Left 4 Dead 2, Valve’s cooperative zombie shooter, has had to overcome two skeptical parties: the portion of Left 4 Dead players concerned that promised free content for the original game had been replaced with a rushed, full-price sequel, and Valve co-founder Gabe Newell.
“Gabe’s got a good amount of healthy skepticism about anything we do,” says Chet Faliszek. If Valve were the type of company to have job titles, Faliszek would be Left 4 Dead 2’s Writer-and-Lead-Designer-Type-Guy. “If we said we were going to do L4D2 in two years he still would have questioned it, but he’s not a micromanager. We laid out the plan, understood what we were doing, what we wanted to do in the Left 4 Dead world. He could see the passion in the room. The excitement over the project, it’s pretty easy to understand.”
Although now set in and around New Orleans, Left 4 Dead 2 has the same fundamental setup as the first game: four players working together to survive a zombie apocalypse. The similarity concerned some of the original game’s players, prompting an L4D2 boycott.
Chet explains it like this: “Different people had different concerns they wanted to share with us. One would be continued updating of L4D1, and we’ve got the new DLC coming out, Crash Course. On the L4D2 front, if you look at all we’ve been showing, it’s this giant, giant game.”
To find out how giant, we spoke to Chet about why he loves Left 4 Dead 2’s new survivors, what prompted the trip to the deep south, and why you absolutely need to have a chainsaw when you’re fighting zombies.
Be advised that there are some spoilers for the end of the ‘Dark Carnival’ campaign inside, so you may want to skip ahead when you come to the warning on the next page.