X10 Interview: Chet Faliszek Talks L4D2 DLC & Braaaaaiinnnsss
Written Sunday, February 28, 2010 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Okay, so there is no actual brains talk... although it does border on the intellectual at times which is close enough. Ahem! I said "at times" thank you very much.
In what is literally our penultimate piece of X10 coverage - dang all that news and features from a 1 day event!- our attention falls onto the words of a Mr Chet Faliszek; Valve's zombie specialist and resident writer, where he tells us about a bit (read, a lot) of Left 4 Dead lore, how we can expect zombies in the DLC (no way!) and the fact that they're not announcing Left 4 Dead 3 at E3 this year.
Read on, Chet knows his stuff (well he did write it!).
People got over the whole Lead 4 Dead 2 boycott/it’s just an expansion quite easily then?
Oh yeah. It’s one of those things where we can talk about it till we’re blue in the face, but until folks actually get chance to play it and see, they’ll never believe us. I can understand that.
So there’s more DLC for Left 4 Dead 1 coming we understand?
Yeah. It’s a little confusing, but we had this wacky idea that we had Left 4 Dead 2 DLC, right? And in this DLC, The Passing, you meet the Left 4 Dead 1 characters. If you never played Left 4 Dead 1, they’re just these cool characters you interact with and they’re very strong personalities. If you’ve played Left 4 Dead 1, you’re going to see Francis hating on some stuff – he’ll even be liking some stuff too! You see this cool interaction with them, right?
Then we’re going to have a comic book come out that will explain how the Left 4 Dead 1 characters got down to the south, cause they were originally heading up north – something happened!
So then, we have Left 4 Dead 1 DLC coming out that’s the end of the comic book, so you play the end to see what happened to them right before you meet up with them in the Left 4 Dead 2 DLC. It’ll all make sense... we raise a couple of mysteries in The Passing about what’s going on with the Left 4 Dead 1 characters and then we resolve it through the comic and the Left 4 Dead 1 DLC.
Have you guys got a Left 4 Dead bible like you did with Half Life?
We have a bunch of rules in place. We have a bunch of big story arcs and ideas that are going on. We actually had the idea for the comic and tracing it down to here early on. We hired Mike Oeming, who’s a comic book artist, he’s done Powers and stuff. We’d been going back and forth on how to do it, how to present it, how to tie them in; and to be honest, we knew a lot of the generalities of it and it wasn’t really until December when we nailed this down. This is how we should do it exactly and really started going full-bore on all the different projects to make this happen. There are rules of the Left 4 Dead universe that we adhere to and we know everything that’s going on and it’s just how we expose that to the players.
So story wise, do you have an arc planned out for the next few games?
Well we definitely know the things we want to talk about and in this case, the Left 4 Dead 1 characters definitely have something they want to go and do, and the Left 4 Dead 2 characters obviously do as well.
It’s like in Left 4 Dead 2, along the way you meet Whitaker, the gun store owner; you meet Virgil, the boat guy... you get little hints that there’s this bigger world that they’re in, but you don’t really get to see that they have their own things. So we wanted to introduce the Left 4 Dead 1 characters because you already know that they have something going on... that they’re trying to survive on their own adventure. It’s kind of like... not that they’re bit players because they have fairly big roles, but they’re NPCs in this thing, but you know in their own game that they’re the stars. So we wanted that mixing going on there.
What’s the DLC for the first game called?
We’ve not named it yet. Well, we haven’t announced a name yet.
What was the inspiration for the two worlds colliding via DLC?
In our heads, Left 4 Dead, the world is this really big place. It’s just not about 4 survivors, it’s about multiple survivors, it’s affecting the whole world. These 4 survivors, it’s not like one of those games where they’re going to find the cure or they were the cause of the infection... there’s all this other stuff going on and they’re just swept up in the world’s events.
We always wanted to just expand it out and that’s why we chose new characters for Left 4 Dead 2 so we can expand that world out and talk about it in different ways. As soon as we did that, we were like, "well we’ve got to get them now to come back together again" and we don’t want to do, “Luis is Rochelle’s brother!” or anything cheesy like that. We wanted to do something that made sense and that when the players see it, they’re like, “oh wow, that’s cool! I want to know more! I want to know what’s going on!”
So does that mean with the next instalment you’re going to change up the characters again?
Oh, well we’ll see. We’re living in the world of Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 now for a while. That’s enough work for us right now.
So no Left 4 Dead 3 this year?
We will not be announcing Left 4 Dead 3 at E3, I can guarantee you that.
Are people reading into the details of Left 4 Dead too much or is every detail very carefully planned out, for instance the way the virus was spread (there was a map in one of the levels)? Are those things slaved over?
Yes. So we setup this whole thing up in the beginning of the Left 4 Dead 2 campaign where you wouldn’t quite understand some things and some things may seem a little odd, but by the end of it, there was enough clues that you could piece together what was going on.
Of course, we released the demo which had the fifth campaign in it and we thought, we’re not putting some of the dialogue in so they’re not going to notice it, but there’s some stuff in the safe rooms that talked about it. People picked that up and were able to decipher it and were able to rightly guess, “oh wait! This is what’s going on! This is how the world is changing and this is what’s happening with the survivors.”
You have to be careful with that stuff because people are so good at deciphering it and going through it that you don’t ever want to lie to them or not spend the time to do it right.
What sort of new gameplay additions can we expect to see with The Passing? New weapons? New achievements?
There’ll definitely be new achievements. We like to do achievements at the very end because we like to do what kind of strikes us as being cool and fits the world. We don’t like to do “complete the DLC! Way to go!!” We have to do something a little more fun that just that... though we’ll probably have that one in there as well so, not to totally diss it...
We also have a new gun, an M60, which is like the Rambo style gun. It jibs the hell out of all the infected, but it does run out of bullets. We also have a golf club, as a melee weapon and we have a new uncommon common. The Fallen Survivors is what we call them and that’s essentially... you’re a survivor, you’re going to fight the infection for the first time, you’re going to go out in the street and start fighting zombies. You get your health pack, your pills, your gun and you don’t know if you’re immune or not. There’s only one way to find out. That first time you get hit and these are the guys who weren’t immune.
We happen to be following survivors who are immune, but there are people out there who aren’t immune and they’re now running around infected with health packs on their backs, and pills, and supplies, so you want to chase them down and grab that off them.
Can we expect to see any new crescendo events? Or are they all borrowed from the main game but in a new setting?
Our idea is that we have different classes of events, and so what we’re playing here is one where you have to run and gun, but we mix it up a little, we have a little break in the middle, so we’re always playing with those elements. In the first map, there’s something else we do that’s a little different and it’s kind of more themed based.
We learn what works, we expand on that and we play the game ourselves a lot. We play in the wild as well as in the office and we really take that feedback off the players and the forums and everything else and work that into the game.
This DLC’s coming fairly soon I imagine?
End of March.
No price yet?
No we have not.
I presume it’s free on PC?
One million dollars! We just need to sell a couple.
You’ll make a lot more money doing it that way!
I presume it’s free on PC and charged content for the Xbox users though?
In terms of pricing structure, it’ll probably be somewhat similar to Crash Course. Something along those lines.
Our readers obviously want to know why they’re forced to pay for content whilst PC users get it for free?
There’s different constraints we have going on and such. We think Crash Course was a real good deal and in this case, you’re getting three maps, new weapons, new uncommon, all the game modes. You’re going to see scavenge, versus, you’re getting new game modes on top of that as well.
So it’s not the case that Xbox owners are subsidising PC?
No, no. We find, if you look at the TF model [Team Fortress], just updating will bring more people to play your game and we think of it more in that way and not in, “oh my god we need more money, we need to go do this!”
It’s just about... we want to keep playing our game. We want new content in our game to keep playing. People want new content to keep playing the game. We just make sure that whatever the price is, it’s good value. That we have enough stuff in there.
We’ll actually have updates outside of the DLC, so if you don’t buy the DLC, you’re still going to get some other updates coming your way as well for the game.
So what else can we expect to see from Valve this year? A new game maybe? Maybe an extension to an already popular franchise?
I’m here to talk about Left 4 Dead 2 and the DLC, The Passing.
*Chet says with the cheekiest grin on his face ever*