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Interviews

Valve's Chet Faliszek Part 2

Left 4 Dead man talks boycotts, what's next

This is part two of our interview with Valve's Chet Faliszek. Read part one for the other half of our epic chat with the Left 4 Dead man.

How did the massive reaction to the boycott affect your plans with that?

Faliszek: We always planned to continue updating Left 4 Dead 1, we always planned on making Left 4 Dead 2 bigger than what you saw at E3. One of the weird things at E3 was we knew we weren't showing the complete package, we knew there was a whole bunch of stuff we were holding back but we wanted to show something.

Zoom

As you look across the summer at us showing the game you see more and more of a complete box that was still being worked on. We said it at E3 and then stopped saying it because it was becoming tiresome: 'trust us, this is all going to make sense'. Now as we get closer to launch we see the reaction to the demo, pre-orders are four times what Left 4 Dead 1 was, people's excitement, the boycott itself and how it's changed... I think people are just excited now.

Surely even you guys didn't expect the size of the reaction that boycott would generate. It must have changed your plans somehow?

Faliszek: It really didn't affect plans per se, it affected how we talked about it and how we talked with everybody...

So it was more of a marketing thing?

Faliszek: Yeah. Because again the underlining thing is this is what we've always done. You really think we're not Valve, that we're something else? I work on the TF2 updates myself. Robin Walker works of TF and now he works on Left 4 Dead. There's so much crossover there it's not as if we go off on our own.

Do your foresee a portion of the community complaining when Left 4 Dead 1 gets DLC and the sequel doesn't?

Faliszek: Well... no. Honestly I made the joke and it's true: If you put $20 in a box and charge $10 for it someone would complain you didn't put $50 in a box. Not to say some of the concerns raised aren't valid, but you're always going to have some kind of upset and that's not how we work. We work at looking at the project and trying to get it out.

I wish we could've got Crash Course out before E3, that would've made a lot more sense, people would've been happy. We struggled getting the authoring tools out so we saw VPK stuff and the add-on come later - that would've been better.

But we try to make sure that stuff we're releasing is working right - that's the right thing to do and we're going to keep doing that. Maybe some people are confused by that but I think the bulk of people understand.

Zoom

While the announcement at E3 had a negative reaction that was very organised, the unorganised reaction - e-mails to me - by about 3:1 was positive, excited and wanted to know more about it. Being able to be very focused and on-message for what their concerns were is cool right? It's cool to be able to have your community express that to you.

Right now I'm engaging a lot of the tournament and competitive players and we're getting really clear feedback. That's helpful - the worst thing is to work in the dark without any feedback from the community.

Do you think, in building this rich history of supporting your games with free content, you've become your own worst enemy? The community would go mental if you didn't give it stuff for free, right?

Faliszek: We always look at it this way: we play a lot of games ourselves. Having Steam we know a lot of companies, we know a lot of games. We like games, we play games, we make our games and try to deliver content in ways that we would want to. We don't see any reason to stop that.

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