Why we need a new CoD but not another L4D

I (like many of us, I assume) listen to a lot of podcasts.  In those podcasts there has been lots of discussion about whether or not Left for Dead 2 is coming out too early and how awesome Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is going to be.  In a confluence of playing Okami and listening to the Mobcast discuss excessive multiplayer in games.  Then it all came together.  We need a new Cal of Duty, we don't need a new Left 4 Dead. 
 
Despite CoD's epic multiplayer, at its root there is  a single player campaign with a story.  Prior to hearing about leveling up techniques for CoD4 I heard about a scene where you dropped a bomb from a plane through one of those "scopes."  The scene was described as disturbing because of how impersonal it felt.  Point being, there was a story that was on some level compelling people to play it and experience emotions.  This is why the "cycle" of games exists in the first place.  You play a game until you have exhausted the story, and then it is time to come out with a new one.  Who cares if game #2 is on basically the same engine as game #1 (see GTA: 3, Vice City, San Andreas) because you were doing things with a new character, or in a new story, or in a new setting.  It wasn't about the mechanics because the story defined the experience. 
 
Let's look at Left 4 Dead, or perhaps Team Fortress 2.  There is no story, despite the fan-fic people want to write about how a BLU Pyro can befriend a RED Scout.  The "story" exists in the wonderful happenings during a game with multiple people.  That story is new each time you start the game up, and as a result the amount of time the game can last before the story gets "stale" is extended.  This is the case with Left 4 Dead.  They punch in a "story" with the cool movie idea, but it isn't a narrative, but rather a situation definition that gives structure to the story you create.  The need for a new Left 4 Dead would be based on mechanics.  "Look at what we can do now!"  Better match-making, new net-code, upgrade systems, Forge, all of these are reasons to have a new multiplayer game.  But many of them can be handled with patches to existing games.  Aside from a total overhaul, there is little reason to have a new disc in your hands.  If that was the case, you still might as well wait for a while since your old product is still kicking and creating great new stories.
 
So we need a new CoD.  The time is up on the old one and there is a story in there that will be compelling.  We don't need a new Left 4 Dead.  Their "stories" are still being created a new, and while new features/modes sound like a good idea, they can be handled with incremental improvements rather than a total overhaul.  Will I end up buying L4D2 anyway?  Probably not.  I'm poor, and I'm still having a blast with TF2.  But as soon as Episode 3 hits I'll buy it for the story.

25 Comments
26 Comments
Posted by MAguilera

I (like many of us, I assume) listen to a lot of podcasts.  In those podcasts there has been lots of discussion about whether or not Left for Dead 2 is coming out too early and how awesome Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is going to be.  In a confluence of playing Okami and listening to the Mobcast discuss excessive multiplayer in games.  Then it all came together.  We need a new Cal of Duty, we don't need a new Left 4 Dead. 
 
Despite CoD's epic multiplayer, at its root there is  a single player campaign with a story.  Prior to hearing about leveling up techniques for CoD4 I heard about a scene where you dropped a bomb from a plane through one of those "scopes."  The scene was described as disturbing because of how impersonal it felt.  Point being, there was a story that was on some level compelling people to play it and experience emotions.  This is why the "cycle" of games exists in the first place.  You play a game until you have exhausted the story, and then it is time to come out with a new one.  Who cares if game #2 is on basically the same engine as game #1 (see GTA: 3, Vice City, San Andreas) because you were doing things with a new character, or in a new story, or in a new setting.  It wasn't about the mechanics because the story defined the experience. 
 
Let's look at Left 4 Dead, or perhaps Team Fortress 2.  There is no story, despite the fan-fic people want to write about how a BLU Pyro can befriend a RED Scout.  The "story" exists in the wonderful happenings during a game with multiple people.  That story is new each time you start the game up, and as a result the amount of time the game can last before the story gets "stale" is extended.  This is the case with Left 4 Dead.  They punch in a "story" with the cool movie idea, but it isn't a narrative, but rather a situation definition that gives structure to the story you create.  The need for a new Left 4 Dead would be based on mechanics.  "Look at what we can do now!"  Better match-making, new net-code, upgrade systems, Forge, all of these are reasons to have a new multiplayer game.  But many of them can be handled with patches to existing games.  Aside from a total overhaul, there is little reason to have a new disc in your hands.  If that was the case, you still might as well wait for a while since your old product is still kicking and creating great new stories.
 
So we need a new CoD.  The time is up on the old one and there is a story in there that will be compelling.  We don't need a new Left 4 Dead.  Their "stories" are still being created a new, and while new features/modes sound like a good idea, they can be handled with incremental improvements rather than a total overhaul.  Will I end up buying L4D2 anyway?  Probably not.  I'm poor, and I'm still having a blast with TF2.  But as soon as Episode 3 hits I'll buy it for the story.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Um...OK? Decent point, although a weird one at that. My question: why does every game need a sequel? Why can't game companies make a game that stands on its own?

Posted by MAguilera

Probably because of the white elephant I didn't mention in my post: money.   
 
I echo your point.  I would love more time spent on single games that are awesome.  What's Team Ico doing next?

Posted by Video_Game_King
@MAguilera: 
 
Answer: ripping off Panzer Dragoon and The Never Ending Story completely under the radar :P.
Posted by Celegus

Err....people play CoD for the story? I seem to remember some statistic where maybe 20% of people had the achievement for finishing the CoD4 storyline and only 80% had the one for the first level. I'm not sure those are the exact numbers, but something like that. I think it's mostly a matter of personal taste though, whether you care about the "story" or the "mechanics".

Posted by MAguilera

@Celegus:   
 
Maybe painting CoD as a story driven game isn't accurate . . . but there is a story there.  There was a narrative, much more than Left 4 Dead.  Either way I think my point works:  games that feature a story should have sequels more frequently than games where the story is formed in multiplayer.  

Posted by xyzygy

To be honest, I don't even play L4D but I'm sick of people complaining about how there will be a sequel.

Posted by Griddler

I recently bought L4D and it may just be that I got it cheap but, if Valve are making a new L4D... Who cares??  
You know what you can do? Not buy it... I just got an extra campaign for free, I got about 10 hours out of the game, that's what is expected from games nowadays... 
I don't see why people are getting their panties in a bunch about it.

Posted by MAguilera

I think I point out that I wont be purchasing L4D2.   
 
To make things more clear, I'm not trying to say that Valve is out of line for making a sequel to Left 4 Dead.  It's fine that they want to make another.  My point was a broader one regarding the "right" time for a sequel based on the genre.  I feel like I could have made similar statements using Madden as a model.  There is 1 Madden per year because of the seasonal nature of the sport.  Feels right.  Or maybe using SF4 and the new SF4:CE that will be coming out soon.   Or the gaps between Ratchet games.
 
Again: I don't think Valve is insane for making Left 4 Dead 2.

Posted by Creamypies

I really don't see peoples issue with L4D2.
 
After playing the original since day one, I am used to the way the game works... I know the ins and outs of every corner in every map. It needs a major revamp to keep a fan like me interested in the franchise. So a new AI director, new special infected, new ammo types, melee weapons, new characters, new campaigns, maps set in the daytime, new multiplayer modes and anything that I've missed out isn't enough to warrent a new game?

Posted by Akeldama

hurray!

Edited by Al3xand3r

I dunno what you're talking about, blending story aspects in a multiplayer FPS? No, people don't play it to "make a story" they play it to kill shit and have fun, story be damned. But, ya know, things get boring after a while, and sequels, as little as they can improve or add to the formula, can reignite the excitement, and therefor entertain once again. Hence why sequels happen regardless of having a story or not. It's to provide entertainment. Nobody forces you to buy a sequel to a multiplayer focused game in any case, if that's how you honestly feel about it. Just keep playing the original until the end of time, ignoring any sequels that may be released. I doubt you'll be having much fun for long but sure, ok.

Posted by FlamingHobo

So this is another thread hating on Left 4 Dead 2? Alright, we get it! You've made a similar point to a million others that I've read ever since its announcement!

Posted by jakob187

If you wanna bash anything, bash MW2's lack of dedicated servers on PC.

Posted by torus

If you don't want there to be another L4D, don't buy it. 
 
/thread.

Posted by iam3green

the reason why people are upset with another left 4 dead game is because it's not what valve does. they don't make a game and come out with a sequel like that. they have the game stay there for like a couple of years then make a new one. half life 2 episode 2 came out around 06, 07 and they are still making episode 3. 

Posted by natetodamax
@torus said:
" If you don't want there to be another L4D, don't buy it.  /thread. "
This
 
*sigh*
 
I thought everyone was done whining about L4D2. If you think it's coming out to early, don't buy the damn game.
Posted by ZombieHunterOG
@natetodamax said:
" @torus said:
" If you don't want there to be another L4D, don't buy it.  /thread. "
This  *sigh*  I thought everyone was done whining about L4D2. If you think it's coming out to early, don't buy the damn game. "
exactly 
Posted by Slippy

Valve should just move the L4D team onto Episode 3 in an attempt to get it done within the next 5 years.

Posted by CaptainTightPants

Meh the new call of duty is gonna be awesome, i think L4D sucks but people seem to like it so let them have more of it if they want it.

Posted by jkz

Because MW2 is really the sequel to a game from two years ago, not last years COD5. Sure, the audiences obviously overlap, but it's an entirely different story, setting, and developer.
 
 Then again, I don't think either game really needs a sequel. Neither ended with a real cliffhanger (although you could argue that COD4 did). I really despise sequels, except where it would not be realistic to contain an entire storyline in a single game, or where you're really just feeling out a new concept, genre, etc.

Posted by HAMMERCLAW

It's funny, but if L4D2 was appearing also on the PS3, the gaming press would be touting it to high heaven. 

Posted by deviouswarlord

 I believe that comparing to completely different games it is stupid L4D2 has nothing to do with MW2. anyways everyone likes different things so if the MW fans want it let them have it but don't take away L4D's fans of their sequel I don't know about you but i don't hear them whinging about MW2 coming out.

Posted by animateria

Eh, L4D2 has enough significant upgrades from the previous title that makes sense as a sequel and not a patch.
 
New Campaigns, new weapons, new special zombies, new multiplayer mode, new characters and voices.
 
You can't seriously expect all of that to be in a patch.

Edited by CoffeeandaBagel
@Resident4t said:

" Meh the new call of duty is gonna be awesome, i think L4D sucks but people seem to like it so let them have more of it if they want it. "

That's pretty much the point, isn't it? If people are happy to buy it, that justifies a game's existence. After all, we don't need any of them.
Posted by lordofultima

We do need a Left 4 Dead 2, because I want to play some more Left 4 Dead. Not so stoked about MW2 however.