Is a Left 4 Dead 3 release date coming in 2018? Here’s all the latest news and rumours about an L4D3 reveal - plus our wishlist for the new Valve game.
Left 4 Dead 2 came around so quickly it felt like whiplash. Remember the 25,000 signature petition to boycott what was perceived to be a rushed sequel? Perhaps Valve took it too much to heart. It’s been almost an entire decade since four unlikely heroes cut a route through Savannah and New Orleans to survive. We’ve waited long enough, and we want Left 4 Dead 3 faster than a scampering Hunter.
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We’ve been patiently waiting for Left 4 Dead 3 for some years now, but we know that Valve often struggle to bring out third instalments to their flagship series - we still haven’t given up on a Half-Life 3 release date, though. However, we are always on the lookout for new Left 4 Dead 3 gameplay and trailers, so we have collected all our ideas for L4D3 here for your reading pleasure. Below you’ll find everything we know about Left 4 Dead 3.
Left 4 Dead 3 release date
When is the Left 4 Dead 3 release date? Unfortunately we have as much of a clue as we would if we had to survive in an actual zombie apocalypse. In other words, we have no idea. If we hear anything we’ll let you know right here.
Left 4 Dead 3 E3 2018
Left 4 Dead 3 at E3 2018 would be a dream come true, but could it happen? If Left 4 Dead 3 is in development, Valve are doing very well in keeping schtum; we have only had the occasional bit of L4D3 news that amounted to nothing in the end.
As with the other new Valve games we want to see at E3 2018, we’ve learned by now to control our expectations. We wouldn’t put money on it, but it would certainly be a dream announcement if it happened.
There’s been very little Left 4 Dead 3 news to keep us going in the long years since the previous zombie co-op smasher. That said, we did get a Left 4 Dead 3 tease in 2016, whether it was intentional or not. A reference to a new Left 4 Dead game appeared in a computer file in a tutorial for the Destinations Workshop tools called “left4dead3”. The leak was removed quickly once people started to notice, which only got us even more excited.
Very little L4D news would surface after this episode, however. What we did get was a Left 4 Dead 3 ARG hoax in early 2018, after fans of the Left 4 Dead 2 Facebook page spotted an image of a dead hand that resembled the one from the original L4D trailer. What’s more, it only had three fingers on it, which appeared to be a classic tease for a new Left 4 Dead game. Again, it was quickly removed by the powers that be, but we haven’t heard anything else about a new Valve game since.
Left 4 Dead 3 gameplay
The thing every Valve shooter has in common is a tremendous sense of forward momentum. While in Half-Life it’s brought about by an ineffable combination of level design, music, and narrative urgency, in Left 4 Dead it’s more tangible - the presence of an AI director, either sweeping you up in the tide of the dead, or planting lone zombies along the path to act as breadcrumbs, guiding you ever onwards.
Clearly, we should expect Valve to keep that. But the other pieces of the puzzle that really define pacing and play in Left 4 Dead are the special infected - and they’re subject to fundamental change.
Each of the original special infected had a gameplay function: the Boomer’s trick was to bring down the horde on incautious teams, the Tank’s to pull them together against a mini-boss, the Hunter’s to reward twitch accuracy, and so on. But in Left 4 Dead 2, the monsters started to double up: where’s the necessity for the jockey, for instance, when the smoker already works perfectly well to isolate survivors from the main group?
L4D3 will likely add special infected who change up the paradigm and tempt survivors out of practiced playstyles, just as that first set did.
Left 4 Dead 3 characters
Perhaps just as important as who Left 4 Dead 3’s characters are is the way they’re introduced to us.
You can piece together that Coach is a 44-year-old former PE teacher whose early hopes in American football were cut short by a knee injury at college - but that’s not handed to you in heavy-handed exposition or extensive branching dialogue. Instead, it bleeds from the game’s avatars dynamically, in lines of VO that appear in some playthroughs and not others. Over the course of many campaigns, you build up a fond picture of the people you’re playing as.
We expect Valve to continue that trend towards background storytelling the new sequel. Good news on that front: Doug Church, one of the most experienced environmental storytellers in the industry with a background at Looking Glass on the Thief games, was linked to Left 4 Dead 3 in an apparent Valve database leak a few years back.
Left 4 Dead 3 wish list
Free to play
Left 4 Dead 3 could come in two different business models. The first is simply copying the business model from the first two games: a one off payment and only free DLC. The second is F2P with microtransactions for cosmetics and possibly other characters. We think that, if we get a new Left 4 Dead game, it’s going to be free to play.
Crafting is common in games nowadays but, DIY weapons are crucial amid a zombie apocalypse. The problem, in a game like Left 4 Dead, is that it’s blessed with this brilliant forward momentum, and scouring areas for crafting supplies and then trying to fit them altogether on some sort of workbench might not fit. It would be also be a pain for the rest of your team, as they wait for you to get your shit together. Whatever can be crafted, nothing should be too powerful: Left 4 Dead 3 should be about desperation, not empowerment (at least when you’re playing as one of the living).
Games like Amnesia, SOMA, Outlast, and Alien Isolation show that sneaking and hiding can be just as compelling as slaying monsters, and often significantly more intense. It is vulnerability not gore, violence and cheap scares that make for the best horror experiences.
Left 4 Dead already has the basis for this with its noise system, where zombies are attracted to gunshots and car alarms, but a fully-fledged stealth system would be even more welcome. The goal of the survivors is not (always) to kill zombies, but rather to make it to the next safe room and simply keep on living - avoiding confrontation is thematically appropriate.
Alternate routes, crawling through vents, throwing enemies off the scent by creating distractions - adding these options into the series’ mechanical toolbelt would also offer new experiences every time you join a new group of survivors. The trick, of course, would be to do this in such a way that it doesn’t kill Left 4 Dead’s great pacing.
Co-op games can really benefit from player conflict, where friends can become rivals or even enemies. This has made for some of the most tense and emergent encounters in the likes of DayZ and The Division. Unfortunately, it only take one bad egg to ruin everyone’s fun, so adding such a dynamic to a team of survivors in Left 4 Dead might only be asking for trouble.
But what if there was a mode with more than one team of survivors? Some of the greatest moments of zombie fiction and gaming happen when two groups - exhausted, paranoid, trigger happy - collide. Do they work together and share supplies? Do they team up, becoming one big group, making it potentially easier to kill the rotting corpses that hunger for them? Or do they simply duke it out, attempting to steal the weapons and ammunition the others have gathered?
The potential for the unexpected is huge. Alliances born out of desperation, betrayals occurring at the worst possible moments, debates and arguments tearing groups apart as they decide what to do with these new survivors. What’s not to love?
Left 4 Dead 3 trailer
So there actually isn't a Left 4 Dead 3 trailer since we’re still waiting for the game to be officially announced. But it would be remiss of us to leave you without any video goodness, so above you’ll find footage of a Resident Evil 6 X Left 4 Dead 2 crossover. We would say that the video could be give us an idea of what a new Left 4 Dead game could look like, but this is till from some years ago. If Left 4 Dead 3 was announced at E3 2018, you can expect the blood and viscera on show to be much prettier, or as pretty as gore can be.
Ok, you've got us: we don't really know much about Left 4 Dead 3. But, if you simply cannot wait to pepper enough holes in the undead so that they resemble zombified swiss cheese, check out our video on the finest zombie titles on PC above.