- "Alright, rescue's on the way, now we gotta hold out."
- "I have not...come this far...to die now!"
- "They're gonna swarm when we come in, stock up and radio back when you are ready."
- ―John Slater
The Finale of a campaign is its last or final chapter. Rather than going to a new Safe room, the Survivors move to a specific area where they initiate a rescue call, which also starts a massive Crescendo Event. They then hold out through waves of Infected until a Rescue vehicle arrives or is ready to save the Survivors. To finish the campaign, all of the living and stable Survivors must enter the rescue vehicle. Tanks spawn at specific times throughout the level (as in when enough Infected are killed), rather than randomly, and Witches do not spawn after the finale starts. Left 4 Dead 2 features four unique finales that differ from the above formula.
Players are given a long amount of time to start up their defences (with the exception of The Atrium and The Port) before starting it off. Depending on what map they are playing, and how nice the Director is, players should expect some throwable items, and some gas cans and other items. Players should stock up from a previous part to make sure they can succeed more likely on harder difficulties. They should always have a following criteria:
- 2 or more people should carry Ammo upgrade packs if possible. Keep in mind, however, that on higher difficulties explosive rounds can cause dangerous friendly fire situations.
- If using rare weapons, they should not use them for an ideal purpose. They should only be used against Tanks and Special Infected or masses of Common Infected.
- Plan an escape route in case things take a turn for the worst.
- Place gas cans, propane, and other similar objects in choke points (in the game, this alone can make you succeed more likely.) Never place more then one destroyable object in a choke point, for example: It is not recommended to combine a Propane Tank with Fireworks/Gas cans, even if a Tank should spawn. Instead, keep a stockpile of these objects with you, and when the item in the choke point has been used, throw another one out and light it up.
- The "weapon swapping" method. This way, players can have a backup weapon should their primary run out of ammo, and they cannot refill it.
- Keep multiple molotovs or gas cans available for tank spawns at all times. Tanks take significant damage from being set on fire, and the fire cannot be extinguished unless the tank steps into water (many campaigns and areas have no water available for a tank to extinguish himself. It is worth noting that setting a tank on fire will make it faster.
- Also keep at least one pipe bomb or bile jar available to distract infected if a situation gets dangerous (i.e., a dying teammate mobbed by commons)
These are the MOST important rules for surviving a Finale; if one of these rules are violated, it can make the players loss more likely. However Ammo upgrade packs are normally used immediately after found, so players who are aware of the difficulty of the chapter's finale should keep them.
Finale Area Edit
Finale areas are designed for finale to take place. Aside from the Boathouse Finale, the Cut-throat Creek Finale, and The Bridge Finale, the finale areas are usually separated from the rest of the map area by a one way drop, gate, or elevator that will close after the finale starts. (Finales cannot be started before all survivors who are alive have passed this gate or entered the elevator.)
In Campaign or Single player mode, the infected will stop spawning after all survivors enter the finale area, take care not to accidentally leave the area or the AI director will almost always spawn a horde along with some Special Infected, as it views the Survivors haven't encounter them for long. In Versus mode the Special Infected players can still spawn so it is better for the Survivor team to start the finale as soon as possible.
Supplies can be found around the finale area, including:
- 4 First Aid Kits, AI director may spawn additional First Aid Kit around the area.
- Ammo pile, Boathouse Finale and Farmhouse Finale features 2 ammo piles, while the rest only have 1.
- Weapons, usually includes 3 Tier 2 weapons (In Town Escape, Finale area will only have 2 Tier 1 weapon and a Hunting Rifle instead), a pistol, and sometimes a few melee weapons.
- Other supplies, this varies with the finale playing, AI director's mood, and difficulty (although most if not all finales have grenades, alternate health items and defibrillators available at some point). Most Finales feature some items that will always spawn at the same place.
In Left 4 Dead, Campaign or Single player mode, Finale area will also have a rescue closet, but it will only respawn survivors who have fallen before starting the finale.
When deciding the spot to hold up, Survivors should take consider of the location of ammo pile, as well as the other supplies that Survivors didn't carry with them.
Most finales consist of five waves. Even though the Survivors are given a time frame for the arrival of the rescue vehicle, it could take longer or shorter than this time depending on how long it takes the Survivors to make it through each wave. There is a brief grace period between waves for the Survivors to heal, back up, or move to different defense positions for different enemies.
Note that once the Finale starts, the Special infected, aside from the Tank and the Witch, will continuously spawn, even during the grace periods.
In Left 4 Dead Versus mode, once the Finale starts, Special Infected spawning mode, as well as the waiting time between death, will be removed. Instead, the Special Infected will be randomly spawned around the area immediately upon death. After the Survival Pack update, the waiting time was reintroduced.
First wave Edit
The first wave does not begin until the Survivors have used the radio to call for help, started the concert in The Concert Finale, or have started the fuel pump in the Runway Finale. This wave consists of three to four groups of Hordes. It begins roughly ten seconds after the countdown has been initiated, and is signified by a loud cry from the Infected.
Second wave Edit
The second wave begins after all of the Common Infected from the first wave are killed. The second wave consists of a Tank. No Common Infected will spawn during this wave unless a Survivor is covered in Boomer Bile or a Bile Bomb is thrown. This wave ends when the Tank is dead. There will be a brief grace period before the third wave.
The third wave is another round of hordes, except they are bigger and more numerous. Special Infected also appear more frequently during this wave. However, the following grace period is considerably longer; Survivors should especially take advantage of this time to heal up and grab ammo/throwables.
Fourth wave Edit
This wave starts after the Common Infected from the third wave are eliminated. The fourth wave is another Tank. This Tank usually attacks from a different direction than the first Tank attacked from and, the same as the second wave, there is no horde, unless any Boomer vomits on you, or someone throws a Bile Bomb. This wave ends when the Tank is dead. Note that the fourth waves in Crash Course and Swamp Fever are a little different from the other campaigns. Crash Course will require a Survivor to restart the generator, although this may occur during the third wave instead if the Survivors deal with the third wave at a slow pace. The wave ends when the Tank is dead and the generator has been restarted. If the Tank is killed before the generator is restarted, Common Infected hordes will spawn indefinitely. In Swamp Fever, the fourth wave will spawn two Tanks at once on all difficulties other than Easy. The wave ends when both Tanks are dead.
Fifth wave Edit
The fifth wave begins after the Tanks have been killed. The rescue vehicle will arrive shortly afterwards and the Survivors must reach the vehicle. This wave is the largest of the five and consists of several groups of hordes, and Tanks (sometimes multiple Tanks spawn at once). Common Infected will continuously spawn, with Tanks re-spawning to replace those that have been killed. The level will end when all the living and stable Survivors enter the rescue vehicle. Any Survivors who do manage to get in the vehicle, but are incapacitated (by a piece of concrete thrown by the Tank for example) before all Survivors gets inside/on the vehicle will count as dead, unless they are somehow helped back up on their feet before the vehicle takes off. As all incapacitated Survivors count as dead, even they are incapacitated in the rescue vehicle, the only way to save them is have at least one standing Survivor stay outside the vehicle until the other teammates have saved the incapacitated ones.
Notice that for the Dark Carnival campaign, the rescue vehicle may arrive at two different positions, and it is difficult for the Survivors to get to another position if they find out that they have chosen the wrong one due to the rapid spawning of common infected and the ever-present Tanks.
Left 4 Dead 2's Finales Edit
The campaigns Dark Carnival, Swamp Fever, and Hard Rain have finales like the ones in Left 4 Dead, with some differences. In Dark Carnival, the rescue vehicle can spawn at two different locations and in Swamp Fever, two Tanks can appear at the same time during the fourth wave. There are also some very unique finales that deviate from the usual formula. In The Parish's finale, Survivors will have to constantly move to a rescue vehicle on the opposite side of a bridge and Tanks spawn at set points along the bridge, rather than at set times. Cold Stream's finale is also similar, having the survivors run downstream towards a waiting helicopter rescue. Dead Center's and The Passing finale are a slight variation of Scavenge Mode in which the Survivors find Gas cans throughout the level in order to use the rescue vehicle.
The Port also has a unique finale. This time, the Survivors plan to wait out the infection by sailing to a deserted island; however, the only sailboat they can find is stuck upriver of a lowered bridge. Their only choice is to raise the bridge; however, the only way to do that is to power up the three generators that can be found in the area. Once a generator is turned on, a horde and tank must be fought. After all three generators have been started, and their respective hordes and tanks are defeated, the bridge will be ready for the Survivors. The Survivors have to make their way to bridge and raise it. Once that's done, the bridge will rise a little before the generator stalls. At least one Survivor has to make the trip back to the generator to reactivate it, while at least one Survivor must remain on the bridge. Once the generator is reactivated, the one who reactivated it, as well as any other Survivor in the immediate area, will be incapacitated and killed.
It is important to notice that at least two Survivors must survive until the Sacrifice, and at least one of them must remain on the bridge.
It should be noted that while anyone on the ground will appear in the "In Memory of" list, only the ones by the generator will have a death and incapacitation added.
- Of all the finales, only the Runway Finale, The Concert, Town Escape, The Bridge, Port Finale, and The Truck Depot Finale have a specific reason for the appearance of the horde (loud noises or bright lights).
- The Town Escape finale in Hard Rain has an interesting twist: it is the same spot from the beginning of the campaign, and this is the first time in any Left 4 Dead game that the same rescue vehicle from the last campaign is the rescue vehicle for this campaign, with the Jimmy Gibbs Junior car being second in The Passing.
- In the Port Finale, this is the first time where a Tank spawns with the first horde wave as soon as the Survivors start each generator.
- Enabling the "/director_stop" console command may cause some glitches upon the Finales of campaigns. Since it is required to kill all Infected before the next wave approaches, disabling the horde will prevent the players from completing the mission, unless the Director is re-enabled by the server.
- This have been fixed, using the console command now will disable the spawning of any Infected other than Tanks, the 1st and 3rd wave will also become much shorter due to no Infected spawn.
- If a Survivor/s are incapacitated, they will yell out to their fellow Survivors to rescue them. The other Survivor/s that got onto the rescue vehicle will yell at them to get on the rescue vehicle, even though the incapacitated Survivor cannot move.
- When all the Survivors have run into the rescue vehicle, any Tanks that have still survived will pause and do their victory taunt all the time. However the Commons will attempt to chase the rescue vehicle, stopping in at a specific point, which can be easily seen.
- After the Finale is over, the game mechanics actually teleport all Survivors back to the starting saferoom while playing the cutscene and rolling the credits.