Last month marked 10 years since Valve released Left 4 Dead. The company did little to celebrate that, unfortunately, beyond updating both it and its sequel for Xbox One X users to enjoy. While there's still some hope Valve might surprise folks yet at the Video Game Awards, it needs to be stated that the time is still right for Left 4 Dead 3. Here are the reasons why.
Left 4 Dead Still Has A Strong Community
A quick look at the top 100 games on Steam will reveal that there are still quite a bit of people that can't stop this iconic zombie game. Left 4 Dead 2 shares that rare honor bestowed on few games nearly a decade old where thousands are still logging on each day to play the game on a regular basis.
Sure, it's not the biggest game on Steam, but the fact that a game that old that heavily relies on a co-op experience is still thriving years later is a sign there's already a core community ready to jump on board for a new game. That's of course, provided Valve delivered an experience comparable to what they've come to expect.
Squad Gaming Is Hot Right Now
With Fortnite commercials running rampant about "getting these squad wins," co-op gaming is still something gamers love. That's not really something they've ever stopped, but with Battle Royale games the hot thing right now, folks are getting reacquainted with the beauty of rolling with a four-person team. Perhaps when the appeal of Battle Royale dies (if that day will ever come) these squads could move on to a new Left 4 Dead?
Granted, Left 4 Dead is a more intimate, competitive experience as two teams duke it out as opposed to multiple. Regardless, success requires a high amount of communication, and any one person trying to carry their team and not cooperate is going to find themselves in trouble real quick. When done right, it's "squad gaming" at its finest, and an experience not often seen even in popular multiplayer games today.
It's Not A Franchise That Needs A Lot Of Work To Re-Establish
The real beauty of the Left 4 Dead franchise is how there are established characters, specialized zombies and an event to unify them. Beyond that, however, this is truly one of those games where it's on the player to play out these character's stories and fill in what happens with the character from there.
There are many reasons that concept is beautiful, but for the sake of a comeback, it means there's very little legwork that would need to go into re-establishing the franchise for a mass audience. Hell, Valve could just do what it did with Left 4 Dead 2 and stick with the precedent of introducing another 4 Survivors to the franchise. Just more characters to make weird meme videos with, right?
Its Innovative Gameplay Is Still Innovative
The "director" element is such a fantastically executed system and is one of the key reasons why Left 4 Dead is still celebrated today. It kept the playthrough fresh with its monitoring of player performance and managing to appropriately gauge the situation of players and make things effectively challenging in various ways.
Dynamic game difficulty balancing had been used before in gaming and continues to be used, but few games have used it nearly as well. Imagine what kinds of things this technology could be capable of a decade later, and how the tricks the game used back then could be further enhanced in Left For Dead 3. Hopefully, we'll get to see that one day.
Gaming Still Has Yet To Make A Worthy Successor
Usually when a game company abandons a beloved franchise, game developers find ways to create a comparable successor. Surprisingly, Left 4 Dead hasn't gotten its Stardew Valley that reawakens the nostalgia of the original franchise while upgrading the gameplay in a way substantial enough to let folks let go of the original game.
It's not for a lack of trying, as the gaming industry has had a hard time trying to recreate a game even similar, let alone better. The latest of these attempts, Earthfall, launched earlier this year, and while there were whispers of promise, it still wasn't enough to pull the community from Left 4 Dead 2. The only thing that could foreseeably do that is Left 4 Dead 3, unless of course Valve shits the bed on it.
It Might Inspire Valve To Make Games Again
Unfortunately, the biggest thing in the way of Left 4 Dead 3 is Valve's success in every other facet of gaming. It's hard to pressure a company that's making so much money on gaming through ventures that aren't game making to get back into it. That's because game-making is hard, and probably a lot riskier than hosting a mega-popular annual eSports tournament or running one of the largest digital distribution software program.
Still, if Valve could be swayed into just releasing another Left 4 Dead, then maybe Portal 3 is that much more feasible. Of course, gamers will have a hell of a time trying to beg, especially when its towards the company that's notorious for never following up one of the mediums most meme'd games of all time.
Zombies Are Still Popular
It's worth mentioning that Left 4 Dead 2 was released almost a full year before The Walking Dead premiered on AMC. Sure Call Of Duty: World At War had its Nazi Zombie mode running at that point, but this franchise was able to carry on zombie killing action without Rick Grimes to hoist it onto its shoulders.
The point being, Left 4 Dead was a popular game with zombies, but it doesn't seem as though the game's overall appeal was the fact it had zombies in it. It was a fun game with an even more fun cooperative element that allowed for nonstop fun and edge-of-your-seat high-intensity gameplay. That said, I can only imagine how many copies the series would've sold with some official The Walking Dead skins attached to it.
Left 4 Dead 3 may or may not be coming in the near future, but those looking to play the original two games can find them both on Steam. For a trip down memory lane at the times we've all been fooled into thinking Valve was making a third entry to the zombie series, check out this supposed "teaser vine" that confirmed the game was in the works long ago.