X10 Interview: Chet Faliszek Talks L4D2 DLC & Braaaaaiinnnsss

Dan Webb

Okay, so there is no actual brains talk... although it does border on the intellectual at times which is close enough. Ahem! I said "at times" thank you very much.

In what is literally our penultimate piece of X10 coverage - dang all that news and features from a 1 day event!- our attention falls onto the words of a Mr Chet Faliszek; Valve's zombie specialist and resident writer, where he tells us about a bit (read, a lot) of Left 4 Dead lore, how we can expect zombies in the DLC (no way!) and the fact that they're not announcing Left 4 Dead 3 at E3 this year.

Read on, Chet knows his stuff (well he did write it!).

People got over the whole Lead 4 Dead 2 boycott/it’s just an expansion quite easily then?

Oh yeah. It’s one of those things where we can talk about it till we’re blue in the face, but until folks actually get chance to play it and see, they’ll never believe us. I can understand that.

So there’s more DLC for Left 4 Dead 1 coming we understand?

Yeah. It’s a little confusing, but we had this wacky idea that we had Left 4 Dead 2 DLC, right? And in this DLC, The Passing, you meet the Left 4 Dead 1 characters. If you never played Left 4 Dead 1, they’re just these cool characters you interact with and they’re very strong personalities. If you’ve played Left 4 Dead 1, you’re going to see Francis hating on some stuff – he’ll even be liking some stuff too! You see this cool interaction with them, right?
Then we’re going to have a comic book come out that will explain how the Left 4 Dead 1 characters got down to the south, cause they were originally heading up north – something happened!

So then, we have Left 4 Dead 1 DLC coming out that’s the end of the comic book, so you play the end to see what happened to them right before you meet up with them in the Left 4 Dead 2 DLC. It’ll all make sense... we raise a couple of mysteries in The Passing about what’s going on with the Left 4 Dead 1 characters and then we resolve it through the comic and the Left 4 Dead 1 DLC.

Have you guys got a Left 4 Dead bible like you did with Half Life?

We have a bunch of rules in place. We have a bunch of big story arcs and ideas that are going on. We actually had the idea for the comic and tracing it down to here early on. We hired Mike Oeming, who’s a comic book artist, he’s done Powers and stuff. We’d been going back and forth on how to do it, how to present it, how to tie them in; and to be honest, we knew a lot of the generalities of it and it wasn’t really until December when we nailed this down. This is how we should do it exactly and really started going full-bore on all the different projects to make this happen. There are rules of the Left 4 Dead universe that we adhere to and we know everything that’s going on and it’s just how we expose that to the players.

So story wise, do you have an arc planned out for the next few games?

Well we definitely know the things we want to talk about and in this case, the Left 4 Dead 1 characters definitely have something they want to go and do, and the Left 4 Dead 2 characters obviously do as well.

It’s like in Left 4 Dead 2, along the way you meet Whitaker, the gun store owner; you meet Virgil, the boat guy... you get little hints that there’s this bigger world that they’re in, but you don’t really get to see that they have their own things. So we wanted to introduce the Left 4 Dead 1 characters because you already know that they have something going on... that they’re trying to survive on their own adventure. It’s kind of like... not that they’re bit players because they have fairly big roles, but they’re NPCs in this thing, but you know in their own game that they’re the stars. So we wanted that mixing going on there.

What’s the DLC for the first game called?

We’ve not named it yet. Well, we haven’t announced a name yet.

What was the inspiration for the two worlds colliding via DLC?

In our heads, Left 4 Dead, the world is this really big place. It’s just not about 4 survivors, it’s about multiple survivors, it’s affecting the whole world. These 4 survivors, it’s not like one of those games where they’re going to find the cure or they were the cause of the infection... there’s all this other stuff going on and they’re just swept up in the world’s events.
We always wanted to just expand it out and that’s why we chose new characters for Left 4 Dead 2 so we can expand that world out and talk about it in different ways. As soon as we did that, we were like, "well we’ve got to get them now to come back together again" and we don’t want to do, “Luis is Rochelle’s brother!” or anything cheesy like that. We wanted to do something that made sense and that when the players see it, they’re like, “oh wow, that’s cool! I want to know more! I want to know what’s going on!”

So does that mean with the next instalment you’re going to change up the characters again?

Oh, well we’ll see. We’re living in the world of Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 now for a while. That’s enough work for us right now.

So no Left 4 Dead 3 this year?

We will not be announcing Left 4 Dead 3 at E3, I can guarantee you that.

Are people reading into the details of Left 4 Dead too much or is every detail very carefully planned out, for instance the way the virus was spread (there was a map in one of the levels)? Are those things slaved over?

Yes. So we setup this whole thing up in the beginning of the Left 4 Dead 2 campaign where you wouldn’t quite understand some things and some things may seem a little odd, but by the end of it, there was enough clues that you could piece together what was going on.
Of course, we released the demo which had the fifth campaign in it and we thought, we’re not putting some of the dialogue in so they’re not going to notice it, but there’s some stuff in the safe rooms that talked about it. People picked that up and were able to decipher it and were able to rightly guess, “oh wait! This is what’s going on! This is how the world is changing and this is what’s happening with the survivors.”

You have to be careful with that stuff because people are so good at deciphering it and going through it that you don’t ever want to lie to them or not spend the time to do it right.

What sort of new gameplay additions can we expect to see with The Passing? New weapons? New achievements?

There’ll definitely be new achievements. We like to do achievements at the very end because we like to do what kind of strikes us as being cool and fits the world. We don’t like to do “complete the DLC! Way to go!!” We have to do something a little more fun that just that... though we’ll probably have that one in there as well so, not to totally diss it...

We also have a new gun, an M60, which is like the Rambo style gun. It jibs the hell out of all the infected, but it does run out of bullets. We also have a golf club, as a melee weapon and we have a new uncommon common. The Fallen Survivors is what we call them and that’s essentially... you’re a survivor, you’re going to fight the infection for the first time, you’re going to go out in the street and start fighting zombies. You get your health pack, your pills, your gun and you don’t know if you’re immune or not. There’s only one way to find out. That first time you get hit and these are the guys who weren’t immune.
We happen to be following survivors who are immune, but there are people out there who aren’t immune and they’re now running around infected with health packs on their backs, and pills, and supplies, so you want to chase them down and grab that off them.

Can we expect to see any new crescendo events? Or are they all borrowed from the main game but in a new setting?

Our idea is that we have different classes of events, and so what we’re playing here is one where you have to run and gun, but we mix it up a little, we have a little break in the middle, so we’re always playing with those elements. In the first map, there’s something else we do that’s a little different and it’s kind of more themed based.
We learn what works, we expand on that and we play the game ourselves a lot. We play in the wild as well as in the office and we really take that feedback off the players and the forums and everything else and work that into the game.

This DLC’s coming fairly soon I imagine?

End of March.

No price yet?

No we have not.

I presume it’s free on PC?

One million dollars! We just need to sell a couple.

You’ll make a lot more money doing it that way!


I presume it’s free on PC and charged content for the Xbox users though?

In terms of pricing structure, it’ll probably be somewhat similar to Crash Course. Something along those lines.

Our readers obviously want to know why they’re forced to pay for content whilst PC users get it for free?

There’s different constraints we have going on and such. We think Crash Course was a real good deal and in this case, you’re getting three maps, new weapons, new uncommon, all the game modes. You’re going to see scavenge, versus, you’re getting new game modes on top of that as well.

So it’s not the case that Xbox owners are subsidising PC?

No, no. We find, if you look at the TF model [Team Fortress], just updating will bring more people to play your game and we think of it more in that way and not in, “oh my god we need more money, we need to go do this!”

It’s just about... we want to keep playing our game. We want new content in our game to keep playing. People want new content to keep playing the game. We just make sure that whatever the price is, it’s good value. That we have enough stuff in there.
We’ll actually have updates outside of the DLC, so if you don’t buy the DLC, you’re still going to get some other updates coming your way as well for the game.

So what else can we expect to see from Valve this year? A new game maybe? Maybe an extension to an already popular franchise?

I’m here to talk about Left 4 Dead 2 and the DLC, The Passing.

*Chet says with the cheekiest grin on his face ever*

  • Sweet.
  • huh sounds cool
  • lol, hope it wont have any bugs like the first dlc pack did.
  • Can't wait to see the old gang!
  • Off topic, but, "Maybe an extension to an already popular franchise?" Man, hurry up with HL: Episode 3 =P This DLC should be good though. (Except for trying to sweet talk his way out of saying that 360 owners get shafted by MS for the DLC whilst PC gets it free).
  • Sure be nice if they could fix the Crash Course achievements so that they'd unlock on any server, but I'm glad I haven't ditched L4D1 yet. Gonna be alot of haters whining about that.
  • Crash Course was NOT a good deal. I played it twice... and it was waaaaaay too short. If this is the same price or slightly more I will still buy it, but only because there's more content. Crash Course appeared to be a PR move, not actual content.
  • New achievements, Good
  • Come on Ep.3! I want Gordon with a portal gun!
  • Good to know they're obsessing over the little details. I haven't played the first game, but I was worried the whole meeting was going to be really heavy-handed.
  • @5 Didn't you read, the pc users have to buy it with 1million dollars. =P
  • I'm so sad my LFD2 disc basically is cracking down the middle and is unreadable. Hope I can get it fixed/replaced before this DLC comes out, it looks pretty cool.
  • I love what Chet said about Valve's view on achievements. Kudos to them. They always have fun and unique achievements. Can't wait to see what the new achievements offer....=D
  • so we need to have BOTH L4D 1 and L4D 2 to do this? BS. Theyre making us pay for 2 pieces of DLC that equal one. Then they want us to buy a comic book to see what happens BEFORE it!? I love reading graphic novels but this sucks, seeing how its a big ad for the 2 dlc pieces.
  • Nice I'll be getting myself that L4D dlc^^
  • I sold L4D1 after owning it over a year and my friend traded L2D2 within a few weeks because we beat all the campaigns the first day we played it . .. maybe i can get a copy from someone to play these expansions
  • So he said Left for Dead 3 wont be announced this year. Does this mean that LFD 3 will be announced this year?
  • I was looking forward to being pissed about L4D3 this year... damn haha. And I kind of liked crash course, it was short, and the achievements were bugged, but at the time I wanted any L4D I could get my hands on. btw Jimmy Gibbs, Jr. is a baller.
  • @#12, Don't use your games as a flying disc and you should be fine. ;D The Passing sounds awesome, btw. Just need to get me some points for that and the RE5 Desperate Escape DLC in a couple days.
  • you can buy 1 really cheaply now anyways
  • They have never updated TF for 360 and most likely never will, but at least I get to play as Bill again.
  • plz episode 3 :[
  • Still waiting for the TF2 update, to bad its never going to happen.
  • Can wait to get the L4D DLC. Thanks for posting this. I still play this game all the time.
  • something halflife this way comes?
  • @17 no it means it wont be announced, thats what he said lol bet that comic will be nice, cant wait for both since I still got them both =P
  • Sounds amazing, more achievements for L4D1 maybe? I am not into comics anymore, but a L4D comic is a must buy. I would love a Dead Rising comic too!!
  • #14, you don't need to have both games to play the DLC. Separate DLC is being released for both games.
  • @19 mate this is a discussion about an awesome computer game im sure everyone dosent want to hear that you want to 'pleasure' valve if you get half life episode 3 but on other note new achievements equals deal cause its always good and also does anyone here know how u upload your gamercard to the site cause it wont let me
  • Portal 2, HL2:E3!!!!!
  • I have 2 buy part 1 again but sounds good the big V is getting a hold on consoles. We can only hope to see many great new games.
  • I simply can't WAIT!!!!
  • @#30- Chill out...and use some punctuation. Oh man, If Episode 3 is announced this year, I will be the first person ever to die of excitement; no joke. Otherwise, I'll still be happy with any new L4D content.
  • He just said that L4D3 won't be announced at E3 this year. He didn't say they weren't announcing it at all. And #30, I agree, use some punctuation. Your teachers hate you! Also, don't blast someone for their comment like a jerk and in the same post ask someone for help.
  • EA and THQ need to take their lead from Valve, a company that actually gives 2 shits about their players.
  • wasi the only person who noticed how he kept avoiding why pc users get it free 360 users don't?
  • TF2??? How about half life 3?????
  • End of the month. Hell Yeah! Sounds awesome.
  • Bleep bloop!
  • Couldnt be bothered to read all this but i may get l4d2 dlc but sold l4d ages ago.
  • lll need to 1000G L4D2 before this DLC! lol sounds cool tho
  • Awesome ^^
  • @14 There are two separate DLC's hence one being named "the passing" and the other not being named. You can buy one or the other or both. And you don't even need to buy the comic book. So feel free to get your panties unbunched. Soo buying this, I only recently got L4D2 and haven't played it much so this will be great.
  • no buy for me, especially when pc users get it for free
  • @37 No you weren't. He probably avoided giving a full answer because MS is too blame and publicly announcing that could ruin their chances at selling it it for a low price, that's what I think anyways. Sounds cool. Now I just need to find a cheap copy of L4D1 so I can get the new (and old) DLC. Oh and if this costs 800 MSP I am not buying it. I don't think there is enough bang for your buck with this. But 400 or 560 MSP would be fine.
  • Left 4 Dead is brilliant!!
  • Episode 3! The only thing that is going to be a bummer about ep3 is that my PC is too old to play it now :O
  • EXCELLENT. It will give me a reason to start playing L4D2 again (already 1000g'd it), not that I need one, its one of the funnest games this gen!
  • I wonder if they will have a package deal for the dlc - similar to what rockband does - i.e. L4D 1 dlc is 400, L4D2 dlc is 400 or you can buy both for 650? Since they go together, it'd be nice if they could tie it in - even though i know its for two different games...
  • Please, I want a DLC that it isn't SO GLITCHY as CRASH COURSE...
  • @22 He said they were NPC's as in non - playable characters so no you won't be playing as Bill, you will be playing as the L4D2 Characters with the original cast beside you I presume.:D
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