Once again, Valve is offering early access to a game if its fans jump through a hoop or two. This time it's Left 4 Dead 2, and the offer is a piece of the Cold Stream downloadable content. A blog post outlines the details.
The developer is currently in the testing phase, and is offering an incentive for the community to become bug-finders. If 20,000 people earn the "Stream Crosser" achievement by the end of the day on Sunday, July 10, Valve will release Dead Air (from Cold Stream) on July 22. Stream Crosser is awarded for surviving a campaign of Cold Stream, so it shouldn't be too unobtainable. If you don't own the game yet, it's just $5 until 10 am PST today.
Valve previously offered early access to Portal 2 in exchange for playing indie games. This netted users the anticipated game about 9 hours early. Unlocking DLC for an existing game probably isn't quite as exciting, but early is early.
Valve is also soliciting opinions and suggestions from players. The work-in-progress campaign will be available for all to play "in the next few weeks," and a forum has been set up for feedback and suggestions. Valve explains that following the story-heavy DLCs The Passing and The Sacrifice, this new pack will add no new story or audio, so if you have an idea which calls for neither, head on over to the forum and suggest away.
The yet-unnamed DLC will be released for PC, Mac and Xbox 360 "sometime after Portal 2," which launches on April 20. Valve says that it will be subject to "Valve Time," the process whereby projects take as long as they take rather than being rushed to deadlines, noting that this "is a good thing, not a bad thing."
If you still haven't experienced the joys of shooting the undead with friends, the latest Steam sale is an awesome excuse. For the duration of the sale, Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 can be purchased for a mere $6.79 each, or bundled together at an even deeper discount of $10.19. And of course, you get all of the delicious DLC with the PC and Mac versions for no extra charge, including 'The Sacrifice.'
Those playing the game on the Xbox 360 are also able to download 'The Sacrifice,' but it's 560 Microsoft Points ($7). In fact, when compared to the current Steam sale, it's more expensive to buy all of the console-based series' DLC than it is to purchase both full games (which include all DLC for free) for either PC or Mac.
While there is one real conclusion to the story, as evidenced in the previous DLC "The Passing," players will have the opportunity to re-write history and select which team member will fall in "The Sacrifice." It won't change the franchise's canon, but it'll make you look totally badass.
Watch the video on Shackvideo.
"The Sacrifice" will be available for free for PC users and for 560MS Points ($7) on the Xbox 360 when it launches on October 5.
While Valve has kept silent on a previously reported Mac version of Left 4 Dead 2, the trailer lists "OS X" as one of the DLC launch platforms. Looks like it's happening after all.
"'The Sacrifice' is the prequel to 'The Passing,' and takes place from the L4D Survivors' perspective as they make their way South," reads the press release. "In addition to advancing the story, 'The Sacrifice' introduces a new style finale featuring "Sacrificial Gameplay" where players get to decide who will give their life so the others may live."
In L4D, 'The Sacrifice' will include the campaign and maps playable in Versus and Survival. In L4D2, the DLC will yield the same campaign, which is played using the L4D characters, and the first game's 'No Mercy' campaign as an added bonus. Both campaigns will include L4D2 weapons and Special Infected. The maps will be playable in Versus, Survival, and Scavenge modes, as well.
PC Gamer, which correctly placed the DLC's release on October 5, also reported that 'The Sacrifice' would launch alongside the Mac version of Left 4 Dead 2, but Valve made no mention of this in its release. Shacknews has asked Valve for more information on a Mac launch for L4D2 or L4D.
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
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: