Tonight is the night Left 4 Dead 2 is released. In fact, I’ll be playing it in less than an hour. But first I want to post about something I discovered in the demo a few weeks ago and didn’t get around to writing about until now.
Shortly before the demo was released something had occurred to me: Left 4 Dead has a very specific “mythos” concerning zombies that sets it apart as something the makers of the game have gone to great lengths to think about and detail both what is seen in the game and the back story that you don’t see. The way the infection works is particular to the L4D universe and not quite like any of the many zombie movies/games that has come before.
Central to the whole L4D setting is the concept of “Immune” people who are immune to the virus that has affected most of the human population in the setting. Each of the main characters in both L4D and L4D2 are immune to the virus and won’t get infected no matter how badly they are injured.
Another interesting thing about them is that they’re all really, really, tough. In-game, the main characters can get repeatedly scraped, slashed, bitten, punched, and generally take a lot of damage compared to normal people in real life. A certain amount of this can be excused as “action movie logic”, but what if the “Immune” are actually a type of Infected, just like Tanks, Boomers, Witches, and so on?
What if they are Carriers?
Now this would be a very interesting plot twist: The reason most everyone the Survivors meet seem doomed to become Infected is not because they happen to already be infected, but because the Survivors are infecting them. Or even maybe they’re not, but the military thinks they are, which is why the Survivors of L4D2 are abandoned by the military in the demo’s opening cinematic.
One also has to wonder, if this is all true and considering the link to zombie-virus and super-soldier experiments in other zombie milieus, if perhaps the “immune” characters were the original goal of the virus. Perhaps the outbreak and all the other kinds of Infected are unfortunate side-effects.
For about another half-hour this is all just wild speculation, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the grafitti just in case.
EDIT: I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t played, but the ending of the fifth campaign is a lot more interesting if you’re paying attention to the subtle clues. Especially the dialogue between the soldier on the radio and whichever character is using the radio.