns was disappointing.[92] However, some reviewers praised its faithfulness to the zombie film genre,[96][97][98] including the "deliberately ambiguous" back-story,[99] and the amount of characterization and emotion brought by each of the four survivors.[100] TeamXbox commented that clipping issues hurt the otherwise "incredibly good" visual experience.[101] Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear series declared in an interview to 1UP.com that he was "addicted to the game", which was, in his view, one of the "core titles made with movie-industry people that explore the depths of hi-def".[102]

Sales

On October 28, 2008, Valve reported that preorders for Left 4 Dead had beaten those of The Orange Box by 95 percent after the Steam pre-order was launched.[103] On November 21, 2008, the day of the game's release in Europe, Valve issued a press release stating that Left 4 Dead had exceeded the pre-order numbers of The Orange Box by over 160 percent.[104] The Xbox 360 version of Left 4 Dead was the seventh best-selling game of December 2008 in the United States, selling in excess of 629,000 copies.[105] On February 3, Electronic Arts revealed that Left 4 Dead had sold 1.8 million copies, excluding Steam and worldwide sales figures.[106] On March 26, Mike Booth revealed that the game had exceeded 2.5 million sales at retail during a presentation at the Game Developers Conference 2009.[107] On September 24, 2009, Valve announced that almost 3 million copies of the game had been sold.[108]

Awards

Left 4 Dead received recognition as one of the best multiplayer and PC games of 2008 from various organizations and gaming publications. The game was named the Best Multiplayer Game of 2008 by IGN,[109][110] GameSpy,[111] Spike TV,[112] NoFrag[113] and BAFTA;[114] and as the Computer Game of the Year by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS),[115] Spike TV, and Bit-tech.[116] Other awards include Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay from the AIAS, Best Use of Sound for the PC[117] and Best Shooting[118] game overall from IGN, Father of All FPS from Nofrag, and the best Cooperative Multiplayer[119] and Shooter[120] of 2008 from GameSpot who also nominated it for Game of the Year.

See also

References

  1. Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 Updates Released. Steam. Valve (2010-02-24). Retrieved on 2010-08-12
  2. BBFC rating of Left 4 Dead
  3. 3.0 3.1 Left 4 Dead Afterthoughts from 1UP.com. 1UP.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-23
  4. Left 4 Dead E3 2007 Preshow First Impressions. GameSpot (2007-07-11). Retrieved on 2008-11-21
  5. IGN Command Prompt Podcast, Episode 21. IGN (2008-08-14).
  6. Valve Corporation. Left 4 Dead. PC. Level/area: No Mercy: The Subway (developer commentary). (2008) "Elan Ruskin: Each survivor has a large database of lines to choose from based on their present activity and a variety of factors, such as their health, stress level, kind of special infected seen so far, and many others."
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Left 4 Dead Hands-on Preview – Survivor Side. Left 4 Dead 411. Retrieved on 2008-10-25
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Gabe Newell. (2008). EA E3 Presentation Video. [Video presentation]. Left 4 Dead 411. http://www.left4dead411.com/news/2008/07/ea-e3-presentation-video/. 
  9. Interview: Valve's Doug Lombardi. Joystiq (2009-07-03). Retrieved on 2009-07-14 “The things that are happening, all the shit that is hitting the fan and turning everyone into mutant zombies, has gone much bigger than just Pennsylvania, which is where the original game was loosely set.
  10. Valve Has Balls, Play With Them. Left 4 Dead 411 (2008-11-22). Retrieved on 2009-05-11
  11. Left 4 Dead Hands-on Previews. Shacknews (2008-01-17). Retrieved on 2008-10-25
  12. GameSpot Video: Left 4 Dead E3 2008 Stage Show Demo. GameSpot (2008-07-23). Retrieved on 2008-07-23
  13. Chan, Norman (2008-07-21). E3 2008: Left4Dead Interview. New Graphics, Weapons, and Steam Achievement Details. Maximum PC. Retrieved on 2008-10-26
  14. Linde, Aaron (2008-07-16). Left 4 Dead E3 Preview: New Characters, New Weapons, New Details. Shacknews. Retrieved on 2008-10-26
  15. Left 4 Dead Official Website. Valve Software. Retrieved on 2009-02-16
  16. 16.0 16.1 Left 4 Dead Information – FAQ. Left 4 Dead 411. Retrieved on 2008-10-26
  17. Left 4 Dead (2008) (VG). IMDB. Retrieved on 2009-05-14
  18. Ocampo, Jason (2008-11-17). Left 4 Dead Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-08-11 “Left 4 Dead is a game that venerates zombie movies throughout the ages, from George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead to Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later
  19. Rossignol, Jim (2006-12-12). Preview: Left 4 Dead. PC Gamer. Retrieved on 2009-01-20
  20. Left 4 Dead Guide: How to Identify a Zombie. Big Download (2008-12-02). Retrieved on 2008-12-10
  21. Left 4 Dead Guide. Valve. Retrieved on 2008-12-12
  22. Newell, Gabe (2008-11-21). Gabe Newell Writes for Edge. Edge. Retrieved on 2008-11-22 “The events are trying to give them a sense of narrative. We look at sequences of events and try to take what their actions are to generate new sequences. If they've been particularly challenged by one kind of creature then we can use that information to make decisions about how we use that creature in subsequent encounters. This is what makes procedural narrative more of a story-telling device than, say, a simple difficulty mechanism.
  23. Valve Corporation. Left 4 Dead. PC. Level/area: No Mercy (developer commentary). (2008) "Tim Larkin: We took several steps to keep the music interesting enough that the players would be inclined to keep it on as they play. We keep it changing so it won't become tedious; to this end, we created a music director that runs alongside the AI director, tracking the player's experience rather than their emotional state. We keep the music appropriate to each player's situation and highly personalized. The music engine in Left 4 Dead has a complete client-side, multi-track system per player that is completely unique to that player and can even be monitored by the spectators. Since some of the fun of Left 4 Dead is watching your friends when you're dead, we thought it was important to hear their personal soundtrack as well. This feature is unique to Left 4 Dead."
  24. Left 4 Dead 2 Interview. eurogamer.net (2009-07-03). Retrieved on 2009-07-05 “The AI director - I don't want to say it fell out of Half-Life 2, but it was definitely a jumping-off point of stuff we did in Half-Life 2, particularly Episode 2. There are a couple of key battles where the number of Combine, and where they come at you from, uses something like that. It's much cruder than what we accomplished with Left 4 Dead, but there was some of that there
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  34. Valve Corporation. Left 4 Dead. PC. Level/area: No Mercy: The Hospital (developer commentary). (2008) "Miles Estes: Since killing zombies is such a big part of this game, we invested a lot of time into making their death animations more dramatic than simple ragdolls. We had a professional stuntman on the motion capture stage perform about a hundred different dying animations from different kinds of weapons and hit from different directions, like from the front or behind. We then combined these mo-cap animations with the physics-driven ragdolls."
  35. Valve Corporation. Left 4 Dead. PC. Level/area: No Mercy: The Apartments (developer commentary). (2008) "Phil Robb: We treat the infected horde as a major character in Left 4 Dead, and spend a lot of effort in making their movements believable. This includes hundreds of motion-captured animations that are algorithmically blended with the physics system to create characters that realistically interact with their environment and each other. ... When they see a survivor, they become enraged, taking off at a full sprint, leaning into their turns, jumping and climbing over everything in their way, trying to get to their victim. We wanted to express this rage in their faces as well, so we found efficient ways for each member of the horde to make intense facial expressions."
  36. Valve Corporation. Left 4 Dead. PC. Level/area: No Mercy: The Subway (developer commentary). (2008) "Matt Campbell: Although it sounds ridiculous to talk about advanced zombie AI, we spent a great deal of time on the AI systems for the common horde. First and foremost is their ability to navigate. The environments in Left 4 Dead are geometrically complex, and littered with breakable and movable objects. One of the design goals for the zombie horde was that there can never be a place where a survivor can stand that a zombie cannot navigate to. To make this happen required not only robust path-finding code, but also path-following algorithms as well. These path followers have to continuously evaluate the local geometry around them, and decide whether to crouch, stand, jump, climb over, and otherwise navigate nearly-arbitrary environmental obstacles."
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External links

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