Washington-based developer on the receiving end of unfamiliar anger from fans

Valve fans rebel against Left 4 Dead sequel

Acclaimed developer Valve is facing an unfamiliar problem; its fans are not happy.

At Microsoft’s strong press conference at E3 last week, Valve announced it is working on a sequel to the 2008 hit survival-horror-co-op game Left 4 Dead.

Presumptions that Valve’s fan base would be pleased with the announcement have, however, backfired.

Aggrieved that the developer has focused its efforts on a new product, a large group of members from the Valve community have set up athe Left 4 Dead 2 Boycott Group on Steam, Valve’s online games portal and community service.

The Boycott group has gained over 15,000 members in a single week, and pledges that its members will not be purchasing Left 4 Dead 2 unless some drastic decisions are made.

When the petition group’s membership reached 5,000 virtual signatures, one Valve user wrote “it’s no surprise that the Left 4 Dead 2 Boycott has already reached over 5,000 members. We are all quite disappointed in Valve with their decision to launch L4D2 so soon after the original release of L4D1. The chat room has become full of people voicing their opinions on this.”

Members of the boycott group allege that Valve’s commitment to a sequel will mean its focus on the original Left 4 Dead will be compromised.

Those joining the group have, by extension, committed themselves to the Left 4 Dead 2 Boycott’s manifesto, which believes that “the release of Left 4 Dead 2 as a stand-alone sequel will split the communities and decrease the quality of multiplayer gaming”.

The group states that Left 4 Dead 2 “does not warrant a stand-alone, full-priced sequel and should instead become updates (free or otherwise) for Left 4 Dead.” It adds that the original Left 4 Dead has not enjoyed “the support and content which Valve has repeatedly stated will be delivered”.

The group’s manifesto has committed to “holding Valve to its promise of free, continual updates to Left 4 Dead in order to build and sustain the community”, to keep the Left 4 Dead community together “in order to improve the quality of online gaming”, and to “support the model of continual updates Valve has set forth with its staple products like Team Fortress 2.”

Though acknowledging that Valve needs to release product to sustain itself comercially, the group doesn’t easily recognise that the developer has a desire to create games which interest and excite its fleet of designers, programmers, artists and animators. Instead it states that the release of Left 4 Dead 2 will “make Left 4 Dead an obsolete purchase and inferior piece of software after only one year since release”.

Valve has revolutionised PC gaming with its online games service, Steam. Since the company launched in 1996, it has continually developed lucrative and applauded series of games such as Half-Life. The company also was a pioneer of sorts with its engagement with the community. Gabe Newell, the company’s founder, still pledges to read every email sent to him by fans of the company.

A Valve representative could not be reached at the time of going to press.

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