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Left 4 Dead's Survival Mode Sounds Hardcore

| 17 Apr 2009 19:00
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Valve has revealed a peek behind the scenes of next week's Survival Pack DLC for its smash hit shooter Left 4 Dead, and it sounds, in a word, intense.

Next week Valve will release the first additional content for its wildly popular co-op zombie shooter, Left 4 Dead. The primary feature of the DLC will be the new Survival Mode, which pits a group of players against neverending waves of undead foes. Sounds pretty basic, right? According to Valve, it's far from simple. In fact, it's fairly complex, and, moreover, freaking hardcore.

"Survival Mode draws on the planning and communication aspects of a successful Finale or Crescendo event, while taking it to another level," Valve wrote on the L4D blog. "It rapidly hits a fever pitch that only a well coordinated team will be able to successfully survive. Everything from simply covering a reviving teammate, to making every shot count to minimize reloads becomes crucial in Survival Mode."

I'm not sure my heart will be able to handle this. Sounds like everything in Survival will be a serious life-or-death conflict. As Valve says, even "making an all important ammo run is rarely a safe proposition and requires good teamwork and planning. Timing your resources correctly to be able to make a run when necessary can make or break a team. The perfect pipebomb or well placed molotov can mean the difference between a cakewalk and catastrophe."

Considering just how intense Survival can be, Valve had to take extra special care to tweak the difficulty curve. From all the different spawn frequencies for the Infected types to the invisible "lull" that occurs when nothing new spawns, Valve needed to make "all of these variables to work together to create a fairly smooth difficulty curve."

Read some more fancy game design talk about L4D (featuring graphs!) here.

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