informa
2 min read
article

Valve's secrets to writing Left 4 Dead and Dota 2

"We never try and say everything in one playthrough, because we know people will play the same campaign multiple times, so we can leak out bits of story each time." - Left 4 Dead writer Chet Faliszek
"We never try and say everything in one playthrough, because we know people will play the same campaign multiple times, so we can leak out bits of story each time."
- Left 4 Dead writer Chet Faliszek Many critics and gamers praised the way that Left 4 Dead offers up meaningful interaction between characters and deep characterization without interrupting the game's action. In a new Gamasutra feature on game writing Faliszek says that keeping variety in writing for a game people will play a lot is key to player engagement. This, however, is not a hard-and-fast rule at Valve; each game is different. Faliszek's comments are counterpointed by those of his colleague, Dota 2 scribe Marc Laidlaw -- who says that ultimately, you have to accept that players will hear the same things again and again, and that's okay. While he considered having a huge variety of lines for each character, he had to let go of the plan and aim for "iconic" dialogue instead. "I was worried that having too many lines per character would dilute the impact, and make it less likely that any one line would become iconic," says Laidlaw. "This turned out to be less of a concern because so many people play Dota 2, for so many hours, and in so many possible combinations of characters, that even its great variety effectively gets ground down to a small set for any one individual. Each fan can still connect to a few favorite iconic lines, even if they're different for everyone."

Latest Jobs

Treyarch

Playa Vista, California
6.20.22
Audio Engineer

Digital Extremes

London, Ontario, Canada
6.20.22
Communications Director

High Moon Studios

Carlsbad, California
6.20.22
Senior Producer

Build a Rocket Boy Games

Edinburgh, Scotland
6.20.22
Lead UI Programmer
More Jobs   

CONNECT WITH US

Register for a
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Account

Game Developer Newsletter

@gamedevdotcom

Register for a

Game Developer Account

Gain full access to resources (events, white paper, webinars, reports, etc)
Single sign-on to all Informa products

Register
Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Subscribe
Follow us

@gamedevdotcom

Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more