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15:35, 26/09/2021

In gaming since L4D2, bạn campaigns have sầu even pressured devs lớn release entirely new endings.

Kyle Orl& - May 1, 2021 1:00 pm UTC


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The following piece, originally published in late 2009, looks back at that year"s somewhat quixotic attempted boycott of Left 4 Dead 2—và how that effort eventually fell apart. Flawed as it was, that movement would serve as a precursor to more frequent attempts by organized người communities trying to lớn bring change in the game industry. The most famous example might be the outcry around the conclusion of Mass Effect 3 in 2012, where the developers actually released a downloadable patch changing the conclusion of a franchise-sweeping narrative to placate vocal fans.This report & over a dozen more are collected in Save Point, a new collection from Ars Technica Senior Gaming Editor Kyle Orlvà. The book looks baông chồng on video clip games as they were between 2003 lớn 2011, a sometimes-uncomfortable "awkward adolescence" period where the industry did its best to lớn grow up with the young audience that had grown up with games as their entertainment of choice through the "70s, "80s, & "90s. The pieces collected in the book analyze how games were learning from their past and influencing the future, report on some of gaming"s growing & myriad sub-communities, và examine how the business of selling and kinh doanh games was evolving alongside the explosive growth of the Internet.

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Save sầu Point is available exclusively as part of the Spring Getaway Games Bundle through May 13.

In general, gamers aren"t very effective at organizing khổng lồ effect change in the game industry. Sure, there are hundreds of online petitions demanding everything from a Full House game khổng lồ a generalized over to game hacking, but the vast majority fail lớn garner much attention or tư vấn. Even well-organized and well-publicized efforts, lượt thích those seeking LAN tư vấn in StarCraft 2 or further support for the Earthbound games are met with official responses ranging from polite refusal to teasing hints and rarely with real change.

But this year, many gamers took a different taông xã lớn prodemo what they saw as a betrayal of a publisher"s past promises. Mere hours after Valve sầu announced the planned November release of Left 4 Dead 2 (L4D2) at June"s Electronic Entertainment Expo, a group calling for an L4D2 boycott popped up on Valve"s Steam user community. The group"s first public message asked a simple question that would come khổng lồ define its cause: "Where"s all the content và the updates you promised for , Valve?"

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The somewhat impolitic biệu tượng công ty for the boycott group.
By casting their disagreement in the khung of a boycott, the tens of thousands of gamers who joined the L4D2 boycott group immediately mix themselves apart from the Internet petitioners who came before them. A petition is just a polite request for someone khổng lồ change their mind, if they would, please. A boycott is a statement of collective sầu action—a way for a group to lớn flex its economic power lớn force change. It"s a way for a community to lớn effectively put its money where its mouth is và demvà that its case be heard. It"s a cause that brings up images of patriotic movements, civil rights struggles, international incidents, & other events more momentous than an argument over the release timing for a video game sequel.

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Now that Left 4 Dead 2 is actually available for sale, can those who took part in the boycott argue they achieved their goals? Was this boycott more effective sầu than any of the other failed grassroots petition efforts undertaken by gamers over the years? Did Valve sầu change its plans khổng lồ gain the approval of the masses, or did it effectively pacify the Internet throngs with nothing more than a couple of plane tickets và a hotel reservation?

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In other words, was the boycott successful?

Well, it depends on what you mean by "successful."

An explosive start

From the start, the Left 4 Dead 2 boycott effort succeeded at attracting a lot of attention, at least. Thanks khổng lồ mostly bemused coverage from gaming websites during the high-traffic E3 news window, 5,000 Steam users signed up for the group in its first three days of existence. "We gave interviews khổng lồ just about anybody that asked," said Walking_Target, the pseudonymous founder of the L4D2 boycott group, in an interview for this piece. " responded lớn questions from our members and benefited from a lot of press exposure, even if a lot of it was negative sầu. In the kết thúc, it was so successful , because this was a group made mostly of Valve fans who just wanted to let Valve sầu know that they expected more for L4 chiều."

But getting people to clichồng a button & sign up for an Internet prodemo group is simple. Getting them lớn actually organize for effective action is the tough part. Luckily for the group, Walking_Target seemingly realized this early on in the process. "To simply talk about the release of L4D2 và the issues we have sầu with it are not enough," he wrote in a June 4 message to the group. "It is only half the battle. A storm of words without action is no more potent in its ability lớn move sầu our cause forward or make our goals happen. It is time we took some action as a community."

But first they had lớn figure out what those goals were. So, after a quichồng poll khổng lồ gauge the group"s "official concerns," the boycotters put together a 325-word manifeslớn that laid out their commitments, beliefs, và requests for Valve sầu.

Crucially, the manifesto lớn started off by recognizing Valve"s need to make money off its games & acknowledged that "judgment cannot be passed on the unique of Left 4 Dead 2 until its release." But those concessions didn"t dampen the impact of the group"s demands: "That Valve sầu honor its commitment to lớn release ongoing periodic content for Left 4 Dead;” that "Left 4 Dead 2 not be released as a stand-alone, full-priced sequel but as either a không tính phí update to lớn Left 4 Dead or an expansion with full compatibility with basic Left 4 Dead owners;" and "that Left 4 Dead owners be given discounts for Left 4 Dead 2, should it be released as premium nội dung."

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While the requested changes lớn the price and format of the sequel were important, it was the idea that Valve sầu was somehow abandoning the original Left 4 Dead that animated the most passion in the boycotters. "Left 4 Dead has not yet received the support and nội dung which Valve sầu has repeatedly stated will be delivered," the manifeslớn argued.


It was an argument that had some justification behind it. In an October 2008 interview with VideoGamer.com before the original game"s release, Valve sầu Co-Founder and Managing Director Gabe Newell compared Left 4 Dead lớn Valve"s own Team Fortress 2 (TF2), a multiplayer staple that has received frequent không tính phí updates since its late-2007 release. Newell said that these updates had proved key to the continued success of TF2"s online community and that Left 4 Dead would receive sầu the same kind of continued attention. "We"ll vị the same thing with Left 4 Dead where we"ll have sầu the initial release and then we"ll release more movies, more characters, more weapons, unlockables, achievements, because that"s the way you continue to lớn grow a community over time," he said.


When Valve sầu announced Left 4 Dead 2 in early June, this was beginning to lớn look like a bit of an empty promise. By that point, the company had only released a collection of small tweaks and new modes as a Left 4 Dead "Survival Pack" và had provided a beta version of a Software Development Kit for eager modders. These tepid additions didn"t come cđại bại to lớn matching the robust updates being provided for an ongoing game lượt thích Team Fortress 2.

The depth of Valve"s support for TF2 may have actually phối a precedent that has come baông xã to bite Valve sầu during the slow rollout of new Left 4 Dead nội dung. "I vì think that a bit of the issue falls on Valve sầu for training us for such good không lấy phí content," said Brent Copel&, host of The Safe House, a Left 4 Dead-focused podcast. "I almost think if L4 chiều came from a different company that there wouldn"t be as big of an issue."

Walking_Target agreed that Valve"s handling of TF2 led people to think of it as a different kind of company. "It made a reputation for Valve as a company that supports their games. It was probably a bad idea to compare tư vấn for L4 chiều to TF2 so early on, though."