It's good to see more non-subscription business models being tried in the current generation of MMOs at a time when innovation elsewhere is sorely lacking. For too long, it's been the common opinion that a subscription is necessary to develop a quality product; Anything advertised as 'free' must surely be of lower quality.
That rather unfair preconception is now beginning to shift, but are they looking far enough outside the box?
In a generation of technology where we are swiftly approaching the ability to render photo-real graphics in real-time simulations, there is an important question to ask:
At what level of immersion do violent games actually start becoming a problem?
Rock Paper Shotgun recently got together with Valve’s VP of marketing, Doug Lombardi, to talk about the drama stirred up by their announcement of a sequel to Left4Dead.
It wasn't a massively interesting interview, and one comment in particular stuck out. When asked how the sequel came about, Doug replied:
One of the biggest pieces of feedback we got after the game came out, and even after the Survival Pack, was: this is all really great, I loved it, but I want a bunch more campaigns, I want more content. In a sense, L4D2 is a response to what players were asking for after the first one shipped.
Now, I don't really get this. The biggest problem fans of the original have with the development of a sequel is that they want the promised content for the game they already bought. His argument for releasing a sequel is precisely the main point of contention from those who would rather see an expansion. Packaging it as a sequel, a whole new game, doesn't address the need for new content at all.
He does say near the end of the interview that there is more content coming to Left4Dead in the near future, so I guess it's just a matter of 'wait and see'.
Edit: Interesting forum thread from Steam community members discussing the issues.
Despite having poured many hours into the original... I'm struggling to get excited about this.
Reasoning after the jump