Interesting article on 1up about a group of more than 10,000 Steam users who are vowing to boycott Left 4 Dead 2, the sequel to too colorful, a zombie blasting FPS. Why would fans object to a sequel? The 1up article provides a handy bullet list.

    • Significant content for L4D1 was promised, and never delivered
    • Valve put little faith in L4D1 since they almost certainly started working on L4D2 right after release
    • The fact that L4D2 is nearly identical to L4D1 will decimate the community for both games
    • The announced date is not nearly enough time to polish content or make significant gameplay changes
    • The new character designs seem bland and unappealing so far
    • L4D2 is too bright to fit in with L4D1’s visual aesthetic
    • The fiddle-based horde music is extremely disliked, though the differently orchestrated music is otherwise welcome
    • L4D2’s release will result in a drop in quality and frequency for L4D1 content, even compared to before
    • The community has lost faith in Valve’s former reputation for commitment to their games post-release

    As the article points out, some of these complaints are”silly” and reminiscent of the initial “too colorful” reaction to Diablo III. The core issue though, is what responsibilities does a gaming company have to support their existing titles, vs. plowing resources into a sequel?

    Left 4 Dead was released November 18, 2008. The sequel, which was just revealed at E3, is coming out November 17, 2009. This sort of “sequel a year” pace is common with sports titles, but those titles do little more than tweak the AI and adjust player stats and which team they’re playing for. Fans of other types of games, such as FPS or RTS, expect more in a sequel than a few new tile sets, different weapons, new music, and slightly upgraded graphics. Which is why so many Left 4 Dead fans are upset; they want expansions and updates to the initial title.Not a quickie sequel churned out in less than a year that will split the player base without necessarily providing a better gaming product.

    I realize that this is an almost impossible mental exercise, and it’s not a fair comparison since the Diablo games have 50x the content and depth of a zombie shooter like L4D, but just play along. Imagine that we’re in the future, and it’s six months after D3’s release. Blizzard has just announced D4 is nearly finished. It will be released in six months, and that’s why we haven’t seen any big D3 patches or fixes, and why we won’t be getting any D3 expansion packs, and why the online support has been so lacking.

    • Would you be excited by another Diablo game?
    • Would you be annoyed that they hadn’t delivered the promised support and updates to D3?
    • Would you boycott a sequel that had fewer new features than a good expansion pack, and sold at full game price?
    • Would you be suspicious of buying D4, since they hadn’t supported D3 and you figured they’d just dump it and churn out a D5?

    I’ve attached the L4D2 E3 gameplay trailer below the fold, if you’re curious. It’s quite bloody, so viewer discretion is advised, if horror movie aesthetics leave you cold.

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