Aside from my Monday MUpdates, I've clearly been lacking in the posting department. Considering the articles I've been reading on the subject lately, I've decided to throw in my own two cents into what is essentially a long winded soliloquy-esque rant, so enjoy:
When Valve announced Left 4 Dead 2 at E3 this year, you can go ahead and bet that they assumed everyone would be psyched considering the popularity of the game and the various awards that it won. This was, however, not the case at all. What ended up happening was a group of hardcore fans have instead decided to absolutely boycott the game in a group called NO-L4D2. 22,520 people have all pledged to not purchase the game upon it's released and are growing everyday, whereas the Pro L4D2 crew is made up of 11 people. So where do you stand on this debate?
Valve, which in the past have always been good their fans and consumers, have in fact addressed this whole situation. "It was just like, OK, this is big enough that this isn’t DLC, we’re not going to be able to leak it out. It’s a cohesive, single thing. It’s Left 4 Dead 2," claims Valve's Chet Faliszek. "In fact Left 4 Dead one, we still aren’t done with it. We still have updates coming. Our focus is always on what we’re putting in the box, put as much as we can in the box. Let’s not worry about: let’s save that and not put that in the game. No, let’s put that in. And with the five campaigns, all of them out of the box, playable Versus, co-op, Survival and the new mode, there’s just a ton of content in there."
Hmm. Well, let's weigh in with all the facts. With Left 4 Dead, we have 4 campaigns, 4 characters, 8 weapons, 5 variations of zombies, and 3 multiplayer modes. With Left 4 Dead 2, we have 4 new characters, 11 weapons, 5 new campaigns with a "cohesive" storyline, and a rumored 3-4 multiplayer options, as well as at least 3 new special zombie classes. All that for $59.99 retail. Keep that in mind and remember that you can buy a whole game expansion for Grand Theft Auto IV called The Lost And Damned for $19.99 with about 10 hours of additional gameplay, and soon you'll be able to buy a disc for Fallout 3 costing $19.99 with two expansions that will allow you at least 20 hours of gameplay.
Having tried L4D2 hands-on, I can say that in all honest I'd side with the anti-L4D2 people, but I clearly don't speak for everyone. The thing is, while it's fun to have new weapons and locales, it is undeniably the exact same game right now. Valve is boasting how much bigger it will be, but I can't imagine that it's worth $59.99. Take for example what Valve is doing with Team Fortress 2 - on the PC, the game is receiving a huge update. This update isn't coming to the 360 though due to what Valve claims to be Microsoft's policy for DLC. It could stand to reason that, with a large scale update of a game like L4D2, it could easily work as an expansion pack or large scale update. And I know, I know, Valve is toting how "big" it is, but when we look at it from an outside point of view not as a fan but as a working stiff/consumer, is all the aforementioned verified content worth another $59.99? Even if you can't use the anti-aircraft shotgun in L4D1, you are essentially playing the same game, and if all your friends have L4D1 then you'll still be able to play it with them, and that's what makes the L4D experience so great.
When I reviewed L4D way back in the day I praised the multiplayer experience and wrote about how much fun I had with all my friends in playing this. Lately, I don't play Left 4 Dead that much, but all my friends still have it. And more of them get it as the year passes. I've even tricked my girlfriend into playing it. There just is no point to me in purchasing a brand new game with just a few new options. While I am sure that Valve will make a good product out of Left 4 Dead 2, I'm fully endorsing the anti-L4D2 campaign. Granted, this entire article is mixed with speculation and personal opinion and I fully endorse forming your own opinion on the matter, I can only hope that this may help clear up some confusion as to the subject of what to expect.