May 15, 2014

Left 4 Dead Arrives In Japan - As An Arcade Game?

Valve and Turtle Rock's Left 4 Dead franchise has been out and going strong for years now, spawning a sequel (Or two), selling millions of copies on Steam and consoles and being a key player in the zombie genre revival that's been prevalent over the last few years. A new trailer unveiled yesterday shows off a new entry into the franchise called Left 4 Dead - Survivors which will be making it's debut in Japanese arcades relatively soon with field tests at the end of the month.

Developed by Taito, who have had a relationship with Valve since 2006 in creating some truly unique arcade adaptations of their core franchises, this looks like it's shaping up to be a more streamlined version of the core L4D cooperative experience with a series of networked arcade cabinets. You might ask yourself how on earth a first person shooter like this will work without a traditional mouse or keyboard setup, but we have a few ideas.

Half Life 2: Survivor took the classic sequel and condensed the entire experience into a more arcadey dual joystick shooter with a much more linear progression throughout. While the story remained relatively the same, a timer option added quite a bit of stress to wrapping up the campaign. The title was also networked with other machines to offer multiplayer modes, including a coop option.

CounterStrike NEO was an even stranger breed, taking the classic gameplay of the Terrorist Vs Counter Terrorist premise and reskinning it to have cyborg characters with an anime aesthetic, female announcers and maps I've never seen before. The arcade version actually had a rudimentary mouse and keyboard setup with a 'profile card' system that would allow players to store their stats and settings.

So why all these arcade ports of titles that could be easily purchased on Steam and other platforms? It's been pretty well documented that Japan's gaming community has always been lukewarm at best towards first person shooters, so this is yet another attempt by Valve to acquaint Japanese audiences with their franchises in a more palatable, convenient format. Left 4 Dead - Survivor will be premiering in arcades sometime this summer.

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