In the realm of anticipatory tantrums, nothing wigs out quite as conspicuously as a group of online gamers scorned. If you thought preemption was just the purview of politicians, think again: According to this bunch, Valve, the guys who brought you multiplayer zombie masher Left 4 Dead, are going to release their just-announced-at-E3-sequel, Left 4 Dead 2, too soon.
In a tetchy manifesto which entreats like-minded gamers to boycott the sequel entirely, some 21,000 and counting signees believe that by releasing the game 12 months after the original, Valve will "split the community" and "decrease the quality of multiplayer gaming." Instead, claims this group, Left 4 Dead 2 should be relegated to a series of updates, "free or otherwise," for the original game.
Rounding out their list of complaints, the group claims (without specifics) that "Left 4 Dead has not yet received the support and content which Valve has repeatedly stated will be delivered," and, somewhat hysterically, that "The release of Left 4 Dead 2 will make Left 4 Dead an obsolete purchase and inferior piece of software after only one year since release."
A few of the more civil comments:
"Boycott L4d 2 for ur own sake, why pay for a game which is very limited in content only to have them forget about you and move on immediately?"
"They should definitely make it free for all left 4 dead owners."
"I hope to GOD that people are smart enough to realize NOT to buy this BS. WHERE IS THE CONTENT YOU PROMISED US VALVE. Putting maps in the game that were SUPPOSE to be there at release is NOT new content."
"Contact Walmart its our best chance to hit their wallet like they want to do to us."
"I will no longer purchase any games from steam ever again, i will go to gamestop for all gaming needs i don't care if i have to walk or drive, if it is released, nor will i play any of valves future games even if they make a half life 3."
"20,000 here we come say good bye to 1 million $ valve hope your happy."
And so on. Nothing like a little repercussions-free anonymity to get the mouth-foam properly frothing.
Valve's response: "L4D, we still aren't done with it...we still have updates coming...we're going to announce some stuff." In the VideoGamer.com interview that quote's cribbed from, Valve designer Chet Faliszek does a reasonably persuasive job laying out L4D2's raison d'etre, as well as why L4D fans have plenty of new freebies to look forward to. See if you agree.
Personal take on the idea of preemptive, largely uninformed boycotts? "Down with Spore DRM" I can get behind. "Peace, love, and happiness," too. But griping that a company releasing a sequel a full year after the original will "split the community" and "decrease the quality of multiplayer gaming" when companies like EA have been releasing annual game updates for decades (entirely boycott-free) smells like "entitlement complex."
To paraphrase author Neil Gaiman, who recently wrote about "entitlement issues":
Valve is not your b****. This is a useful thing to know, perhaps a useful thing to point out when you find yourself thinking that possibly Valve is, indeed, your b****, and should be out there creating what you want to play, exactly as you want to play it, right now.
For more gaming news and opinion, point your tweet-readers at twitter.com/game_on.