The old saying goes that Valve can't count to three, and so far, the company has proven that to be true. While Valve has released critically-acclaimed sequels to many of its games, it always seems to stop short before releasing the third main series game, instead opting to release spin-offs or ignore the franchise entirely. This holds true for Valve's Left 4 Dead franchise, publishing the original Left 4 Dead in 2008, the sequel in 2009, and having made no announcements for Left 4 Dead 3 in the decade since.
Just like many fans are still holding out hope that Valve will one day move forward with Half-Life 3 or Portal 3, many are still keeping their fingers crossed for Left 4 Dead 3. Left 4 Dead 3 rumors have persisted over the years thanks to fake leaks and outdated information, but it seems as though the company is not moving forward with a new game in the co-op zombie-killing series. And at this point, it may be better if Valve leaves the franchise to rest.
The main reason why Valve may want to leave Left 4 Dead 3 on the backburner for now is the imminent release of Back 4 Blood. Developed by original Left 4 Dead studio Turtle Rock, Back 4 Blood is essentially Left 4 Dead 3 anyway. While it has had to use a different name and change what the enemies are called, it's no secret that Back 4 Blood is meant to be a spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, and from the looks of it, it will greatly appeal to fans of the franchise.
Back 4 Blood is basically Left 4 Dead, but with a ton more content. This means fans can look forward to more playable characters, more enemy types to deal with, more weapons to use, and much more. Back 4 Blood even uses the Director system from Left 4 Dead, showing that the similarities between the two games run deep. However, Back 4 Blood is looking to update the Left 4 Dead formula for modern audiences, introducing live service elements while significantly improving the graphics.
Assuming it lives up to expectations, Back 4 Blood's existence makes a Left 4 Dead 3 seem pointless by comparison. Not only that, but the games would have to compete with one another, with one potentially cannibalizing the player base of the other. With Back 4 Blood playing so similarly to the Left 4 Dead franchise as it is, Left 4 Dead 3 is made redundant.
If Back 4 Blood is a flop or if some time passes and it's no longer a hot game, then moving forward with Left 4 Dead 3 might make a little more sense. However, there are some other Valve franchises that are more urgently in need of a sequel before Left 4 Dead 3. Not only have some Valve fans been waiting for sequels to their favorite games much longer than Left 4 Dead enthusiasts, but there are some cliffhangers that still have yet to be resolved in a meaningful way.
The big one is obviously Half-Life 3, which fans have been waiting to see for over a decade now. Half-Life: Alyx helped fill the gap a little bit, but its status as a virtual reality game severely limits its potential player base and not only that, the game is a prequel to Half-Life 2 and not a proper Half-Life 3. Fans are still waiting on concrete answers for some of the loose threads left by Half-Life 2, and so Half-Life 3 seems like it should be at the top of the company's game development list.
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