Valve's secret zombie shooter revealed

Tuesday 21 November 2006
The creator of terrorist shooter Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Turtle Rock Studios, is working on a brand new multiplayer PC game called Left 4 Dead, due for release in summer 2007, publisher Valve has revealed today.

A Counter Strike-esque co-op shooter, Left 4 Dead pits you and three friends against an impressively inventive and relentless horde of mutated nasties, with up to four rival players also able to join the ranks of the zombie menace. The game will use Valve's Source engine, and you can expect Left 4 Dead's gruesome world to be realised with glorious-looking grisly visuals.

The four human players - Survivors - will battle against an ever-increasing crowd of AI controlled enemies, with Left 4 Dead focusing on a need for skilfully performed teamwork as the numbers of zombified attackers threaten to overwhelm the humans. Your aim as a Survivor will be simple: escape. And if you can't rustle up enough buddies, the game's gifted AI will fill the numbers.

Above: Left 4 Dead's frenetic combat will see human players battling against seemingly impossible odds

But it's the possibilities of playing as the Infected horde, the ravenous zombie massive, that immediately promises an experience like no other. At a base level the ranks of Infected will be made up of AI controlled sprinting, vicious zombie-like beings, but the four players that join the undead cause can choose between a number of unsettling and violently innovative creature types.

Boomers, for instance, are hideously bloated mutants who belch evil streams of bile on to their victims, before exploding, Mr Creosote-style, in a shower of massively-damaging gibbage. Then there's the Hunter, which can leap between rooftops, scale walls and launch lightning attacks on straggling survivors before swiftly retreating, picking off the humans one by one.

The alien nature of these ghastly monsters means you'll need a totally different approach when switching between the gun-toting Survivors and respawning Infected - although making it through the zombie-infested levels alive as a human will require more than your average shooter tactics.

Left 4 Dead's gameplay balance will be key to the enjoyment, but with Valve on-board we're expecting this innovative game to have us reeling in thrilled delight. For the world's first hands-on with this intriguing monster mash, hunt out a copy of PC Gamer, on sale Thursday 23 November, complete with exclusive artwork, images and insight. Don't miss out.

Ben Richardson is a former Staff Writer for Official PlayStation 2 magazine and a former Content Editor of GamesRadar+. In the years since Ben left GR, he has worked as a columnist, communications officer, charity coach, and podcast host – but we still look back to his news stories from time to time, they are a window into a different era of video games.