Valve have announced a sequel to their 2008 Zombie survivial hit Left 4 Dead to be released later this year.
I am slightly confused by this. A hallmark of Valve's previous multi player games has been longevity. There has almost been an unwritten contract between company and players. The company provided games like Counterstrike and Team Fortress 2 that were superbly designed to withstand the test of time and backed them up with ongoing support and updates. Players for their part continued to buy these games years after launch knowing that they would still find an active community and a well supported game.
Bringing out an incompatible sequel only a year after the launch of L4D is a change of business model which surely signals the death knell for the original game. Why are Valve choosing to do this? Even in business terms it doesn't seem to make sense. Why kill off your own cash cow? Surely a few low budget updates could keep the original game alive and selling for quite some time.
It is true that the original L4D was a little short on content with a small number of maps and a limited number of multi player modes. Players did complain that they exhausted the options available fairly quickly but there was expectations that Valve would continue to add content to the original game.
Melf_Himself surmises that it was all a cunning plan with the original release being no more than a tester for the real Left 4 Dead which we will get later this year.
If Melf's surmise is true then L4D/2 will hopefully have the longevity factor built in that L4D/1 lacks. I wonder though why they chose to break continuity by not releasing it as a paid upgrade to L4D/1? I certainly hope it isn't the precursor to a never ending sequence of annual releases (L4D/3, 4, 5 .....) because I for one will give up following the game if that turns out to be the case.