- Related Games:
- Left 4 Dead 3
Left 4 Dead 3 could be on its way. At least, we hope so. At this point, the fact that Valve never releases a third iteration in one of their major franchises has transcended meme stasis. Given how long it’s been since we’ve seen a new Portal, Half-Life, or Team Fortress title, this coincidence has just become a cruel joke. Things will hopefully change soon, if a recent job posting by Turtle Rock Studios serves as any indication. The Left 4 Dead developer has apparently been hiring for a “globally known game franchise.” The studio has been looking for people with “experience working on competitive FPSs” who have worked “with modern FPS engines” before. If this doesn’t scream Left 4 Dead 3, I don’t know what does.
If one thing’s for sure, the next game in the hit series certainly can’t feel as similar as how Left 4 Dead 2 felt with the original. The third iteration in the franchise needs to mix things up to appeal to modern gaming’s audience. In an era saturated by battle royale modes and senseless waves of Team Deathmatch, Left 4 Dead 3 could offer something significant enough to change the formula.
What Left 4 Dead 3 Needs: Shorter Load Times
While games seem to be improving from a graphical standpoint year after year, the same can’t be said about load times. Those same frustrating circle animations on the bottom of your screen are as ubiquitous as they’ve ever been.
Veteran Left 4 Dead players are familiar with this phenomenon all too well. Transitioning to new chapters in either game or even launching an online session would result in extremely long load times. The break in action could go so far as to ruin immersion. It may outright encourage the player to stop playing or switch in another, more responsive game entirely. When online, the silence between matches would result in awkward chatting. Teammates might be rendered unprepared given how they would be in the middle of something else once the session starts again.
In today’s gaming landscape, long load times are a sure means of ending your title’s online prevalence early. What community you will have mustered will lose their engagement quickly, thus not supporting you financially through merchandise, DLC and/or in-game content. Left 4 Dead 3 must release with the best load times the series has seen so far, lest the franchise will lose its relevancy today.
What Left 4 Dead 3 Needs: A Better Story
Each of Left 4 Dead‘s campaign chapters were designed as standalone zombie experiences rather than parts of a full-fledged story. When Left 2 Dead 2 was announced, it teased that all these chapters were connected in some way. Unfortunately, the sequel itself didn’t follow suit and had no additional cutscenes explaining the overarching narrative upon release. To this day, there’s very little story stringing all these separate tales together.
Turtle Rock Studios needs to make Left 4 Dead 3 as approachable as the series has ever been. A traditional story mode should be offered to explain all the events that happened in the first two entries for series newcomers. This device should also add sophistication to the game. Without it, the title would just feel like a race from point A to point B again.
Conversely, the ability to pick and choose chapters should remain for veterans who want to jump in quickly. This allows seasoned pros the ability to play at their leisure. Best of all, it doesn’t force them to reach a certain completion point beforehand.
What Left 4 Dead 3 Needs: Character and Map Customization
Sure, Left 4 Dead‘s Bill, Nick, Zoey, and the others are iconic today for the amount of time we spent in their shoes slaying the zombie masses, but is that merit really warranted? As mentioned in the previous point, the series hasn’t had much of an overarching narrative. It’s hard to say that any of the series’ cast members are relatable simply due to the fact that we still know so little about them.
Given this, Left 4 Dead 3 could skip the story the franchise has attempted to portray in favor of letting fans design their own characters. Better yet, fans can find customizable clothes, gear, and more through the environment. This adds some much-needed nuisance without being overly in-your-face about it. Of course, the original cast should remain for those that don’t want to bother. The freedom to be someone completely new in the Left 4 Dead universe, however, is exciting.
While the studio is at it, Turtle Rock could add a map editor to spice up the title’s creation tools even further. If Far Cry 5‘s community serves as any indication, there’s no limit to the number of imaginative environments fans can come up with. This could also aid in diversifying gameplay a bit too, as so far the series has only explored the buildings and streets of American cities. A frozen tundra or dense forest could add more frightening elements to an already exhilarating experience.
What improvements do you want to see in Left 4 Dead 3? Do you think Turtle Rock is working on the game at all? Let us know in the comments below!