Details of Valve’s Left 4 Dead (L4D) have been revealed at EA’s E3 press conference. L4D is a co-op first person horror game which allows up to four players online and two player split-screen. Online introduces a “new matchmaking system” and an Infected versus Survivor mode.” L4D uses “dynamic shared narrative achieved with procedurally generated character performance, pacing, lighting and music” and “Counter-Strike-style weapons and items w/ melee attacks.”
Gabe Newell from Valve, talked through what looked like a very basic PowerPoint slideshow (professional?) which had a “simple” equation:
Narrative and emotional impact of Half-Life
+ Social features of Counter-Strike, Team Fortress 2
+ Unique co-op gameplay
= The next step in social entertainment
Gabe also went on how a “big chunk of AI code” is the director, which makes the game play “differently every time”. The director creates the “drama in real-time” and “monitors player’s experience” such as health, aiming and movement. An example of this was shown accompanied by a short trailer for each example. The trailers showed the player at a “gas station.” In the first example, the player was “beaten up, playing poorly, low on health and ammo”. The director showed the outcome as “relatively easy encounter with few opponents.”The second example showed the player as “smooth going, playing well with lots of health and ammo” and the outcome resulted in the game being “much more challenging.”
Left 4 Dead will be released on Xbox 360 on the 4th of November and a few days later for Europeans.