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Gabe Newell Comes Good on Australian Visit Promise
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 03:28pm 07/10/09 | Comments
AusGamers breifly catches up with Valve's Gabe Newell during his whirlwind visit to Australia...

As promised, AusGamers went down to check out what was happening at the Park Hyatt in Sydney, where renowned Valve head, Gabe Newell, was hanging out, apparently to catch up with a Brisbane native now attending RMIT in Melbourne to study game design.

The whole scenario, to be bluntly honest, was really quite weird. If you aren't aware of how it all happened, Gabe was asked by a local modder by the name of Joe W-A to check out his mod. Gabe jokingly responded that he would if Joe could fly him to Australia. Joe rallied the gaming community and managed to raise 3K to bring Gabe out, at which point the Valve head was forced to call the young man's bluff.

This all lead us to the event today, which saw Joe and Gabe meeting in person for the first time, alongside a little spiel from Gabe regarding the strength of the PC gaming community, Valve's continued support of modders and their creativity and freedom finishing with a final touch on the state-of-play for Left 4 Dead 2.

So ultimately Gabe gave us info and just how and why he was standing before us, but threw up some stats for us to eat up, such as Valve having some 170,000 servers worldwide, apparently generating more internet traffic than all of Italy and continually pointed out the strength and foundation of PC gaming and its legions of communities. Valve wouldn't exist without them, and Counter-Strike, arguably the most played action title in history, began its life as a community-created game based on what gamers wanted to play.

In support of this, Valve are working on a community funding mechanism to empower young people like Joe with monetary incentive or help (the model is still being worked out) so they can get their creative juices flowing and maintained, through a bit of a Q&A with the media on-hand, that consoles simply can't support community the same way PC can.

Left 4 Dead 2 came up on the cards, and we were told the situation here in Australia will see Valve continuing their appeal of the Refused Classification the game recently received. But a modified version of the game, he and Valve believe is in line with what the ratings board are after has also been submitted, as the ultimate goal will be to ensure Australia does not miss the November 17 launch of the game.

The question was raised as to what the situation would be if the appeal were eventually successful after the modified version had been released to which Gabe responded PC owners of the game would simply get a free update which would convert the game back to its original form, but couldn't specify how it would work for the console version because of all the red-tape and lengthy approval processes involved with each release and update console games go through.

I mentioned how shitty they must be after including the cricket bat and Australia jersey-wearing zombie and Gabe said he'd be looking at doing something special in the Australian release related to that because of this whole debacle. But ultimately, their goal is to have the original version released, it's simply that the appeal process is lengthy and drawn out and they don't want to mess with their launch plans, but even asked we refrain from asking what has been changed for the modified version, because the more media attention it grabs the worse it is for them, and he seemed confident we'd be seeing the game as it was intended to be released in Australia.

After all of this, we got some hands-on time with the "Parish" section of the game, which I'll go into detail about later with a full hands-on report.

So there you have it - Gabe's whirlwind visit to Australia solidified his and Valve's commitment to their community, the continued and elevated support of the PC platform and their overall desire to ensure Aussies are playing Left 4 Dead 2 the way it was meant to be played.

Latest Comments
Posted 03:57pm 07/10/09
I wonder if the issue with the media attention of the modifications is purely for a sense if a certain percentage of the community find out a certain feature they were buying the game for is not being included in the original Australian version they won't buy the game. Alternatively sales are effected by a boycott to buying a censored version. I doubt valve would have issues with people importing copies from overseas (although they do tend to be cheaper).

IMO the more attention it gets with the media and the more outcry we get from the community there is the subsequent more pressure to get our ratings system over hauled. As long as its the lesser known titles being refused classification I don't see a big push for the overhaul. Whether it is pressure of the AGs to change their minds or an overhaul on who gets to make the decision something needs to happen.
Posted 04:00pm 07/10/09
The problem is the sensationalist media will pick it up and go off on all this bulls*** on how the game should stay banned etc.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 04:02pm 07/10/09
I don't think so... they don't really have a leg to stand on given the first game made it through unscathed.

The actual problem came about because EA sent the game to the Ratings Board assuming it would be fine because the first game was, however, the first game was shown to them in a contextual, controlled situation, whereas no one demoed the game this time, they just sent it in thinking it would be okay. Big mistake.
Posted 04:04pm 07/10/09
IMO it's really in the best long-term interests of Australia gamers if this one stays RC'd. As binny points out, as long as it's only lesser known titles being refused, not enough people are going to care to push for an R18+ rating.

As soon as more titles with the kind of profile that L4D2 has start getting banned, enough people might start paying attention to the larger problem.

And it's not like most of you couldn't find a way to play L4D2 even if it stays RC anyway.
Posted 04:06pm 07/10/09
I'd rather not play it then have the censored version. But that's just me.
Posted 04:10pm 07/10/09
Yeah but if it stays RC'd in AUS what will happen to AUS servers and player population.

Plus that south australian d******* wont care.

I do like the idea of patching the modified version back to the intended version after release - stick it to the man you naughty codgers!

last edited by ctd at 16:10:27 07/Oct/09
Posted 04:08pm 07/10/09
If we get a censored version I hope they hot coffee the s*** out of it with some hardcore zombie porn!@#
Posted 04:30pm 07/10/09
I'm with you, Dan. I'm enjoying how the current RC classification of L4D2 has sparked up discussion - particularly in gaming demographics which would otherwise be unheard from - specifically, female gamers.

I think female gamers will be a particularly powerful group moving forward for influencing ratings and other such decisions. It's too easy to point to teenage males and say "GTA makes that guy drive like a d*******" - but it's much much more difficult to do the same for a female gaming demographic.

Here's an excerpt from an FB friend who changed her status the day the RC came out.

Posted 04:23pm 07/10/09
Another example from chick gamers.

Posted 04:30pm 07/10/09
I'm biting my tongue not to say something about Pinky's post. I heard someone say the other day that DLC skips classification. So basically, all they need to do is tone down the game for release, and then have a patch that puts it all back.

Problem solved?
Posted 04:36pm 07/10/09
ill be importing if its rc'd
Posted 04:36pm 07/10/09
I'm biting my tongue not to say something about Pinky's post. I heard someone say the other day that DLC skips classification. So basically, all they need to do is tone down the game for release, and then have a patch that puts it all back.

Problem solved?

Go on, say it. I can handle it. Don't fight the urge!!

Also, problem not solved - because some uppity do-gooder will find out about the DLC and it will become an issue which will only end in tears (e.g., a lot lot more pressure on content delivery methods like Steam).
Posted 05:57pm 07/10/09
good news i guess
it's good that we have valve backing the game so well in aus, do you suppose having the head of valve down here would put any pressure on the oflc, or not?
Posted 06:04pm 07/10/09
Yer maybe if he sits on them or something.
Posted 06:13pm 07/10/09
Posted 07:01pm 07/10/09
Love Gabe, fighting for Australians.. and Kiwis living in Aus. :)
Posted 08:30pm 07/10/09
Steve Farrelly
Posted 08:54pm 07/10/09
haha the green hat in camera is me!!!
Posted 08:55pm 07/10/09
My friend went to the public event, turns out he was the only one who went so he got to go out for lunch with gabe and the gang. Lucky bastard got to play l4d2 with them.
Posted 09:29pm 07/10/09
haha the modder guy is pretty nervous.

Edit: sweet video. I would like to know what he thought about the mod. MORE VIDS!

Valve is the f*****g shizzle.

last edited by ctd at 21:29:48 07/Oct/09
Posted 09:25pm 07/10/09
Cool vid
Steve Farrelly
Posted 09:30pm 07/10/09
actually, any Sydney-siders, I've been invited to join the panel next week discussing gaming communities - if you want to come along, just check out this link: http://byteside.com/byteside-live-audience-rsvp/
Posted 09:31pm 07/10/09
Steve Farrelly
Posted 09:31pm 07/10/09
Posted 09:45pm 07/10/09
Would consider if in Melb. But it's not. So I won't. Let me know when one is in a real city, like Melbourne for example.
Posted 10:35pm 07/10/09
heres a vid of the event


That would be steve's head in the bottom :D

actually, any Sydney-siders, I've been invited to join the panel next week discussing gaming communities - if you want to come along, just check out this link: http://byteside.com/byteside-live-audience-rsvp/

I've been to both of them so far and its been entertaining, im sure you'll have fun. See ya there.
Posted 10:01pm 07/10/09
Fark Steven I had a question for you to ask gabe but totally forgot about it until that vid refreshed my memory.

It was about that community investment idea but I saw a video on the tubes with him he kinda explained it a bit more.

Independent devs Unknown Worlds opened up pre-orders for their game natural selection 2 really early to assist in funding development, even though it is not really investing it achieves the same thing - to help a game get made that you think will be really cool.
Posted 09:13am 08/10/09
modified version got a ma15+ rating

Posted 10:09am 08/10/09
Interesting ravn0s. Hope the appeal comes through.
Posted 10:18am 08/10/09
I've heard that valve submitted an edited version just incase the appeal doesn't go through, and that is what has been rated MA15+.
Posted 10:23am 08/10/09
Hence ravn0s' use of the adjective 'modified'...

People say that I'm patronising. That means I treat people as inferior to me.

(Get it? Get it?)

Steve Farrelly
Posted 11:09am 08/10/09
That was always going to happen, now the plan is for Valve and EA Au to follow up on the appeal, which if fails, they'll resort to releasing the modified version, but if not, and it's in production time, we'll be killing zombies the way it was intended to be done.

(Also, just FYI, because the game refers to zombies as "infected" that's where the classification board's confusion came in - if they'd just changed it to "zombie" for them, none of this would have happened)
Posted 11:37am 08/10/09
my understanding was that we get the modified version no matter what, but if the appeal is succesful, we will download an update off steam to enable the full version.
Posted 11:38am 08/10/09
People say that I'm patronising. That means I treat people as inferior to me.

It mean's when you talk down to someone.
Posted 11:45am 08/10/09
Does anyone know the mods that have been implemented?
Steve Farrelly
Posted 11:46am 08/10/09
Pinky - no, they won't say.

ravn0s - no, if the appeal comes through in time, it'll be like the modified version never existed, they're just hedging their bets so they don't lose too much momentum at retail by missing their intended launch date
Posted 11:58am 08/10/09
So does anyone know if we can pre-order this on steam yet?
Posted 12:02pm 08/10/09
Consumer Advice: Strong bloody violence

Pfft i'm not going to go out and make a bloody scene with violence using strength. Who are they to tell me what to do?
Posted 03:37pm 08/10/09
“The board notes that the game no longer contains depictions of decapitation, dismemberment, wound detail or piles of dead bodies lying about the environment,” the report said.

“No wound detail is shown and the implicitly dead bodies and blood splatter disappear as they touch the ground.”


holy s*** we're getting the german version :(
Posted 04:06pm 08/10/09
Hi fallout 3!

So the above is perfectly fine with it's exploding bodies, corpses strung up by chains all over the place etc. Even L4D1 had all that stuff. Explain to me where the logic/consistency is here? I'm really not seeing any...

last edited by darkjedi at 16:06:42 08/Oct/09
Posted 04:10pm 08/10/09
from what I heard, EA just sent the game in without anyone to demonstrate it. Apparently if you send someone in to do a presentation you can get away with almost anything.
Posted 04:34pm 08/10/09
lol @ some of the comments on that news dot com dot au article.

Go and kick a footy rather than rotting your brains with this crap... Ban it I say there is enough rubbish already polluting the minds of our children

Posted by: mick 3:58pm today

What if it's raining, mick? What if it's raining?

Posted by: Mark of Gosford 4:06pm today

I'm 29 years old... decapitated zombies lying on the ground in a video game frighten me senseless. Fortunately I have my faith in Jesus Christ to help get me through moments of violent gaming. Heaven forbid an R18+ game rating... I'd need to double my weekly dose of Church to keep my ticket through the Pearly Gates.

Posted by: Adam 3:57pm today

For all you ADULTS who only want to choose for yourselves, and 'how dare anyone tell me what I can watch', how about thinking what the big picture is here? You get to watch this by choice, then someone else says, 'hey, I've got to beat that,' so they come up with something more shocking next time. Then the next one gets worse and so on. Then because so many people are indulging in even more horrific forms of 'entertainment', some idiots begin to act it out. then we have what we're clearly heading towards now, with all the anti-social behaviours, depravity, paedophiles, crime etc in our almost anarchistic society where individual rights seem to come before the rights of everyone to live in peace! This is absolutely undeniable cause and effect. It's not the only thing, but it's a significant thing. Grow up and think of someone besides yourselves for a change.

Posted by: Peter of Perth 3:52pm today
Posted 04:59pm 08/10/09
Well I wasn't looking to buy L4D 2 anyway...but I sure as hell am not going to if it has been modified. What about buying it from the US even though it is on Steam? Do they let you do that?
Posted 05:12pm 08/10/09
Yes YES, now leave me with my happy thoughts of dead naked men hanging on a cross from nails punched through their hands and feet with a hat made of nails poking into their heads for weeks untill they starve to death and die, IT'S MUCH MORE PEACFUL!!!


Oh Humanity... Never fail to make me laugh.
Posted 05:28pm 08/10/09
human thought processes suck.

i am a raccoon raccoons are better
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