Valve Software is notorious for never following up on their most beloved franchises. It’s been years since we had a new Half-Life, Portal or Left 4 Dead, and there are no signs of them returning anytime soon. All of which makes the appearance of what certainly looks like a trailer for Left 4 Dead 3 worthy of some excitement. The preview, which popped up on a random YouTube account earlier today and has caused a bit of commotion in the community, can be seen up above.
Of course, the big question is whether this is a genuine leak from Valve or not. At the moment, we can’t say for sure either way, but let’s start with the positives. It’s certainly a good-looking trailer, showing a great grasp of atmosphere, lighting, modeling and materials rendering. The gore we see is almost gruesomely wet and detailed, and the environmental design is worthy of Valve. Plus, we know that the game was in some stage of development at one point.
But sadly, I think this is just a case of a talented fan showing off rather than a confirmation that Left 4 Dead 3 is in development. The telling factor for me – and this goes for a lot of fan-made videos – is that the trailer contains no character animation. It’s just about plausible for an individual to render a near-photorealistic environment and pan a camera ominously through it, but professional quality animation is usually a step too far for a hobbyist.
After all, Valve have access to some very talented character animators and a fully-fledged motion capture studio, and if this were a real announcement, we likely would’ve seen something moving in the frame. Whoever this artist is though should probably reveal themselves soon, as they might just get some job offers from a few studios.
So, while this trailer may not be the real deal, it’s not all doom and gloom for fans of the franchise. The original Left 4 Dead devs recently announced Back 4 Blood, which looks set to be a spiritual sequel. As yet, we don’t have many specifics on when that’ll be out, but if you want PvE zombie action with a smattering of fun storytelling, it looks to be your best ticket in the near future.