New Left 4 Dead DLC: The Sacrifice

Valve Bridges the Gaps with New DLC, Digital Comic

This Friday’s Portal 2 GTTV episode also had a brief but promised Left 4 Dead segment to it. Valve’s Chet Faliszek talked with Geoff Keighley to announce the details of the new Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 DLC, called “The Sacrifice,” to be released free on the PC and on the Macintosh, too.

Unlike the previous Left 4 Dead 1 DLC, “Crash Course”, which did so in name only, the forthcoming downloadable content is all about Valve bridging existing gaps in the games’ storyline: “The Sacrifice” will reveal to players exactly what happens to the original four survivors, leading all the way up to the events of the previous DLC, “The Passing.”

In addition to the new playable content, a digital L4D comic by Michael Avon Oeming (best known for the Powers comic with Brian Michael Bendis), of 150 pages and four separate parts, will be released. Each part will tell the background story of one of the original four survivors, the first of which will be released as early as September. Gathering from the screencaps below, we’ll probably see Louis’ story first:

The attachment we have for the original cast is tremendous and Oeming’s comic is an intriguing extension to the franchise, though it must have been rather difficult for a writer to get deeper inside a game series that has always relied principally on its intangibles - all those writings, posters and spray tags that have kept us constantly guessing. Hopefully the comic doesn’t go too far into a world-building mode, instead focusing to further develop players’ relationships with the original cast.

According to Faliszek, while the official storyline will be continued as is in the comic, in the game, players will actually be able to make the campaign’s ending their own by choosing which of the original survivors gets to live and who dies. Additionally bundled up with the DLC will be the original “No Mercy” campaign for Left 4 Dead 2, despite the fact that the campaign was the first thing that fans ported over.

As you can see in the screencaps below, there is a sign that reads “Armed Forces Reserve Center” in reference to the end of The Passing, where the survivors complain about having enough of the military. In addition to the survivors battling the horders aboard a ship, the campaign also inches closer and closer to New Orleans as the survivors make their way towards the new survivors (can you spot a familiar hazmat suit?):

This informative announcement from Faliszek is not without its share of problems, though. While it’s fantastic that Left 4 Dead 1 is finally getting the DLC that it sorely needed, after constant promises and the short and drab “Crash Course,” by making the DLC available simultaneously both for the 1st and 2nd game, what was expected to be a display of Valve’s unwavering support for the game became more of a restrained gesture, with the symbolism of the move somewhat diluted by the shared launch.

Similarly, it remains to be seen whether Valve will be truly be able to deliver on the promise of (the name of) the campaign, by including that extra degree of player agency and choice. In retrospect, the names of the campaigns we’ve had in the past have spelled out far more empty promise than they have delivered, with only The Passing really standing out of the crowd.

At the end of the interview, Faliszek notes that “The Sacrifice” is not to be the end of L4D - except for Bill, obviously, he’s “done.” When questioned for an all-new survivor, Faliszek remains his non-committal self: “Eh… maybe.”

Stay tuned for more info after Valve make their official announcement.