Shacknews - Xav de Matos
The original Left 4 Dead crew are about to make a big sacrifice, and the long promised prequel comic that delves into the past of the zombie killing squad is launching very soon.

To prep for the October 5 release of The Sacrifice downloadable content for both the original Left 4 Dead and its sequel, Valve is releasing a hefty 150-plus page comic detailing the original cast's backstory and the events leading to one of the team's death. The first part of the four part series hits the web on September 14 (that's tomorrow!).

The Sacrifice Comic Covers

Valve also revealed it will bring back the week three mutation "Follow the Liter" for Left 4 Dead 2 players. The originally unpopular mutation--according to Valve--limits teams to scavenging one gas can at a time, forcing them to also wait for a fresh can to respawn once destroyed or used. Let's see if second time is a charm for this mutation.

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Shacknews - Xav de Matos
[Update: 08.22.2010] Valve has reportedly told PC Gamer that "The Sacrifice" will launch on October 5. The PC and Mac version will launch for free while the Xbox 360 version will cost 560MS Points ($7). According to PC Gamer, the Mac version will launch on October 5. Shacknews has contacted Valve to confirm the Xbox 360 version of the DLC will release alongside the PC and Mac.

[Original: 08.21.2010] Last night on GameTrailers TV, Valve's Chet Faliszek revealed info on upcoming downloadable content for those still waging war on the zombie threat.

(Note: The GTTV video contains spoilers on "The Passing" DLC.)

Faliszek revealed a new downloadable content pack, dubbed "The Sacrifice," is coming to both the original Left 4 Dead and its sequel, Left 4 Dead 2. A precursor to the previous DLC "The Passing," the upcoming pack will tell the story of how the original Left 4 Dead team lost one of its team members to the zombie outbreak.

Since Valve was already busy bringing the original team to Left 4 Dead 2 in order to tell the story in "Sacrifice," Faliszek said the team decided to bring a fan favorite campaign from the original game into its sequel. "No Mercy" will be included in the upcoming DLC for Left 4 Dead 2 players, adding the sequel's game mechanics to the popular original campaign

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Shacknews - Xav de Matos
With a dozen Left 4 Dead 2 "Mutations" released in as many weeks, Valve has collected a detailed breakdown of the modes developed to tweak the zombie-infested title's gameplay.

According to Valve, the most popular Mutation has been Realism Versus. The mode, which is now a permanent fixture in the game, captured the attention of 41% of all players the week it was initially released, making up for 22% of the each player's minutes when it launched. As a comparison, Survival Versus was only played by 25% of players for a total of 4% of their time with the game the week it was released.

Chainsaw Massacre was the most tried Mutation, netting 52% of Left 4 Dead 2 players during the week of its release and making up for 14% of game their game time.

Valve promises more Mutations are on the way and says they will continue to tweak past Mutations as well as bring back some old "favorites."

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Shacknews - Brian Leahy

The Left 4 Dead 2 mutation for owners of "The Passing" DLC for the next week is "Headshot!". In this mode, only headshots and decapitations will drop enemy zombies.

"Shoot them in the arm, shoot them in the leg, shoot them in the chest - it just doesn't matter! The only way these zombies are going down is with a head shot. Other hits will stumble them back, but only a head shot or decapitation will kill them." This mutation is available for the campaign.

Additionally, a patch has been applied to the PC version of the game via Valve's Steam digital distribution service. The Xbox 360 version will eventually see these changes implemented.

Valve describes the changes on the Left 4 Dead Blog:

While not removing Defibrillators, we have made some changes to them

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Shacknews - Chris Faylor
Our "Show Us Your Left 4 Dead Art Contest and Giveaway" has come to a close--the votes tallied, the commenters randomly chosen--and now it's time to announce the winners.

Simply narrowing the one hundred twenty eight images we received--located here and here--into twenty finalists was a tough task. The votes submitted by our panel of judged reflected how difficult it was to pick the five winners out of those twenty finalists--in fact, we had to call in additional "tie-breaker" judge.

So, without further ado, the winners (and prizes) of our Art Contest:

Shacknews - Brian Leahy
The next mutation for Left 4 Dead 2 has gone into effect and will last until next Friday. This week, players can play "Last Gnome On Earth", which is playable in campaign mode. It requires the gnome to be carried from start to finish in order to win.

Be careful, though. Whoever is carrying the gnome will be swarmed by common infected as they "hate the gnome".

Players can now vote on which past mutation will return for an encore week. Your choices are Bleed Out, Follow the Liter and Last Gnome on Earth. The first mutation, Realism Versus, has already been made into a permanent game mode.

"The Passing" DLC is required to play mutations and vote in polls. It costs 560 MS Points ($7) on Xbox 360 and is free on PC.

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Shacknews - Brian Leahy
On Monday, Valve began polling Left 4 Dead 2 gamers if they would like to see the recent multiplayer mutation "Realism Versus" become a permanent gameplay mode.

The results are in and nearly 500,000 voting gamers have ruled in favor of Realism Versus becoming a regular multiplayer mode in L4D2! Democracy rocks!

Additionally, a new mutation has gone into effect today titled "Follow the Liter", which changes the rules to the Scavenge gameplay mode:

Only one group of cans spawn at a time, so survivors know exactly where to go. There is only one problem; the Infected know exactly where ...

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Shacknews - Brian Leahy
The new weekly mutations for Left 4 Dead 2 are changing up the game in some creative ways. Through this framework, Valve can push live weekly gametypes that do not require additional assets to play, but change up the game in significant ways.

This week, players can try out "Bleed Out":

New Mutation

Bleed Out

Your health is a ticking away!

With constant mobs chasing you, there's no time for standing around. You have no permanent health, only temporary health that is continuously ticking away. You won't find any health packs to restore your health, only pills and adrenaline. This mutation is for Campaign mode.

Addition...

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Shacknews - Chris Faylor

[Update - 12:15pm CST on May 11] Submissions for the art contest are now closed, but you still have until 11:59pm EST / 10:59pm on May 17, 2010 to leave a comment below for a chance to randomly win some other Left 4 Dead swag.

We'll announce the winners on May 18.

[Original] Want to win a custom-painted Left 4 Dead 2-styled Xbox 360 and some other swag? If you said (or thought) yes, then we've got a contest for you thanks to the fine folks at Valve and Shacknews parent company GameFly.

For a chance to win the custom-painted console, submit an image of your Left 4 Dead-inspired artwork to contests@shacknews.co...

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Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
With Left 4 Dead 2's downloadable content 'The Passing' out on Xbox 360 and hitting PC later today, Valve has released a trailer as well as a few more 'Mutation' details.

The Mutations are week-long events that offer new ways to play the game, such as this week's "Realism Versus" Mutation and the upcoming campaign-only "Chainsaw Massacre," which will give players chainsaws with unlimited gas--and nothing else.

Only one Mutation will be available at any given time, changing weekly. A monthly poll will allow players to vote on which Mutation they would like to return the following week.

Bringing three Left 4 Dead survivors together with their L4D2 counterparts in a new campaign along with new game modes, weapons and the 'Fallen Survivor' infected, The Passing costs $7 (560 Microsoft Points) on Xbox 360 but w...

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