The other night I installed Left 4 Dead 2 again in order to play the new content from The Last Stand. Since many years had passed with no updates I had fallen from my playlist and as such was deleted.
Like many I was eager to see any new content for the franchise as despite rumors; there have been no signs of life in the venerable Zombie franchise.
Once installed I browsed through the menu and prepared to play the new campaign and noticed over 54,000 players were reported as active. I am sure many of them were much like myself and fired the game up on their PC in order to take in the new offerings but it did give me reason to pause; is the success of the new material a clear signal to Valve that the franchise is still very viable and popular?
Valve has always operated in a form of secrecy that even amongst the gaming industry is unique as they tend to stay out of the news and only say something when they have something to say and are content to let large amounts of time pass in between updates.
Those who remember Half-Life 2 will remember the announcement arrived with a short window until release. It was later delayed due to issues but the fact that Valve did not see the need originally to need months of advanced hype spoke volumes.
This is a company that promised episodic follow ups to Half-Life 2 on a short timetable and then stretched them out and abandoned further episodes on a cliff hanger. Once again rumors persisted and then out of the blue Half-Life Alyx arrived but only for PC users who have V.R.
The company has benefited from the income generated by their Steam platform and many have said they have little incentive to make new games because of this. However new competition from platforms such as Epic have perhaps changed their thinking.
While The Last Stand was made by a community versus Valve staff it had the support of Valve who was more than happy for new content to be released on the platform.
What is interesting is how the update is called the final update for the game which signals finality to expansion of the game which many had honestly already accepted as fact years ago.
So what does the future of Left 4 Dead look like? Will the franchise again slip off into nostalgic memories of the past once the novelty of the new content grows old or will the franchise continue with a new chapter? It would not be much of a gamble to make a new game as the audience would be there similar to casino of choice
Will Valve look at the response to Half-Life Alyx and take the franchise into the realm of V.R. and signal a new direction for the series?
Despite the fact that Valve has been a PC dominant publisher will the release of the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X/S have them look into new versions of their popular franchises or perhaps look to start new ones altogether?
While there are no easy answers it can be expected that Valve will do the unexpected as they know the fans want more content but have not considered this enough of a priority to act upon over the past several years. One thing for certain is the large response to new content for an eleven year old game shows that there is still a great deal of interest in the series. While people did not have to pay for this update it should still send Valve a very loud and clear message that consumers want more. It is just a question of if they are willing to listen and act upon it.
It should also be noted that the creators of the original game have a new game in the works called a “Spiritual Successor” to the game with Back 4 Blood which may give fans more of what they crave.