Captain Obvious: Left 4 Dead kills cutscenes, resurrects gameplay

Cutscenes? In my Valve games? Not on your sodding life, son. Only one opening cutscene will be in the highly desired zombie shoot ’em up, Left 4 Dead. This scene will introduce the game’s major characters and set the zombified scene, but after that it’s all in-game, all the time.

“We didn’t want to have the game game gummed up with a story line,” explained Valve’s Chet Faliszek. “We wanted to keep it really clean and tight. A zombie apocalypse. It’s about killing zombies, not some fable on the reconstruction of humanity.”

There will be over 8,000 lines of in-game dialog, and these lines are designed to trigger only in very particular circumstances. We are promised that it could be “weeks or months” before we hear all the speech in the game. Messages scribbled in maps will also lend some flavor to the game. 

This is Valve, so it’s no surprise at all that the exposition will be in-game and that the cutscenes are hung out to dry. Half-Life 2 and Portal both used this to great effect, and Left 4 Dead is merely following the tradition. Now … GIVE ME THIS BLOODY GAME!

Jim Sterling