Left 4 Dead PS3: Unsolved Mystery

Someone isn’t telling the truth, and I’m not sure who it is.

But I have my suspicions.

Let’s go back in time, see if you can follow my logic.

Back in the day, Valve (makers of the Half-Life series) espoused the virtues of PC-only development, then they signed an agreement with EA for distribution of their games. EA began working with Valve to port their games to consoles, and the world was a better place.

As the latest console cycle roared into existence, it was obvious that some of the establishment Valve really didn’t like the Playstation 3. Gabe Newell (head honcho at Valve) went as far as to say the Playstation 3 is ‘a total disaster’ and a ‘waste of time’.

When Half-Life 2: Orange Box was released on consoles, the PS3 version of the game was delayed, and included some bugs and framerate issue. This was because Electronic Arts developed a port for the Sony console using an outside company, and did not involve Valve.

Valve’s anticipated title ‘Left 4 Dead’ was originally announced for XBox360 and PC, but with no mention of exclusivity for Microsoft machines.

While Newell continues to rant against Playstation, Official Playstation ran a blurb stating ‘Valve’s survival horror game Left 4 Dead is coming to PS3, but EA is taking on development duties in-house.’

There is no source credited, but it sounds reasonable to me; it sounds like the exact situation that faced the release of Orange Box.

Earlier today, IGN made some phone calls and inquired about a PS3 version of the game. Doug Lombardo (Valve VP) was quoted as saying ‘there is no PS3 version of Left 4 Dead currently in production.’ apparently squashing the rumor.

I think there’s something else going on.

Recently in a shareholder’s call EA made it clear that PS3 game sales were the most profitable of their ventures during the last quarter.

If EA has the resources to focus on Left 4 Dead on Playstation 3, and has used those resources in the past to get Orange Box on another platform, doesn’t it make sense they would try to get the game on as many systems as possible? They ARE a business after all, I don’t think they’re allergic to money.

I think the most likely scenario is that L4D will come to XBox and PC first, with a PS3 version coming along 6-8 months later.

Perhaps Lombardo wasn’t in the loop, or perhaps he’s being literal and the PS3 version hasn’t started yet, waiting for the XBox version to be completed so EA’s PS3 team has a full code-base to port.

Either way, a nice ‘no comment’ would be preferrable to something misleading, and I think SOMEONE is lying.

When we figure out who, they can have my ‘Jackass of the Week’ award.

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3 Comments

  1. I can understand how you may feel on this blog post. But first you must consider that it’s not always just about money. If the developers aren’t really convinced with the Playstation 3, do you think they would make a port of the game that’s as good as the Xbox 360 version? Unlikely.

    Also, a major reason why Valve doesn’t want to bring their franchise to the PS3, is mainly due to patching. Think about it, PC has Steam, Xbox 360 has Xbox Live. Both of these online services are very popular due to their ease of patching and updating a game. As Valve are one of the few developers that constantly realease updates, the PS3 would ruin those traditions. I personally don’t think they would sell as much on the PS3 as they did on the PC and Xbox 360.

  2. Not trying to be hostile, but… didn’t you just invalidate your own point?

    If it’s not just about money, then why did you add the phrase ‘I personally don’t think they would sell as much on the PS3 as they did on the PC and Xbox 360.’?

    It’s your opinion, and maybe when it comes to units sold, you’d be right… but when it comes to PROFITS from each console, the story is quite different. On a per-unit basis, the PS3 is more profitable than the 360 OR the PC for Electronic Arts.

    Sound like I’m making stuff up? I can back it up.

    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Sony-039-s-PS3-Is-the-Moneymaker-for-EA-91156.shtml

    I tend to think you’re right though; it’s not about the money, it’s about Gabe Newell wanting to do things HIS way, and he doesn’t get the PS3 from a programming standpoint.

    Go dig up some quotes from the man, it’s clear that he doesn’t LIKE the platform, and he’s constantly whining that it’s hard to program for.

    I’d also like to point out that Gabe Newell and the ENTIRE brain trust at Valve are former Microsoft employees that made a fortune on MS stock… and used that money to found Valve. Oh yeah… they are also still holding a massive amount of MS stock.

    There’s your ulterior motive.

    Patching being an issue on the PS3? Nope… not a problem. You can patch just as quickly, and just as easily on a PS3. In fact, because of Microsoft’s draconian policies and ridiculously long certification process, it’s easier to patch a game on PS3.

    Since Valve runs Steam, and it’s a PC thing… yeah… patching on a PC is much easier than either console.

    All that aside, the orginal intent of this (old) article was to point out that EA and Valve are on different pages when it comes to Playstation titles.

    It’s pretty clear by now that EA has/had another team working on a port to PS3, and that Valve was unaware or didn’t want to admit it was happening.

    Did Valve flex some muscle or call in a favor to have it cancelled? Did the current economic climate cause a delay or cancellation? We may never know.

    What is for sure, it was in the works, and it still might be, but a consistent message and a definitive clarification from BOTH parties would be nice.

  3. Patching is a problem? Well if Valve would just put the game out in a working condition there would be no need for patching. (not just picking on valve, seems like it is every game company now)


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