What Made Left 4 Dead Special, According To The Devs Making Games Like It

As I type this, over 12,000 people are currently playing Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam. In the past month, the game has averaged just under 15,000 players daily, roughly three and five times more concurrent players than Dying Light 2 and Back 4 Blood, respectively, and each of those appears to have been successful in its own right.

That’s a heck of a lot of players for a game that came out almost 13 years ago, but if you’ve played it, you probably aren’t surprised. Launching exactly a year after its predecessor, Left 4 Dead 2 was an instant hit –even if the suddenness of the follow-up initially upset some fans. Over time, L4D2 became the ultimate platform for the series, swallowing up all of the original game’s content, introducing its own DLC, and inspiring more than a decade’s worth of community-made mods that help keep the co-op shooter alive even now.

I love Left 4 Dead, and I tend to enjoy many of the games it’s clearly inspired over the years –and there are a lot. Sensing there’s no end in sight to games inspired by Valve’s seminal co-op horde shooter, even as Left 4 Dead 3 doesn’t appear to be likely itself, I wanted to find out what makes Left 4 Dead such a milestone. More importantly, I wanted to hear it from the teams that have taken the baton from Valve and carried it in different directions, adding their own touches to the time-tested formula but always nodding back to that landmark original game.

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Author: Mark Delaney