Significant improvements have been made to level design, utilizing the expertise of Portal designer Kim Swift. Some levels will have sections that have changing layouts. Faliszek mentioned a graveyard that would be different for every playthrough, for example. The AI Director can make the path through the graveyard longer or shorter depending on how well the Survivors are doing. Another level begins in total daylight, but darkens as a storm rolls in. The storm reduces visibility to nearly nothing, making it hard to spot zombies and, worse, teammates (their outlines won’t appear in the fog). Faliszek compared it to the cornfield in L4D’s “Blood Harvest.”
The game, due to launch on Xbox 360 and PC on November 17th, will also include new boss zombies, new survivors (seen above), and “more co-operative campaigns, more Versus campaigns, and maps for Survival mode available at launch.”
This same gore is achievable with all the weapons, with new ragdoll deaths for the throngs, to make their entrail-spilling, armpit-dribbling, face-exploding ways all the more entertaining. There were many gasps and cries of “OH GOOD GRIEF!” as we played, the strings of guts slopping wildly into the air, or as mentioned above, the faceless leaking mess suddenly bursting like a blood-filled balloon as the Infected fell to the floor. It’s awesome.
Another very smart change is to prevent sneaky players from trying to sit out the triggered events. In those moments in L4D where you had to press a button that began a frantic attack until an elevator arrived, or a door opened, it seems too many were crouching in a corner together and waiting for it to all die down. L4D2 has plans to prevent such treachery. Now some of the events you start can only be stopped by reaching a further target. In an extremely tense sequence, we had to make our way through a labyrinth of alarmed cars to reach a distant point that would finally see the attack fade. Trying desperately to avoid hitting any of the cars, and thus making the situation far worse, while having to make constant forward progress, amped things up significantly.