Eurogamer: The thing with CS obviously is that its success is largely over the Internet, and this is a game where people get on very well playing in close proximity. Do you think the Internet play with be as popular?
Chet Faliszek: Well, when we play at Valve or they play at Turtle Rock everyone's playing in their separate room, so they might as well be on the Internet - it's just as far away.
Between the voice commands you control, we also have the voice chat - there's new stuff coming out with that that we'll see in The Orange Box. We're working on that, we've upgraded that. The Steam Community brings the chat all the way across, and the whole match-making's going to be redone for this, so it's not just going to be server browser. You're going to be able to go up the Steam Community with your friends, hook up, go play Left 4 Dead, say, "hey, I want to be Survivors, and we'll take on the Infected in the rest of the world". Or we'll be Infected and take on any Survivors around the world, right. There's a lot of that stuff still being worked on. The idea's to make sure that we make it as easy as possible to play with your friends across the Internet.
Eurogamer: Something I've found is that it's really only when you sit down and play it that you realise just how tremendously awesome the experience is. Reading about it, it can be a case of thinking it sounds quite cool but the reaction you get changes immensely, so I'm wondering if you're going to do a demo, because Valve often doesn't do them until after release...
Chet Faliszek: Well that's why we have QuakeCon right?
Eurogamer: Well sure...
Chet Faliszek: And that's been my mantra to the press. We need to get this in people's hands. And people understand that at Valve. Gabe Newell was bugging me that we need to take this to more places. There's some stuff we've talked about for pre-release that we want to make sure...
But also Steam allows us to do a lot of cool things that other companies can't do - it allows us to do free weekends, it allows us to let people try out the full game. And so we're going to do some cool stuff with that. We're talking about it.
Eurogamer: It'd be a pretty impressive way to launch it - to start with a free weekend.
Chet Faliszek: Yeah. All that's been talked about and bandied about, and I can't say if we're going to do one thing or the other yet. But definitely Steam allows us to do things on the PC side that no other developer can do, and we definitely don't ignore that. We're going to capitalise on that.
Eurogamer: Going back to the 360 version, is there anything that distinguishes that?
Chet Faliszek: We're trying to bring the same co-op experience over, right. So that's why we've made the Achievement system, right. It should be the same experience on the 360.
Eurogamer: When I talked to the Team Fortress 2 guys, I raised the point of how 360 DLC often has a premium attached to it, and all the humour drained from the room and everyone said if you buy the game it's free, you get everything that comes out for free. That's still presumably the mantra?
Chet Faliszek: That is something we firmly believe in. We firmly believe that when you buy a Valve game, or a Turtle Rock game through Valve, you're buying not the game that comes in the box but you're buying that game and everything that's going to come for the year or few years. We don't let our games go away.
Eurogamer: But let's say that Left 4 Dead, when it comes out, doesn't build up quite the enormous audience. Is that a problem in terms of dedicating resources to continue with it?
Chet Faliszek: No, because we have the belief that if you keep at it, keep updating it, that will bring the audience to it, right? It's just a weird perception that people have, I think, of...so like the Source Engine we were talking about is a great example. We haven't called it Source Engine 2. But it is a Source Engine 2! We just keep updating it, not worried about saying this is Source Engine 2. Once TF2 comes out, when does it become Team Fortress 2.5, or Team Fortress 3? We just keep going and don't worry about that.
Eurogamer: I was wondering if the EA distribution agreement would extend to this?
Chet Faliszek: It'll have a retail release and I don't think that's been...It may have been decided but we haven't announced it. [Another one for Doug. We asked: Are you considering extending the EA distribution agreement to cover boxed copies of Left 4 Dead on PC/360? Doug said: "Yes." Isn't Doug great?]
Eurogamer: Is there anything else you'd like to tell Eurogamer readers about Left 4 Dead?
Chet Faliszek: It's just one of those games that I wish we could get everyone to play it, because the minute you play it you're hooked. And I think this proves it, when you have people who essentially spent the last seven hours of their lives here yesterday in line or playing. I just can't wait for it to come out so I can kill them as a zombie.
Left 4 Dead is due out on PC and Xbox 360 in early 08. There's no word on a PS3 version at this time.