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Yesterday, you probably read the first part of my chat with Valve’s Erik Wolpaw and Double Fine’s Anna Kipnis. If not, it’s right here- but FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY. By which I mean until the Internet ceases to exist, which, you know, could happen someday. Anyway, in today’s installment, we branch out a bit from yesterday’s story-centric beat. Valve’s newfound love of wearable computing, virtual reality, heaps behind-the-scenes info on Portal, crowd-sourcing, and more are all on the docket. OK, there wasn’t actually any sort of docket involved. I’m not entirely sure why I said that.>
It all began one sunny, seemingly inauspicious afternoon in a Starbucks. It also ended there – but, you know, later. Ragged and bone-weary from three days of wading through PAX’s diseased hordes, Valve’s Erik Wolpaw, Double Fine’s Anna Kipnis, and I huddled around one last vestige of civilized humanity: a table. Then we spent nearly an hour talking about this year’s sudden upsurge in crazy-interesting videogame stories, because it seemed like the thing to do at the time. It isn’t anymore, but – if you’ll believe it – it was considered cool back then. Those were the days. Anyway, here’s part one. If you behave yourself, you might get part two tomorrow. And maybe a cookie. But probably not.>
We are suddenly talking about Left 4 Dead a lot again. Could this be a sign of more substantial things to come? I doubt it, but it’s fun to hope for things – so long as you never stop hoping and are incapable of sorrow. Regardless, Payday: The Heist’s much-vaunted reproduction of Left 4 Dead’s Mercy Hospital is here to cure whatever ails you – assuming, of course, that you are made physically ill by the idea that Payday might eventually cease releasing DLC. Go download it! Or read details. These are your only options.
Left 4 Dead 2′s Cold Stream DLC has been through more tests than a guinea pig that just survived a nuclear blast. As well as the new map, the DLC contains Blood Harvest, Crash Course, Dead Air and Death Toll from the first game, but that’s not new news. The fresh meat on this data morsel is the availability of all mutations at all times and Valve promise “other surprises and details” soon. July 24th is the release date. That’s the release date for the DLC, by the way, not the guinea pig. The guinea pig is too uncanny to release into the wild so top scientists have sealed it in a lead box which is currently being dropped into a furnace.
Well, this is odd. We’ve known about an upcoming Payday: The Heist-Left 4 Dead crossover for about a month now, and – as is often the case with these things – it materialized earlier today via YouTube’s eyebeaming ethers. “”Have you ever wondered how the Left 4 Dead series began?” the video’s description asked, forcing me to realize that I’ve never actually wondered that. “It started with a heist!” Intrigued, the Internet looked on as Payday’s band of mask-loving hooligans shot its way through a very un-zombified version of Left 4 Dead’s Mercy Hospital. And then the trailer disappeared.
Happily, Eurogamer managed to upload a roll to its own Internet-powered projector machine, so you can still watch the trailer and remember it as it was before its mysterious disappearance. Perhaps Valve and Overkill (now known collectively as Valverkill) stole it. From themselves>. This may just be a heist caper for the ages. I, however, will work tirelessly to get to the bottom of it: Oh look, here’s the answer. It’s just a Left 4 Dead cameo (character and hospital setting) in a Payday map.
Hooray! Sort of, eh?
Seems a trifle odd to be saying this given 2009′s foremost angry internet man-generator was the perceived too-soon release of a sequel to Left 4 Dead, but Valve’s zombathons seem to me to have been left a little fallow of late. Team Fortress 2′s ongoing transformation into QVC, Portal 2′s awards-hogging and fever-pitch speculation about Half Life has been the order of the day for the last couple of years. You could – aheh- say that Left 4 Dead has been – aheh – left for dead. Aheh-heh-heh. Just my little joke, there.
Something is suddenly stirring, however (editor’s note – I really need more elegant alternatives to ‘however’ and ‘though’, which I know full well are often seen to be cludgy writing. Suggestions?>), and it comes not from Valve, but from Payday: The Heist devs and recent Starbreeze acquisition Overkill. (more…)
The handsome writer clicks on the Steam Store and types the word “zombie” into the search bar. Too many. He reorganises them by game only. Still too many. They’re everywhere. Surrounding us. An outbreak. It’s only a matter of time before — wait, what’s that groaning? Where is it coming from? He moves to his browser and checks his tabs. That wasn’t there before. He starts closing tabs down, isolating the infected tab: move Gmail, get away Reddit Aww, flee Katy Perry vs Aha. Just one more tab sits, keeping the outbreak from spreading. Slowly, uncertainly he clicks the ‘x’ on the Apple store tab and reveals the source: it’s the Contagion GDC trailer. (more…)
Dear me, I wasn’t paying attention yesterday. Remember that we told you about the excellent trailer for a Left 4 Dead fan-made film, that to my eyes at least look Hollywood scale? The full 10 minute version is now there for you to see. And by “there”, I mean, “just below these words”. It really is remarkably good.
It’s official – I can no longer tell the difference between fan film trailers and Hollywood trailers. The extraordinary snippet of film below is a teaser for a soon-to-be-released fan movie of Left 4 Dead. But I challenge you to spot the joins here. I mean, unless they’ve a person stood on someone else’s shoulders, holding a third man upside down by his trouser legs, it seems like they have a crane. Are you still a fan film if you’ve got a crane? Surely you’re just a film at that point? In other words: wow.
Over the last few years, Valve have been quietly honing the fine art of viral marketing in an online age, and comics have been a big part of that. A cartel of in-house writers and the excellent pencils of Michael Avon Oeming (and others) have created some rather splendid words’n'pictures. Of course, they were merely digital. HOW DARE YOU INSULT OUR EYEBALLS WITH YOUR CRUMMY JPEGS? Why, that’s for philistines> and people too damned lazy to turn paper pages. This horrendous oversight and offence to everything that some angry guy somewhere probably holds dear is about to be corrected, thanks to a hardback compilation of Valve’s various Portal, Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2 comics due from august comic publisher Dark Horse later this year.