Original Survivors Get Chatty In Left 4 Dead 2's The Passing

I wasn't able to spot one of the new "fallen survivors" of Left 4 Dead 2's upcoming map pack, The Passing, but I did find one of its new weapons, a monstrous machine gun.

I grabbed it while playing through a chunk of the second map, tearing through zombies with abandon until I burnt through the weapon's ammo.

Left 4 Dead 2's March-scheduled three-map add-on, The Passing, picks up after players in Valve's hit sequel escape Liberty Mall in Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s car. There is, Valve's Chet Faliszek tells me, a moment when the cast of the original Left 4 Dead runs into the cast of Left 4 Dead 2 at the opening of the first map.

While the original game's cast isn't playable, not in this add-on at least, they also aren't just scene-setting wallflowers.

"That intro scene, there are thirty-something versions of that," Faliszek said. "Pretend these guys had an hour-long conversation. We don't want to make you sit and watch an hour-long movie, so we're going to dice it up and give it to you in different ways."

The two crews run into each other again at the conclusion of The Passing's third map, just before the add-on pack slips neatly back into Left 4 Dead 2's original gameplay of the Dark Carnival.

"Depending on how it started, you'll have different conversations there as well," Faliszek said.

The second map, playable at this week's Microsoft X10 event in San Francisco, featured a small coastal Georgia town packed with picturesque brick buildings, a quaint downtown.. and zombies.

Faliszek said that, while the area has "Savannah influences," like the series of walkways found early in the first map, it is an entirely fictional place. The team had initially played with the notion of basing The Passing on Atlanta, but decided it made more sense to create their own town, he added.

Some of The Passing will also make an appearance in the still unnamed add-on pack coming to the original Left 4 Dead as well, though none of the Left 4 Dead 2 cast will be in that pack.

The notion of tying the two casts together in an add-on pack was something Valve has been playing around with since before the second game was announced, he said.

"We talked about the digital comic and lead up before Left 4 Dead 2 was announced, and that was the genesis for all of this interaction between the two games," Faliszek said.

The price and exact release date for the two add-on packs have not yet been announced, but Faliszek says that the plan is to release The Passing in March and the pack for the original Left 4 Dead a couple of months later.