A Houston Chronicle blog post caused quite a stir a few weeks back when it tried to make Left 4 Dead 2's New Orleans setting sound racist, or at the very least, insensitive to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. While visiting Valve this past week, we asked how they felt about the accusations, and Left 4 Dead writer Chet Faliszek was quite frank with his response.
"Utter insanity," says Faliszek, when sharing his opinion on the controversy. "There are mixed races of zombies, there are all different races of zombies that you shoot, and since we placed it in New Orleans, that makes it racist? I honestly re-read the paragraph about five times ... but when two of the characters in your game are African-American, it's a weird thing to be accused of. We're like, 'how does this work'?
"... As far as Katrina goes, if you go down to New Orleans, Katrina's still going on. I mean, it's messed up, it is crazy that the city is still in the state it's in, and we treat that with the utmost respect. Our CEDA thing is not some subversive commentary on anything. This is a videogame, those are real people's lives, we are not trying to make a statement with that ... It's a place we love, it's dear to our hearts. We would not cheapen it. It's not a brick-for-brick representation of New Orleans; it's a fictional version, and I love that city."
Most would agree that the "controversy" over Left 4 Dead 2's setting was ridiculous, but it's good that Valve reiterates just how bizarre the accusations were. It really goes to show that you can't do anything involving black people these days without some moron (usually a guilty white person) screaming about racism.
For more of Chet's comments on this subject, and all things Left 4 Dead, keep hitting up Destructoid. We have loads more discussion, a full interview, and a close look at some videogame content, all coming over the next few days.