L4DMods.com have released this interview with Chet Faliszek, one of the writers behind the game (and also The Orange Box), which is heavily focused on the subtly-told story behind it and how it was developed. Watch the video interview here.
I got Left 4 Dead for Christmas but for various reasons had been unable to really sit down and properly play it until yesterday. It's a great game and deserves all the praise it gets and I can't wait to see more from this talented team. I'm really hoping for a little bit more plot revelation in future updates and possibly some variations on the objectives. All four campaigns centre around the same 'get to the evacuation zone to be picked up' goal, but there is really so much more that can be done with the setting. Some of the developer commentary (great feature, by the way) states how players quickly get sick of the same cut scenes over and over again, but what about radio messages that we can choose to ignore if we're not interested? What about story told through actions and goals? Even just clues to more back story. How about replacing one of the 'escape this location alive' missions with a 'find a lost survivor' mission? The gameplay would be exactly the same, you could easily do it with hardly any extra dialogue, yet the objective and purpose would be different and certainly more meaningful. What makes this individual so important that four others risk their lives for him/her? How have they survived this long on their own? How did they come to be separated from everyone else? There are many, many possibilites and they don't have to be relegated to cutscenes which is what people seem to automatically assume when they hear the word 'story'.
Actually I've got so many ideas waiting to burst out. Now I just can't wait for Valve to update the Source SDK so we can start creating maps for Left 4 Dead.