- Release: November 17, 2009 (US) and November 20, 2009 (Europe).
- Platforms: Windows and Xbox 360.
- Engine: Source.
- Preliminary Price: $59.99 for Xbox 360. $49.99 for PC.
- Publisher: Electronic Arts (according to Amazon.com).
- 5 new campaigns, including The Parish. (See art.)
- New, unannounced game mode. All chapters will be available for all game modes at launch.
- 4 new characters: Coach, Rochelle, Ellis, and Nick.
- At least 20 new weapons and items. [Source?]
- 10 new melee weapons. Known melee weapons: axe, chainsaw, frying pan, and baseball bat.
- New ranged weapons. Ranged weapons at least include new pistols, SMG, new pump and auto shotgun, and at least a few new rifles. A powerful revolver and a bolt-action rifle are planned.
- [NEW! 7/21] Some old weapons from Left 4 Dead 1 may be included in the new game.
- More powerful AI Director 2.0.
- New Infected types, including at least 3 new SI (e.g. Charger).
- Some daylight gameplay. At least one campaign occurs at night.
- Will work with community maps made with the L4D1 SDK. [Source: See FAQ.]
- Portal level designer Kim Swift is involved in the level design.
- Left 4 Dead 1 content may be included in the DVD, so that Xbox players will not have to switch DVDs to play the old content. This might also be true for PC users.
- Co-op mode, Versus mode, and Survival mode for all maps will be included at launch.
- Melee fatigue will be included, and may affect Campaign mode.
Left 4 Dead 2 is designed as a much more continuous story than the original game, with more tie-ins between campaigns. The team has expressed a desire to improve the storytelling without adding bulky narrative devices like a deluge of cutscenes. To do this, the Survivors will be round characters—over the course of the campaigns, their personalities and relationships will change. There will be more back-and-forth interactions and running jokes. Some lines or conversations will happen very rarely. Also, each campaign will have a brief introduction cinematic that helps to bridge the gaps.
The campaigns are set in the American Southeast, one week after the original game’s events. In some places, the infection is not as pervasive as in the Northeast, and at the very beginning, Savannah, GA (the location of the first campaign) has not been completely affected yet. The Survivors do not know each other at the beginning. They meet in Savannah and make their way west to New Orleans, LA, where they attempt to reach a military outpost.
The military takes a much greater role in the new storyline. The infection has progressed past the point of CEDA’s control, so the military has decided to take more aggressive measures. There will be evidence of “humans turning on humans”viviolent tension between the military and survivors who wish to enter the safe zones. In some places, Survivors may see downed helicopters or uninfected human bodies. This comes in stark contrast to the current L4D, which has a decidedly bleaker outlook with no show of a cohesive defense.
Despite this conflict, Chet has specifically said that Survivors will not be firing at other humans.
Look here for a lineup with nameplates.
A high school defensive coordinator and health teacher with dreams of coaching professional football. During college, Coach was a skilled defensive lineman and intended to go pro until he had a career-ending knee injury. He’s from the Savannah, GA area, and is used to dealing with (living) kids and parents. When the zombocalypse broke out, he lamented allowing himself to fall out of shape.
Coach wears a short-sleeved polymer sports polo. Originally, it was yellow and blue, but new gameplay footage shows him wearing purple and gold. He also wears khakis, white wristbands, a chrome whistle, a black belt, black shoes, and black weight-lifting gloves. Coach is overweight, and his rotund model sometimes clips weapon stocks.
Coach’s booming voice is brought to you by Chad Coleman, who plays Denise “Cutty” Wise from the TV series “The Wire”. His mildly scornful personality and patronizing voice lines seem to be a reflection of the paternal nature of his job, his interest in sports, and his religious leanings.
A tough-as-nails northerner from Cleveland. After graduating from Cleveland State with a degree in communications, Rochelle pursued a career as an on-air news personality, but only managed to find work as an associate producer/intern. Two months later, after an outbreak hit Atlanta, Rochelle got her big break and was sent to the evacuation center in Savannah to produce her first big segment. If only she’d known that her biggest break would be out to kill her.
Rochelle wears a thin brown over-the-shirt belt and tight blue jeans. In the E3 demo and the teaser trailer, she wore a plain orange shirt, which differed from the rose-colored shirt she wears in the poster art. However, in more recent official screen shots, she can be seen wearing a rose-colored shirt with a Depeche Mode graphic.
Rochelle is voiced by Rochelle Aytes, an actress whose repertoire includes “White Chicks” and “Madea’s Family Reunion”. She appears to be strong-willed and can be somewhat indignant.
A smart, fun-loving, beer-loving, goofiness-loving mechanic with Southern flare. After finishing high school in his hometown of Savannah, he spurned thoughts of college, choosing instead to pursue his passion of working on cars. Ellis’ youthful exuberance and carefree nature allow him to remain upbeat even in the direst of situations.
Ellis wears a gray-and-white work shirt. Two crossed black-and-white checkered flags and the words “J.B.’s Auto Service” are printed on the back. Ellis also wears a matching gray-and-white baseball cap with webbing in back, work boots, and a tan jumpsuit with the top half gathered around his waist.
Ellis’ voice actor is Eric Ladin from “Generation Kill”, who voices the role with a moderate Southern accent. Ellis is the most helpful and good-natured of the group, and even his most aggressive lines only reach the point of humorous indignation. At the end of The Parish, Ellis utters the line every player has yelled into the mic at end of No Mercy at one point or another. You know which one.
A line we’ve heard Ellis say is that he loves horses. This makes us wonder if he’s the anti-Francis, dialogue-wise.
A gambler, petty conman, and consummate picaresque in a purportedly expensive white suit. Nick hails from the Midwest, but he’s a vagabond by nature, moving from place to place without settling down. He’s the most cynical and bitter of the Survivors, and is still trying to figure out the best angle on the recent upturn in the brain-eating market. Over time, he begins to trust and value his new compatriots.
Nick is voiced by Hugh Dillon, an actor from “Flashpoint” on CBS. As mentioned earlier, he’s the most cynical and distant of the Survivors. One of the lines Nick can be heard saying is “You’re going to shoot the guy in the $10,000 suit? Come on!” This is likely an allusion to Arrested Development, where Gob has an obsession with the ever-varying price of his suits. There may be multiple unique variations of this line, each with a different price degree of emphasis. The prices we’ve heard so far are $2000, $3000, $6000, and $10000.
Left 4 Dead 2 will contain five campaigns. Statements from Valve indicate that each of the campaigns in Left 4 Dead 2 will be longer than those of the original. Unless green, the campaign and chapter names below are guesses. Four of the five campaigns are close to being finished.
The second campaign will be a nighttime mission that takes place in a “muddy bayou” somewhere between Savannah and New Orleans. A train wreck forces the Survivors to travel through a bayou—a patchwork of marshes and small rivers. Swamp Fever only has four chapters, but Valve has said that playtesting shows that it takes roughly the same amount of time as a full-sized campaign.
Recently, the campaign poster was released, revealing the tagline of the campaign, “The only cure is dying.”
There is still some ambiguity about how the area is laid out, but it appears to be an intricate meshing of different terrains. Muddy marshland and lakes dominate the landscape, appearing almost everywhere. The mire lacks the vegetation found on solid ground, making it easier to spot some Infected, but some other Infected (namely, Mud Men) may be harder to spot. Moving through the waist-deep mud also slows Survivors to a walking pace.
To avoid the muddy lowland, Survivors can walk on raised banks or across rotting wooden boardwalks, but sections of the boardwalks can collapse, causing Survivors to fall into the murk. These damaged areas look different, and can be detected beforehand. The AI Director can control where these spots occur. Other visual cues can also help Survivors. Special rewards can be found by looking for landmarks. For instance, a pilot dangling from a tree by his parachute could mean that supplies can be found below.
There are other signs of human settlement. New Gamespy footage shows a shanty town raised on stilts above a deep marsh. This area includes a crescendo which begins by lowering a ramp. The walls of the shanty buildings can be broken, creating dangerous Smoker pulls. OXM had previously suggested that players might meet NPC survivors in this shanty town, but the gameplay videos and a new preview by IGN seem to discredit this notion.
Along the way, players will encounter a crashed plane. The right-side overwing exit door must be opened to pass it. Opening the door triggers a traditional crescendo event.
The AI Director will have a big role in this area. Many paths will be randomized (or at least procedurally controlled) instead of being predetermined. Also, the area will have dynamic weather conditions controlled by the AI Director. Chet has mentioned in a number of interviews that the AID can suddenly create heavy rain conditions, limiting visibility, similar to the cornfields of BH5. Survivors will not be able to see each others’ outlines in the rain.
The final campaign in the main story sequence. Set in New Orleans, LA, it features daytime gameplay and a primarily urban setting. The goal of the map is to battle through various parts of the city to reach a military outpost. Gameplay footage reveals building-to-building fighting amongst narrow streets and other urban locations. For an excellent video of the first two chapters, see the Direct Feed Gameplay (Part 1 / 2 / 3 / 4).
Chapter I: The Dock
Chapter II: The Quarantine
The second chapter starts on Decatur Street. The Survivors battle into Jackson Square, then move into a CEDA quarantine with a maze of chain-link fences. This is a rolling crescendo where Survivors must reach a security tower in the middle. After deactivating the alarm, they go through a bus station, then move into the safe room.
Chapter III: The Cemetery
In another chapter, players will encounter a cemetery. This may or may not be part of a crescendo. The placement of the above-ground crypts can be changed by the AI Director.
Chapter V: The Gauntlet
In this finale, Survivors must cross a double-decker truss bridge to get to a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter waiting on the other side. The bridge is about to be bombed by the military, but the Survivors convince them to wait. This bridge has a vertical lift span in the middle (like a drawbridge for boats) that must be lowered to allow the Survivors to pass. To reach the other side, the Survivors must battle through and over abandoned vehicles, avoiding falling off the edge and into large holes that pock the deck. As they move along, the military will bomb parts of the bridge behind them, so that there is no going back.
After going through a residential area, they take a sewer and, upon exiting, they reach a car impound lot where all the cars have alarms. This lot is underneath a raised expressway.
Another time, the Survivors reach a housing area with a parade float. To reach the safe room, which is in a second-story apartment, they must activate the float to bring a raised platform over. This appears to be a normal crescendo.
Very few details are available about other campaigns right now, but there are five, total.
The first campaign is set in Savannah, GA. The Survivors will meet for the first time at the beginning of the campaign (possibly during the cinematic) in front of a mall. This will lead into the first chapter. At least at the very beginning of this campaign, the city is mostly uninfected.
A concept image from OXM shows zombies walking around a dilapidated trailer park.
One interview loosely suggests something involving Ferris wheels. It also mentions the mall chapter.
Ten melee weapons will be available in L4D2. The identities of only four of them are known. Valve is Valve is considering making specific weapons do special damage to specific Infected.
Only some of the weapon mechanics are known. Sometimes, Infected will be killed with one hit from a melee weapon, but we don’t know whether this is due to a death trigger or a numerical amount of damage. Multiple Infected can be killed with one swing. It appears that bashing (pushing) is possible with melee weapons in addition to offensive attacks. This is at least true for the fire axe. The weapons don’t appear to wear down over time, and so far, it doesn’t seem like melee fatigue applies to them. Flashlights can be used with melee weapons. When dragged by a Smoker, Survivors drop melee weapons, just like they drop large explosives.
Melee weapons do not take up the primary weapon slot. Instead, they override other weapons, much like propane tanks do when picked up. For instance, in this shot, the player has quick-switched weapons, causing him to drop the axe.
When using melee weapons (and explosives/incendiaries), the reticule changes from the normal four-line dynamic crosshair to a thin white static crosshair. If you’ve played Team Fortress 2, the melee weapon crosshair is the same as the one for the Ambassador.
The Fire Axe
The fire axe is the most extensively covered melee weapon so far. It’s a short red axe often used by firefighters. Survivors primarily swing it in a horizontal cutting motion, but they will occasionally also swing it vertically. This downwards slice can one-hit some Special Infected. The axe will be able to crown a Witch if used properly.
The axe has a cleaving (AOE) effect that can be quite devastating. It appears that all Common Infected caught in the effective arc are killed, at least on Normal and Easy difficulties. It also deals location damage, meaning that it can affect specific subset areas of the body, much like how Level 2 weapons can shear off extremities. The axe can deal friendly fire damage, but the limitations of this are not clear.
In the Gamespy footage of Swamp Fever, the axe appears to have a dull metallic finish, but it is actually the same axe as the one seen in The Parish. Looking closely, you can see that it clips the gray-brown floor, causing this illusion.
The cast-iron pan’s most notable feature is the KAPWANG sound it makes when used; Chet has said he set this to his ringtone. Its normal attack animation is a right-top to left-bottom cross-body swing. Like the axe, the cast iron pan also has a cleaving attack and a one-hit kill against Special Infected, which is animated as an uppercut swing, but this is unlikely to crown Witches. The cleaving attack seems to be slightly different from the axe’s. Common Infected close to the center of the swing are killed and knocked back, but those on the periphery appear to just be knocked back. They probably sustain some damage (but not lethal damage).
The Baseball Bat
Very little information exists about the baseball bat. Based on screen-shots, it appears to be wooden. The bat will also be able to hit and kill multiple Infected.
The Cricket Bat
The cricket bat was announced by IGN in early July, making it the fifth known melee weapon. It was considered to be a hoax by some, but the bat, which appears to be partially painted yellow, can be seen in use in a recent Swamp Fever video.
Instead of the Uzi, the new game features a sound-suppressed MAC-10. The suppressor makes no difference to the game-play; it’s only for stylistic purposes. Based on game-play footage, the MAC-10 appears to be similar to the Uzi, with a similar firing rate and the same clip size. While it originally had the same total ammo capacity as the Uzi, new footage shows that it has a maximum reserve of 650 rounds, bringing its total capacity to 700, a 32% increase from the Uzi. Some accounts report that the MAC-10 has slightly lower damage, but a tighter spread. The real MAC-10 has an appearance similar to the Uzi due to its stamped metal manufacturing process. Survivors hold the MAC-10 with both hands.
5.56mm Assault Rifle
The successor to the M16A2 appears to be the FN SCAR assault rifle, a Belgian-manufactured rifle currently being tested by the U.S. military in limited quantities. The distinctive ridges visible on the front of the rifle are Picatinny rails, which are standardized brackets used for mounting accessories like scopes, lights, and handles.
While the side of the rifle says that it’s a 5.56mm Mk17 Mod3 (which doesn’t exist), it’s more likely to be a Mk16 Mod0. The rifle has a flashlight on the left side, attached by black zip ties. The flashlight’s cable extends to the right side of the rifle. It’s not clear how the SCAR differs from the M16A2. They appear to have the same ammunition capacities and roughly the same firing rate.
Different assault rifles have appeared in concept art. In the PC Gamer August edition, the Survivors are shown carrying AK-74s in their character profiles. In the poster art for The Parish and various images on magazines, Ellis and Rochelle are carrying what appear to be M4 carbines.
7.62mm Assault Rifle
The indomitable AK-47 rifle is visible in new videos of Swamp Fever. The AK-47 has 40 rounds of ammunition per clip. We don’t know yet what the maximum carrying capacity is, but it appears to be similar to the M16’s capacity of 410 rounds. The reload cycle also seems to be similar to the M16’s.
There is a new semi-automatic, scoped rifle, the HK41SG1. Instead of a 15-round clip, the HK41 features a 30-round clip. Otherwise, it appears to be similar to the Ruger Mini-14, and can still one-shot Common Infected. The sight picture of the telescopic scope also appears to be the same.
While it’s only speculative at the moment, the rifle appears to have more forgiving in terms of aiming. For instance, melee attacks from Infected do not disturb the crosshairs as much. In this screenshot, you can see the maximum displacement of the crosshairs while the Survivor is being hit.
This rifle may not actually be the H&K HK41SG1. It is definitely a CETME-based Heckler & Koch rifle with iron sights and a SG-style stock. This means that it could be an HK41, G41, G3 (especially a G3SG1), HK33, etc. We believe it is closest to the 5.56mm HK41SG1 with a modified stock.
The iconic M4 Super 90 has been replaced with the equally iconic SPAS-12 automatic shotgun. When reloading the shotgun, one can see the left side of the receiver, which includes the inscriptions “PEACH-12″, “TACTICAL”, and “Made in USA”, along with some serial numbers.
The SPAS-12 makes a different sound than the M4, but it isn’t clear if there is a mechanical difference between the two. Both weapons have similar capacities and both fire 12-gauge ammunition. One game preview suggested that the SPAS-12 fires more slowly than the M4, but this has not been verified.
A few early videos revealed a new pump shotgun model. It has a white or matte metal finish, railed barrel, bead sight, and a black stock. An inscription on the side says “Police Tactical 12″. On first glance, it looks like the Mossberg 500 Marinecote, but it does not have an exposed dorsal safety button on the back of the receiver. Also, Mossberg does not make railed barrels for the 500.
Shacknews has mentioned that a grenade launcher has made the cut for the weapons in Left 4 Dead 2. No other information is available.
In Left 4 Dead 2, there are at least two different kinds of sidearms: the SIG Sauer P220 (specifically, the two-tone P220 Match) and a Glock, probably either a 17 or 21. The P220 appears to always be held in the right hand, while the Glock 17 is held in the left hand after a second pistol is picked up. Both pistols can be held akimbo.
The PC Gamer feature article mentions a “9mm handgun” paired with the Glock, but we can’t be sure if this is accurate. The P220 Match is only chambered for .45 ACP, though some other P220 variants are chambered for 9x19mm. Note that the M1911 pistols in L4D1 are .45-caliber.
Heavy Machine Gun
The CVG videos of the finale include a glimpse of a new type of fixed emplacement with a single-barrel, high-caliber “heavy machine gun”. Only the barrel of the gun is visible, but it appears to be long and thin, possibly matching the .50-caliber Browning M2HB machine gun. Another possibility is the .30-06 M1919 Browning. The machine gun is mounted on the back of what appears to be a 5-ton truck, maybe a M939. The truck can be found on the upper level of the bridge, past a slanted, fallen section and a Humvee. A tooltip suggests using the weapon when Survivors pass it.
While it has the same purpose as the mini-gun, the new heavy machine gun appears to be much more accurate, with a tighter spread (but lower rate of fire). In OXM, they say the gun is powerful enough to cut zombies in half. [New! 7/22]
An IGN article mentions that the heavy machine gun will have limited ammunition.
Left 4 Dead 1 Weapons
IGN and Gamespy footage shows the Survivors using weapons from Left 4 Dead 1. From the Tier 2, we’ve seen the M16A1/2, Benelli M4 Super 90. The Ruger Mini-14 is also there, but it appears to have been demoted to Tier 1, since it appears with the Uzi and the pump shotgun.
We still haven’t seen L4D1’s sidearms, the M1911s. There is a chance that they did not make it into the game, since the Survivors are carrying SIG Sauer P220s along with the L4D1 weapons.
IGN footage of the finale shows the Survivors carrying the new weapons. This makes it unclear if the Tier 1 weapons are included in the Gamespy footage because of a change in the game engine or if both sets are available in a given chapter.
At least two more ranged weapons are known: one will be a powerful revolver, and another will be a bolt-action carbine that may be a Level 1 version of the hunting rifle.
After picking up incendiary ammunition from a special stockpile, any Infected you hit with your bullets will ignite. When using a shotgun, each individual pellets can set zombies on fire. Incendiary ammunition appears to work on all Infected except the ones wearing hazmat suits, who are immune to all incendiaries. While your gun still has the incendiary effect, your tracers appear red.
More technically, incendiary ammo is an ammunition modifier instead of true ammunition. After picking it up, the next fixed number of rounds you fire from your primary weapon (and only your primary weapon) will set Infected on fire. Reloading does not affect the number of incendiary rounds left. It appears that the number of incendiary rounds you receive is based on the maximum size of your magazine. It also appears that incendiary ammo does not increase the total number of bullets you have. Rather, as aforementioned, it modifies your existing ammo. However, if you are completely out of ammunition, it may give you a single clip.
After accessing the incendiary ammo pile, Survivors automatically reload. The primary weapon slot of the inventory bar changes to include a flame icon and the number of incendiary rounds left. Reloading after some rounds have been fired does not change this number. Once the incendiary rounds are expended, it returns to the normal ammunition counter.
Some aspects of the incendiary ammo aren’t yet known. For instance, all pellets from a shotgun volley gain the incendiary buff, but it’s not clear how penetration rules may apply. Also, it’s not clear how picking up a new primary weapon or ammo from a normal stockpile will affect it. The OXM L4D2 article claims that the fire from incendiary ammunition can spread between zombies, but this is not true. L4D2′s improved fire effects combined with bullet penetration create this illusion.
Very little information exists on this, but IGN claims that this ammunition, which also only lasts roughly one clip, explodes and knocks Infected back when it hits.
Two types of new supplies have been revealed: adrenaline and ammo packs. Adrenaline, which is a needle-like device that looks similar to an EpiPen, is stored in the pill bottle slot (and replaces pills if picked up). Taking adrenaline gives the Survivor 25 temporary HP and a boost that allows him to melee bash without fatigue and to avoid being slowed down by Common Infected attacks. Adrenaline also appears to change players’ vision when taken, blurring the edges of the screen.
Ammo packs, which take the first aid kit slot, will probably refill some ammunition when used.
Many of the explosives and incendiaries from Left 4 Dead have returned in the sequel. Gameplay videos, especially those that include the first safe room, show that at least gas cans, propane tanks, Molotov cocktails, and pipe bombs have returned. They appear to have the same models and textures as before.
We can expect at least one more type of belt bomb (e.g. pipe bombs) in the future.
Gibbing: Gory Goodness
The gore system in Left 4 Dead 2 has been completely revamped to be much more visceral. In Left 4 Dead, you can destroy or dismember a complete arm, leg, or head. Body shots resulted in a bloody spot. In Left 4 Dead 2, location damage is much more complex. You can blast away just a part of the head, punch holes to reveal bowels, or hit more…vital locations. Some shots can blow away significant portions of the chest.
While much of this is superficial, it subtly changes gameplay. Unlike before, shearing a limb off may not kill a zombie immediately. It will die soon, but it may have enough time to attack you a few times before it collapses. Chet called this “gibbing” and had this to say: “You can shoot off a chunk of his stomach, you can shoot off an arm—you can have a guy with both arms shot off still running at you. He’s going to die soon, but he’s got a little momentum.”
Gibbing will affect Special Infected to some degree. For instance, since Tanks do not have an external HP meter, Survivors may be able to determine roughly how much damage he has sustained by looking at how much gibbing has taken place.
Pipe bombs no longer simply vaporize Common Infected. Instead, they turn the zombies into ragdolls, expelling them dramatically. Some zombies will remain whole while others may be torn asunder. See an animation here. There will also be more significant blood splattering effects. Certain kills will cover nearby Survivors in blood, which sometimes lingers on them.
Common Infected similar to those in the first game will populate the game, with some differences. Superficially, the clothing the zombies wear has changed to be more in line with Southern sensibilities. In addition, zombies may now have a range of different skin tones and sport new glowing eyes. Chet has said that Common Infected will not be able to see as far in daylight.
On the less superficial side, Common Infected will now be more numerous. In Left 4 Dead, the average number of zombie deaths over the course of a co-op campaign might have been somewhere around 1000. In Left 4 Dead 2, the average body count will be closer to 2000. This is both due to higher densities and longer campaigns.
Common Infected will also be harder to kill. The “gibbing” mechanic mentioned earlier is an example of this. It’s not clear what other game mechanics will affect CI hardiness.
Uncommon Common Infected
A new type of Infected, called Uncommon Common Infected (UCI), will be mixed in with Common Infected. These UCI each have a special perk or ability. Each campaign will have at least one type of UCI, and some UCI may be unique to one campaign. UCI are (most likely) not playable in any game mode.
“Hazmat” zombies are unique to The Parish and wear environmental suits that make them immune to all incendiary attacks (e.g. Molotov’s and incendiary bullets). They can be white, yellow, or green. These zombies were formerly CEDA agents involved in the containment and evacuation operation, but the suits failed to protect them from the infection for some reason. Chet has said that there will be one area “full” of them.
The second revealed UCI type is Mud Men, who are unique to Swamp Fever. They crawl around on all fours, usually preferring to hide in the waist-deep murk of the swamps. This makes them extremely difficult to spot when traversing the mire. When Mud Men hit players, they cause the players’ vision to be obscured by mud, resulting in an effect similar to Boomer bile.
The original five Special Infected—Boomers, Hunters, Smokers, Tanks, and Witches—all make an appearance in the existing game-play videos, and will be retained in Left 4 Dead 2. At least the Hunter, Smoker, and Boomer have some new sounds, although we don’t know how much of their repertoire has been re-recorded. Some SI will also have new skins. Doug has said that the Hunter model will change, since hoodies are less common in the warm South.
These Special Infected will also have slightly different abilities. According to Chet, they’re “going to have variations in boss infected, where a Smoker or a Boomer has mutated, and has slightly different abilities.” It’s not clear exactly what this means. It could mean that Smokers in L4D2 all have a different set of abilities compared to L4D1; it could mean that each Smoker you see in L4D2 has a chance of being unique from the previous one; or it could mean a number of other things.
In addition to the original five Special Infected, there will be at least three new Special Infected that may also be part of the Versus lineup. Valve has said that they are toying with a fourth Special Infected which may not make the initial launch.
The Witch will behave differently during daytime. Instead of sitting, she will stand and wander around, making her much more difficult to crown. She may also turn around randomly. This has led some to call her the “Wandering Witch”. There are some indications that the warning signs for the Witch will also be less perceptible in the daytime. It appears that she doesn’t startle much easier (if at all easier) when standing.
Gameplay footage shows the Witch sitting down in daylight. This might be due to her position in the shade or because she got lazy.
The Charger has been described as a “one-armed ram on Crystal Meth”. Extreme speed is the Charger’s main strength. He is designed to defeat camping tactics by rushing Survivors who have packed themselves into a tight group. After preparing his charging attack (much like a Hunter prepares a pounce), he can rush Survivors like a bull, knocking them over in a line. The Charger picks up the last person he encounters, slamming him against the ground repeatedly (and disabling him). He appears to be able to scale walls very quickly, though his pathing is still buggy.
The Charger is a sort of half-Tank. While not quite as hulking as a Tank, he has an enlarged torso and right arm and an abnormally shaped head. His left arm is shriveled and hangs oddly off the side of his hunched back. He wears a pair of overalls that have slightly burst due to his malformations. Here’s a view from the back.
Some sources say the Charger has 500 HP, but based on game-play footage, he may be able to absorb up to 1500 HP from the front (on Normal), possibly due to location-specific damage mitigation (armor). He is immune to bashing. While his charge can hit multiple Survivors, his slamming attack does not appear to have any AOE or cleaving effects. The Charger is primarily designed to disperse Survivors and defeat camping tactics, and as such, he’s weaker against Survivors who are spread out. He also has trouble turning (and possibly stopping), and it may be possible to dodge him or trick him into falling off a precipice.
Both the Charger’s slam and knock-back deal damage. Based on one video, the slam seems to do incrementally more damage with each successive hit. On Normal mode, the initial slam does 10 damage, but then the second one does 15 damage. We’re not sure how much damage the knock-back does, but it may be around 10, and it’s possible that it can throw Survivors almost as far as a Tank. However, more gameplay footage is needed before we can confirm this.
The Charger has a distinct long, medium-pitched bellow, but some accounts claim that he has few obvious warning signs, so he may surprise the group from its flanks. The Charger can spawn multiple times per chapter, and can spawn at the same time as a Tank. He is already playable in Versus, and will be added to the standard lineup. It’s not clear how often he will spawn or if multiple Chargers can exist simultaneously.
The second new Special Infected released by Valve is the aptly named Spitter, who is able to lob gobs of acid at Survivors. The green projectiles, which appear to have a range similar to a Smoker’s maximum range, create a mist of acid that does damage to Survivors over time. The main purpose of the Spitter is to force Survivors to move out of tight spaces or force them to take damage when they are unable to move (e.g. resuscitating downed Survivors). Little is known about the Spitter, but she will be playable in Versus. The spit attack might take some time to fully deploy, similar to a Boomer’s bile.
There are currently no good images of the Spitter. We don’t count the official one, because it makes the Witch look like Kiera Knightley. We do have a sequence of images showing its attack. The spit itself is green and luminescent, and when it hits a flat surface, it spreads into a yellow cloud that soon turns to a deep red. The colors may indicate how much damage per second the cloud can do. Based on some videos, the cloud can do a significant amount of damage, perhaps 5 damage per second at the beginning and even more later.
Doug has said that first aid kits will not always be available in safe rooms. For instance, it appears that health kits are not in the first safe room in The Parish. Placing them outside (e.g. in ambulances) is meant to encourage more strategic play. Chet has mentioned that Survivors may be able to “double up” on incapacitated teammates to revive them faster.
All known parts of The Parish will be played during daylight, specifically in the dawn hours. Doug Lombardi noted that the sky in many parts of the South have a distinct orange hue, especially during dawn. The team has added effects to simulate this. The decision to include daytime play was partly in an effort to increase gameplay variation.
The original AI Director was a heuristic script that changed item/Infected spawn locations and music to vary the intensity of the game. In Left 4 Dead 2, the new-and-improved AI Director 2.0 will have even more control. In addition to spawning and music, the AID2 will be able to control weather conditions and even the physical layout of some parts of the map. By rearranging obstacles, it can make effecting escape more difficult for Survivors doing well and easier for Survivors on the Xbox.
Currently, the objects and locations we know the AID can rearrange are the hedges in the garden maze (Jackson Square in The Parish 2), the crypts of the cemetery, the cars in the impound lot, and the cars and bombing holes in <em>The Parish</em> finale. [New! 7/23] In Swamp Fever, the AID can control which areas of boardwalk will break underfoot. We don’t know if the AID picks from pre-fabricated routes or if it has a pseudorandom algorithm for arranging them.
The AID2 can also control weather and other effects to completely customize the experience. This is especially true for the third campaign, which takes place in a marsh-like area. A lot of the map will be relatively open, so to make things more difficult, the Director can suddenly bring a harsh downpour that severely limits visibility, making it almost impossible to spot Infected and even teammates. Outlines won’t appear in the rain. According to Chet, “We’re giving it control over the weather now. Now you go from [a sunny day] to holy crap man, I can’t see anyone around me. It’s like the Blood Harvest cornfield, right.”
Valve has added a two-objective crescendo, which we will call the “rolling crescendo”. In this, Survivors start the crescendo event at one end of an area, but must blast and bash their way through obstacles to get to the other side of the area to turn off whatever is bringing the hordes. In The Parish 2, the CEDA muster area is the first known example of a rolling crescendo. Survivors must reach a tower to turn off an alarm to stop the hordes and the open the doors to the next area.
This is designed to thwart any camping or stacking strategies. Chet has specifically said that the highest priority for the L4D2 team thus far has been counteracting camping, saying that it “sucks that the best way to play the game isn’t the funnest.” New crescendos are one way of dealing with this.
Another new type of crescendo-like event occurs at the impound lot. Practically every car in this lot has an active alarm, making it an extremely precarious place to be. While it doesn’t appear that there is any particular trigger in this case, the impound lot can suddenly become more intense than a crescendo with a few stray bullets.
It appears that the original style of crescendo will still be included in the game. The part of The Parish that involves the float is an example.
- Each campaign gets its own introductory movie.
- Overall weapon model and texture quality have been improved. For instance, flashlights are now either integral or attached by plastic ties instead of magically sticking.
- Improved fire effects.
- New tooltips, e.g. “Deactivate the alarm to open the exit doors.”
- More stylized HP bars with gradients. Temporary HP may appear as a patchy bar instead of a hatched one. This might be a temporary texture used in the alpha version rather than the intended texture.
- More stylized channeling bar (e.g. healing).
- New HUD style for dead Survivors.
- New load screen and main menu screen. Note that these are from the X360 version.
- At least some L4D1 achievements may be included. It’s not clear if these will be included in the release version or if they’re an artifact from the adaptation of the old code.
- In this video, it looks like Nick moved while healing himself. This was probably due to a CI pushing him out of the way to reach a boomed Survivor.
- Alarm-bearing cars don’t seem to chirp anymore. When they are activated, the windows appear to break/vanish.
- At 2:26 in the 6-minute footage, the pistol appears to fire slowly at a uniform rate. Could this be a change allowing players to hold down the trigger?
- The hunting rifle may have been buffed to increase its accuracy while moving and decrease its crosshair recovery time.
- According to word-of-mouth claims, the fourth chapter may be called “The Condos”.
- Also according to word-of-mouth claims, the AI Director may be able to change the writing on the walls. The writing may read “Don’t worry, it’ll get harder” when Survivors are doing well and “Having fun?” when Survivors are getting thrashed.
Incapacitated Survivors are shown “warped” to the boat when the standing Survivors reach it, leading to the possibility that incapped Survivors may count as having escaped. This is based on an image of the Swamp Fever finale from an IGN video. However, this could be a game engine bug.
When Tanks hit Survivors with cars, it may not guarantee incapacitation, based on the IGN Bridge Run video. This may also be a bug.
The US version of PC Gamer’s August edition has this little wish list for Left 4 Dead 2:
A remote explosive “throwable” item, probably similar to the cell phone bombs in Zombie Panic: Source.Smaller bandages that act like first aid kits, but heal for less.An alternative submachine gun like the Thompson. A “Haggard” special Infected that is somewhat similar to the Charger. A new game mode, “Escort”, similar to the objectives found in Resident Evil or Dead Rising.
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