So I did a little digging after my last post because I wanted to learn more about the L4D universe. And I must say, I was wrong on it simply being alright. It’s actually pretty great. At least one of their plot lines are. The rest of my post will have spoilers, but to be fair, the game came out five years ago.
I noticed that there were only three of the four original survivors while I was doing The Passing campaign and not having ever played the first game in the franchise, I had to look up the missing guy… whose corpse I saw in game: Bill Overbeck.
What I liked about L4D (after some research) is that they did not solely reveal their story through the games. On a slightly different note, apparently, the cutscenes were too long and they actually shortened it so that players can get on with the game. It would be interesting to see what the original scenes looked like. However, L4D has an online comic which helps to depict the ending of the story for the franchise’s original survivors, which we got a brief glimpse at in the campaign The Sacrifice. Here’s the link for it.
We are taken back not only to relive the events of The Sacrifice, but given details of each original survivor’s past: Zoey and how she had to kill her own father; Francis and his past on being on the wrong side of the law; Louis and how he was an ordinary cubical worker; Bill and his past as a hardy veteran who had served during the Vietnam war. Through the comic, we can observe the relationships of these four characters. Zoey and Bill’s relationship stood out to me the most. To me, Zoey sees Bill as a father figure, and he takes a very defensive stance against anyone who would hurt her. To build on their relationship, during the game, if Zoey’s character dies, Bill reacts quite strongly (“Aghh…not [tearing up] Zoey…”). It was very difficult for me to read the comics and see this relationship reveal itself since through the game, I know Bill dies. Needless to say, I did cry as I got to the end of the comics. Bill also mentions, as he’s making his sacrifice, that he’s tired of how every time he thinks “she” is safe, they just go right back into a pile of problems. He is definitely talking about Zoey, and although he is sacrificing himself for the whole team, I believe a lot of that had to do with Zoey.
Here is the accompanying trailer that hints at Bill’s sacrifice (with Zoey’s reaction to when he makes his decision to do so), and he looks pretty badass. Props to the people at Valve who managed to make me feel this deeply about a character death in a game where dying isn’t exactly a rare event. Transmedia storytelling is awesome.