It seems like Valve is hitting on some unexpected obstacles with its sequel to last year’s smash zombie hit, Left 4 Dead. Although they must have expected it, since every one of their games has featured huge differences between “1″ and “2,” as well as expansions (free or paid) that were worth the money. Left 4 Dead 2 seems to be little more than a medium-sized expansion for the original, and its billing as a full-fledged sequel is baffling to Valve’s loyal fan base.
This interview with Valve’s Doug Lombardi offers him a chance to explain what’s going on, and also to address the possibility of cross-game play.
I played Left 4 Dead 2 at E3, and while it was certainly fun, it was far from the level of improvement we’ve come to expect from a Valve sequel. The improvements are there, but 20 new weapons? What? The guns I used were new models for the old weapons. And the melee weapons, while fun, are limited in use because they don’t allow for headshots (that I know of), a critical trash-talking point. But this isn’t the place for that.
Lombardi says of cross-platform play:
That’s something that we’re trying to work out right now, the details of it. So nothing specific to say today, but we understand that it’s a very valid thing to be working on and looking at.
Not exactly forthcoming, but at least he didn’t say “No, we made a game and we’re stickin’ to it.” I’m not sure how they could enable cross-platform play without making a purchase of one or the other pointless, but I guess we’ll find out soon.
It takes a big man to admit he’s wrong, and Valve is… well, getting there. This is really their first mistake if you think about it, so it may take a bit for them to set it right.