The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is a jolly fascinating place but too expensive to visit and far too terrifying to tour virtually in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. Thankfully, some kindly modders are treating us to a slightly friendlier whistlestop tour of Pripyat with Dniepr, a Left 4 Dead 2 custom campaign released today after three years of development.
The four-chapter campaign is based upon the abandoned city of Pripyat, mixing real places with slightly less real ones. Dniepr also includes loads of custom models, textures, sounds, and music. As well as plain old co-op monster-mashing, it also brings Versus and Survival fun.
Making Left 4 Dead campaigns is an interesting challenge. You’re building levels for a game that decides when and where to attack the player, and you have almost no control over those moments. It means your focus is in creating the world and in making it an interesting space for the players to exist in. You can’t guarantee that the cleverly designed chokepoint you made will ever be used as one, but you can make it the prettiest damn corridor the player will ever see. The setting is one of the biggest considerations you have, and then you have to have the talent to pull it off. It’s why I think most L4D campaigns take such a long time coming. Dniepr’s a Left 4 Dead (1 and 2) campaign that’s set in the Ukraine, including Pripyat, and has been three years in development. There’s a quite startling pair of trailers below. (more…)