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video_games news

UPDATED! Microsoft announces Left 4 Dead 2 at E3

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Monday, June 1, 2009

The 2009 Electronic Entertainment Exposition kicked off today in Los Angeles. Gaming companies worldwide have once again sent their marketing, programming and senior management people to tease the world's gamers as to what they can expect to be playing inside the next 12 months. Already there has been one big surprise announcement, that being that a sequel to last year's bestselling zombie survival horror game Left 4 Dead is in development -- and it will be out before the end of this year!

At a Microsoft event a trailer was shown to show people what kind of games will be coming exclusively to the Xbox 360. Smack in the middle of the footage was gameplay for Left 4 Dead 2, as it's being referred to by Valve, the game's creators. The game will be released for the 360 and PC platforms on November 17, 2009 -- incredibly, that's just 12 months between the release of the original Left 4 Dead and the sequel.

The gameplay is still the game: four survivors try to fend off an army of zombies as they make their way to rescue. Among the new weapons L4D2 will have is a chainsaw, a baseball bat, an axe and a frying pan. New survivors will be introduced in the second game and it seems that one of the new areas seen will be New Orleans. There will also be more co-op gameplay campaigns, more versus mode campaigns, more survival maps included with the basic game and different boss zombies than the Boomer, Hunter, Smoker and Tank undead from game number one.

Kotaku has also learned that the AI engine for L4D2 will be more improved over the first game. For instance, the weather will change during the mission you're playing. Different routes to your destination will also be practiced along with rotating world objects. The number of zombies will also fluctuate (Valve calls this "tailoring") along with the ambient sound effects and music. Valve intends to heavily market Left 4 Dead 2 when the fall/holiday season finally arrives so you can expect to see the marketing for this one everywhere.

Watch the trailer!

 

And here's Valve's full press release:

June 1, 2009 - Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced Left 4 Dead 2 (L4D2), the sequel to the best-selling and critically-acclaimed co-operative multiplayer thriller.

Coming exclusively to Xbox 360 and PC, L4D2 promises to set a new benchmark for co-operative action games and become one of 2009's marquee titles.

"A large part of how Left 4 Dead became 2008's top-selling new IP on Xbox 360 and the PC was the custom-tailored gameplay made possible by the AI Director," said Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve. "With the knowledge gained from creating the original, new technology, and a passionate team, L4D2 will set a new benchmark for cooperative action games."

Set for release on November 17, the title adds melee combat to enable deeper co-operative gameplay, with items such as a chainsaw, frying pan, axe, baseball bat, and more.

Introducing the AI Director 2.0, L4D's dynamic gameplay is taken to the next level by giving the Director the ability to procedurally change weather effects, world objects, and pathways in addition to tailoring the enemy population, effects, and sounds to match the players' performance. The result is a unique game session custom fitted to provide a satisfying and uniquely challenging experience each time the game is played.

Featuring new Survivors, boss zombies, weapons, and items, Left 4 Dead 2 offers a much larger game than the original with more co-operative campaigns, more Versus campaigns, and maps for Survival mode available at launch.

Supported by a $10+ million marketing campaign, Left 4 Dead has sold over 2.5 million retail copies since it was released in November of 2008. Left 4 Dead 2 is targeted for release on Xbox 360 and the PC on November 17, 2009, and will be launched worldwide with a multi-million dollar marketing campaign across TV, Outdoor, and Online.

"Left 4 Dead was backed by our most aggressive advertising campaign to date, and resulted in a top 5 showing on two platforms during holiday 2008," said Doug Lombardi, VP of marketing at Valve. "Left 4 Dead 2 is a larger game and will be supported with even more consumer and retail advertising programs than the original."

Left 4 Dead 2 will be featured as the cover story on PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazines this month.

 

-Valve, Kotaku.

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