Left 4 Dead 2 was built from the ground up and used material and ideas from the development of the original Left 4 Dead. Left 4 D ead 2 remained largely the same over the course of its development with very few changes made until the game’s release. In a nut shell, most of the concepts that weren’t incorporated into the original Left 4 Dead were incorporated into Left 4 Dead 2.
Disclaimer: What is documented in this analysis is quoted from left4dead.wikia.com. Most of the images are from IGN.com and the beta & leftover item images are from www.Left4dead.wikia.com
[Article by DCodes 7, corrections by Nate Edwards]
The survivors changed (somewhat) over the course of Left 4 Dead 2’s development, but didn’t change as much as the survivors from Left 4 Dead 1 had. Left 4 Dead 2’s survivors changed solely in terms of color scheme and back-story.
For example, the developers changed coach’s shirt from a yellow & turquoise color scheme in the beta to a purple & yellow color scheme in the final.
Rochelle also received a color change as well. In the beta her shirt was a bright orange T-Shirt, whereas in the final version, her shirt was a pink Depeche Mode T-shirt.
Ellis, on the other hand, received significant changes over the course of his character development, more than any other character. Very early on, Ellis wore blue jeans, a green hat, and a grey shirt. That outfit was later changed to baggy tan pants, a grey and blue sleeve shirt, and a blue hat with a red cross on the front (Note: That blue hat, in other screenshots, shows a tow truck on the front instead of a red cross).
The final survivor in Left 4 Dead 2 is Nick. Nick’s character model didn’t change at all, but his backstory was completely different in the concept stages of development:
Source: Developer commentary / Quoted from: left4dead.wikia.com
“The writers originally devised a biography for a convict character. There was an idea that here in the lawless world of the infected, this escaped convict, sick of wearing prison clothes, had taken the effort to loot a very expensive white suit from an abandoned clothing store. He might as well survive the apocalypse in style! This concept gradually evolved into the riverboat gambler.”
Special Infected & The Fallen Survivor
Originally the spitters’ spit was bright orange, instead of the bright lime-green color used in the final version.
The jokey originally had large claws.
Quoting from left4dead.wikia.com, the charger evolved over the course of its development.
“Concept art shows that the developers had planned for the Charger to be either a large zombie with an armored upper skull yet tiny ‘T-Rex arms’ or a ‘tripod’ dog-like animal. Traits of both can be seen in the final version: the Charger has three functional limbs and one floppy tiny arm, as well as an exposed skull.
Before the Charger’s design was finalized, it used a re-skinned Hunter model so that the team could test out how the Charger would play while the art team was designing it. When the Charger design was finished, like any other Infected, they recorded temporary sounds. The Charger’s temporary warning call was “AY!AY!AY!”, as said in the Developer’s Commentary.
The Charger had many different series of attacks and went through multiple versions with different twists on his charge attack. In one version of his build, his charge attack caused him to trample over Survivors rather than grab them, and his melee attack was replaced with an overhead strike that smashed the Survivor to the floor before the Charger started pounding them. This behavior can be seen here. In another build, the Charger used to use his mutated arm during his charge. At this point in the game, the Charger would stop after grabbing a Survivor; however, when the Charger could carry the first Survivor they tackled, this animation was cut.
When most of the Charger’s model was finalized, he had a much more bloody and gaunt face that exposed his skull”
The re-skinned hunter can be found below, near the end of the analysis.
The fallen survivor made its appearance in the DLC, “The Passing.” Originally, the fallen survivor was going to be included in Left 4 Dead 2, but he was scrapped in the end. The fallen survivor is still in the game’s files and can be spawned using console commands.
“He was going to be in Left 4 Dead 2 from the start, but was cut from the final version due to people having trouble in the beta version with him. He can be seen here, with mods, however, it is extremely glitchy and you will collide with his body, or rather, where his items are. If you pick up the items, which sadly become invisible upon his death, it will make you lose your primary weapon, and get the HUD icon it would give you if you got a real pipebomb/molotov/pills/medkit, but you can’t use the item. Getting your or another weapon will cause you to lose his item. His character model is nearly identical to that of Whitaker. He can also be seen briefly in the “Zombie Survival Guide”, running towards the Survivors in The Plantation. He can also be spawned by a console command.”
Video posted by YouTube user: MarphitimusBlackimus
In the beta, the ammo upgrades would be deployed and ready for when the player(s) discover them. The game also points out the ammo upgrades with a message displayed on screen, directing the player(s) to the ammo upgrades, as seen in this screenshot below. Also note that you can take ammo upgrades more than once from the same ammo upgrade box.
Note: all items (weapons, health, weapon upgrades, etc) are spawned by the AI director.
(Cut) Ammo Pack:
There were also ammo packs. The ammo packs would replenish the player(s)’ primary weapons and would take the slot where the med-pack would go. The ammo pack was ultimately cut from Left 4 Dead 2. However the ammo pack texture can still be found in the games files.
Ammo pack texture from www.Left4dead.wikia.com.
Beta Melee Weapons:
The cricket bat changed during initial development. The cricket bat originally had a white and blue color scheme; this was changed to a simple wood finish in the final version.
As posted by ace.dark on the U64 forums, there are unused sounds of melee weapons breaking in the games files. Quoting ace.dark:
# Originally the melee weapons were supposed to break after prolonged use, but the development team ultimately decided against it after testing. Break sounds for the Axe and Frying Pan weapons can still be found in the game files.
the riot shield is a scrapped weapon in Left 4 Dead 2. It can be accessed on the PC version using command codes. Image from: www.Left4dead.wikia.com
E3 2009 Stage Demo:
AtE3 2009, Left 4 Dead 2 was first introduced and available for play. The Left 4 Dead 2 stage demo at the event showcases the parish chapter of the game. Comparing the E3 Demo to the final product, the E3 demo showcases certain differences not seen in the final. The listed differences are explained below…
The parish campaign originally contained CEDA zombies. In the final, The CEDA zombies are exclusive to the Dead Center campaign and any and all CEDA zombies were removed from the parish.
(Parish campiagn, chapter 2) Missing ambulance, replaced with military vehicle:
Different warning and caution signs:
While testing and developing Left 4 Dead 2, some items and enemies were re-skinned and were used as temporary placeholders while the official models (and animations) were created. Some of the re-skinned/temporary placeholder items and enemies can be found in the games code.
The hunter model was re-skinned and used as a temporary placeholder for the charger, while the charger model was being completed.
The same can be said for the pill bottle and med kit, both of which were re-skinned and used as placeholders. The re-skinned pill bottle was used as a placeholder for the adrenaline shot and the re-skinned med kit was used a placeholder for the defibrillator. Both of the re-skinned health items can be found in the games files.
Note: Currently there is no image of the re-skinned health kit