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Biohazard symbol
"That's right, we should call ourselves the Unstoppables!"
Louis
"We're the four riders of the goddamn apocalypse!"
Nick
The Survivors

The Left 4 Dead Survivors, from left to right: Francis, Bill, Zoey, and Louis in the No Mercy poster.

The Survivors22

The Left 4 Dead 2 Survivors, from left to right: Coach, Ellis, Nick, and Rochelle in the Dead Center poster.

The Survivors are people in the world who either have not yet contracted the Infection (by virtue of natural immunity) or are carriers of the disease but who display none of its symptoms―and who may thus falsely believe themselves to be immune. The term, however, is commonly used to refer to the eight playable characters from the Left 4 Dead game series. Although the playable characters are immune, a comment by Bill suggests that they could become an Infected at any point. In addition, The Sacrifice comic presents the hypothesis that the Survivors are carriers of the Infection―and as such are a positive danger to any uninfected humans they encounter.

In Left 4 Dead, it is never explained how they met up with each other, or how long they have been together (although judging by the timing given by the intro cutscene and The Sacrifice comic, it is less than 12 days by the start of the first campaign). At the start of the first campaign in Left 4 Dead 2, the playable characters have just met each other and do not even know each other's names. There are also non-playable Survivors that players will meet throughout the campaigns. In the comic, the Survivors are referred to as "Tango-Mike" (T-M in the NATO Alphabet) by the APC Driver, probably in reference to Typhoid Mary, the most notorious real-life carrier known in America.

Each playable Survivor has his or her own unique appearance, personality, dialogue, and backstory, making them easier to identify at a distance. Players can choose which Survivor they control in the lobby, or be automatically assigned to a Survivor that is not being controlled by a player when they join a game that is already in progress. Every Survivor plays the same; their physical differences are purely cosmetic and do not alter gameplay. When controlled as AI Bots, Survivors will have preference over specific weaponry, and will attempt to choose that type if possible.

To portray their personalities, Valve uses (perhaps deliberately and with tongue firmly in cheek) a standard screenwriter ploy to populate B-grade action, Western, sci-fi, sitcom and costume drama scripts with characters that are instantly recognizable to "popcorn" audiences. This involves casting four main characters, each of whom have nothing much in common with one another but who are thrown together to face a challenge. Each character is then assigned a stereotyped personality selected from four distinctive types:

Cynic: self-centered, hostile, fires off put-downs and sarcasm, questionable morality, shady past, street or book smart. Francis and Nick.

Optimist: moral, friendly, feelings trump facts, naive, does the right thing, loyal. Louis and Ellis.

Realist: objective, lives by a personal code, disciplined, builds bridges, leadership role, adaptable. Often cast as The Hero. Bill and Coach.

Apathetic: aloof, neutral, from a different social background, enigmatic, along for the ride, swept up in events, victim, suffers bravely, supporter, observer. Zoey and Rochelle.

Once introduced, the screenwriter finds it very easy to develop subplots and dialogue appropriate to these characters' personalities and their interactions with the environment and each other; Zoey's fourth wall breaching "zombie bullshit" elevator soliloquy and Ellis' asinine "Keith stories" are illustrative examples in this regard. Once set, the screenwriter is then also free to allow individual characters to mature (or regress―if a villain or coward is needed) as the plot unfolds. Valve induces precisely this type of personality metamorphosis in both volumes of Left 4 Dead. Most notably, in the wake of Bill's death, Zoey is made to "grow up" and thus take on marked aspects of his personality whilst Nick subtly loses much of his hard-shell cynicism. To maintain audience credibility, the screenwriter will not make wholesale personality changes to all leading characters, which is probably why Valve left the other Left 4 Dead persona untouched.

Left 4 Dead Survivors

NOTE: Left 4 Dead Survivors appear in The Passing for Left 4 Dead 2, but are unplayable characters. As the DLC The Sacrifice takes part in Left 4 Dead's story arc, it is possible to play as the Left 4 Dead Survivors in Left 4 Dead 2 due to the DLC being ported to Left 4 Dead 2 as well. They are also playable in the Left 4 Dead 2 ports of No Mercy and the other original campaigns since it is simply a retelling of the same events for Left 4 Dead. It is revealed in The Sacrifice comic that the Survivors are Carriers, and that they have been inadvertently transmitting the disease throughout Philadelphia.

Bill

Bill 1
Main article: Bill

Aged in his late fifties or early sixties, Bill is the oldest of all the Survivors. He is a Vietnam veteran who fought in the U.S. Army 1st Special Forces Group and his combat skills have helped to keep him alive. He wears an olive green military beret, a matching jacket with a stained white shirt underneath, dark gray-brown pants, and jungle boots.

In official media, he is usually seen wielding the Assault Rifle―a weapon he prefers in-game and which complements his backstory. He and Francis appear to have a prickly relationship, often spewing insults or jokes at one another, but this may in fact be friendlier than what they let on. He always has a lit cigarette in his mouth.

It is revealed in The Passing that Bill was killed prior to the bridge being raised during The Sacrifice, enabling the safety of the other Left 4 Dead Survivors. His body can be seen next to the generator in the final level of The Passing at The Port, alongside his signature Assault Rifle, which can be taken and used by the player. The events of his death are told in The Sacrifice comic. During the time of his life, Bill was the unofficial team leader, although his relationship with Francis was never easy whilst, towards the end and as revealed in The Sacrifice comic, that shared with Zoey was placed under considerable strain.

Bill is voiced by Jim French,who also voiced Father Grigori in Valve's Half-Life 2 and The Fisherman in Half-Life 2 Lost Coast.

Francis

Francis 1
Main article: Francis

Francis is a tough biker with tattoos covering his arms and neck. His tattoos identify him as a member of "Hell's Legion," a name possibly inspired by the real-world Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. Since his character model was changed during development, it has been speculated that Francis' new face was modeled after the head developer of the game, Mike Booth. The Valve connection is strengthened by the fact that Francis has the Lambda symbol from the Half-Life series cut into his hair.

He wears a black leather vest over a white tank top, fingerless gloves, black jeans and boots. Valve commentary reveals that he is an impressive 6 feet 5 inches tall. Francis has a self-centered personality that seems to resent aspects of Bill's leadership whilst treating Louis with an openly dismissive attitude at times. During development, his character was to have a love interest in Zoey, but this was dropped after play-testing and his relationship with her is now warm―if not neutrally platonic. In official media, he is usually seen wielding either the Pump Shotgun or the Auto Shotgun, and in-game, prefers those types of weapons.

Francis is voiced by Vince Valenzuela.

Louis

Louis 1
Main article: Louis

Louis' original concept was an assistant manager at a local retail electronics chain store. His design was later changed, and he was made a Junior Systems Analyst in his company's IT department. His clothing resembles that of a typical business man, but seems to emulate Shaun from Shaun of the Dead, who wore a red tie and white shirt, and was an assistant manager at a local retail electronics chain store. He keeps the sleeves rolled up and the tie loose, and also wears a black watch on his left wrist.

In official media, he is usually seen wielding a Submachine Gun or dual Pistols. In-game, Louis prefers the Submachine Gun and Assault Rifle. At some point prior to The Passing in The Sacrifice comic, Louis was injured. According to The Sacrifice comic, his leg was damaged by Witches when he incautiously entered a sailboat occupied by them.

This recent injury renders him almost immobile and because of this he uses a Heavy Machine Gun at the Port. Louis' character is upbeat and positive at all times towards his fellow Survivors―almost to an exaggerated degree. Bill seems to regard him with wry tolerance, Francis with open mocking indifference whilst Zoey is the only one to treat him with genuine warmth―as she does with all her comrades.

Louis is voiced by Earl Alexander.

Zoey

Zoey 1
Main article: Zoey

Zoey was in her first year of college prior to the outbreak which makes her at least 18 years old―or slightly older depending on her college entry age. Her backstory reveals that she was ostensibly studying movie making on a scholarship, her parents were divorced and that she had a somewhat closer relationship to and more shared interests with her father―a city police officer. She wears a reddish-pink track jacket, blue jeans, Converse shoes and keeps her hair tied up in a ponytail.

Her original design was based on Alesia Glidewell who previously worked with Valve on Portal as a model for the character Chell. However, when the character designs were updated later in development, Zoey was made to resemble actress/model Sonja Kinski instead. In official media, she is usually seen wielding dual Pistols. In-game, Zoey shows preference for the Hunting Rifle. Zoey's character is that of a warm-hearted young woman with a marked dash of tom-boy toughness. But as someone dies, she is very emotional.

She is closest to Bill, who reciprocates with a protective father-daughter stance, but also reaches out to include (and thereby help bond) the other two Survivors into a comradely team. Initially, she is more of a follower, but during the events depicted in The Sacrifice comic and The Passing campaign, in the wake and shock of Bill's death, it is apparent that she has grown up fast and is taking on a leadership role in the group.

Zoey is voiced by Jen Taylor.

Left 4 Dead 2 Survivors

Coach

Render-coach
Main article: Coach

Coach is a Physical Education teacher at the local high school in the town of Savannah―his home town. A prospective professional defensive linesman, a career-ending knee injury suffered at college led Coach to take up teaching as an alternative pathway into a possible pro-coaching football career. He wears a polo shirt in the yellow and purple colors of his high school employer, training gloves, beige slacks and gray sneakers.

He is the oldest of the Left 4 Dead 2 group and serves in an unofficial capacity as its leader. He is a religious man, stopping the survivors for a group prayer before entering Liberty Mall, and shows his weak point to be his stomach - always ready to stop when a food joint is nearby. In-game, he shows preference for Tier 1 and Tier 2 shotguns, while in official media the Chainsaw appears to be his signature weapon.

Coach is voiced by Chad L. Coleman.

Ellis

Render-ellis
Main article: Ellis

Ellis is a mechanic hailing from Savannah, similar to Coach. He wears a yellow T-shirt with a logo, a white and blue cap, with a truck towing logo (that is also seen in the car alarm section in The Parish), half-removed coveralls with the sleeves tied around his waist, and black work boots.

Ellis appears to have a lack of comprehension of the seriousness of his current situation and retains a somewhat goofy personality in comparison to the other Survivors. Ellis also has a love interest in Zoey when he first meets her in The Passing. In-game, Ellis has preference for the Sniper and Hunting Rifle, while in official media, the Grenade Launcher appears to be his signature weapon.

Ellis is voiced by Eric Ladin.

Nick

Render-nick
Main article: Nick

In initial development, Nick was an ex-prisoner who escaped in the wake of the Infection and celebrated his newfound freedom by stealing a white suit from a high end retailer. He later developed into a shady con man and gambler drifting from city to city who bemoans his bad luck in happening to be passing through Savannah (and not Las Vegas) when the current crisis hit.

He wears an expensive white suit with a blue button-down shirt, several gold rings and brown leather shoes. Nick holds negative and pessimistic views towards both the situation he has fallen into and the three strangers he is forced to join up with. Over time, despite his hard-boiled attitude towards his fellow Survivors, he softens and mellows as he increasingly learns to trust them. In-game, Nick shows a preference for Submachine Gun and Assault Rifle variant weaponry.

Nick is voiced by Hugh Dillon.

Rochelle

Render-rochelle2
Main article: Rochelle

Rochelle is a minor associate producer for a news station with a high reputation, though her job had more to do with moving cables and coffee duties. She was in Savannah producing a segment about the evacuation center when the area became overrun with the Infected. She wears a pink T-shirt with a Depeche Mode logo, silver hoop earrings, blue jeans, a thin studded belt around her waist, two silver bracelets on her left arm and knee-high brown boots.

Rochelle has the most realistic grasp of the situation and is very caring towards her fellow Survivors. Rochelle and Francis show romantic interest in each other when they meet in the campaign The Passing. In-game, Rochelle has preferences similar to Nick; she prefers Submachine Gun and Assault Rifle variants.

Rochelle is voiced by Rochelle Aytes.

Non-Playable Survivors

See main article: NPCs

Notes

  • The major gameplay difference between the Survivors are the weapon preference as bots, and the "Hit Box".
    • The primary weapon preference as Survivor Bots are always the same for every Survivor. Zoey and Ellis prefer sniper rifles, Francis and Coach prefer automatic shotguns, while Bill, Louis, Nick and Rochelle prefer assault rifles.
      • In the Left 4 Dead 2 ports of the original campaigns, the original Survivors have different preferences. While Bill keeps his Assault Rifle variants, Zoey is now with Assault Rifles as well, Louis takes over Francis' role as the Auto Shotgun variants user, and Francis is now the team sniper with his preference for Hunting Rifle variants.
        • This is likely an oversight, as the Left 4 Dead Survivors gain the weapon preference of the Left 4 Dead 2 character's slot they fill on the character selection screen. Francis and Louis however, are not over their right successors as Louis goes over Ellis and Francis over Coach.
    • For the secondary weapon preference in Left 4 Dead 2, Bots will usually prefer two Survivors using Magnums (Nick and Rochelle) and two Survivors using dual-wielding Pistols (Coach and Ellis).
      • In the ported campaigns, Bill and Zoey, being placeholders for Nick and Rochelle respectively, will use Magnums while Francis and Louis, being placeholders for Ellis and Coach respectively, will remain using dual-wielding pistols as in the original.
    • The "Hit Box" is affected by the body size of Survivors. Taller, heavier Survivors (such as Coach) have a slightly larger "Hit Box" than shorter, slimmer Survivors (such as Rochelle). A larger Hit Box means a higher chance of receiving friendly fire, and easier aiming for Special Infected.
  • During development, the original Survivors' physical appearance changed in response to an evolving design brief that lead towards making them appear "realistic" in the sense they credibly resemble people who could be encountered in everyday life. Visuals for Left 4 Dead 2 began with the same term of reference, but, as evidenced by the first screenshots and videos with the exception of Nick, each character's appearance underwent rolling changes and refinement.
  • An early developmental visual of Francis shows him with long, unkempt hair. It can thus be inferred that Zoey's comment to Francis that she knows how to cut hair is a legacy attribute.
  • In Left 4 Dead, it seems possible that each scenario is geared towards being the "home" of one of the Survivors (excluding Rochelle and Nick, who don't seem to say anything about where you can find various landmarks).
    • Bill makes a comment about the trailer in Blood Harvest, asking Francis if it reminded him of home, although this is most likely intended as an insult to Francis. This could also mean that Francis lives in a trailer somewhere.
    • Louis seems to know somewhat trivial pieces of information involving the sewer system of Riverside. He also seems to know his way around Fairfield, even in the sewer; he knows when the Survivors have arrived at the hospital. Like Bill, he may insult Francis by making a comment of an alleyway in Crash Course, asking him if it was where he was born, prompting Francis to ask if it's the one he'll die in.[1]
    • Zoey said that she always liked the main street in Riverside, and also, in some early Left 4 Dead articles, she is referenced as being from a farm, indicating a possible relation to Blood Harvest. She also states that she has been to Newburg before.
    • Francis is surprisingly knowledgeable about the area of Newburg near the airport, and seems to know his way around the airport itself.
    • Both Bill and Louis appear to know their way around Fairfield, knowing that the subway's Red Line heads straight to Mercy Hospital, and that it is possible to reach the hospital by going through the waterworks (which leads into the sewer).
    • Coach mentions living in Savannah and seems to know his way around well, and also becomes rather offended when Nick responds to talk of a gun store with "Living here is finally paying off."
    • Ellis is a native of Savannah, and will sometimes volunteer to "show you the sights on the way to the mall". He also knows where the gun shop is and how to get to the mall.
  • In the beta of Left 4 Dead, Zoey and Francis show some sort of affection towards each other. This proved to be too distracting, so it was removed. This concept was later revived in form of Ellis' feelings for her in The Passing.
  • Some lines of original Survivors text lines were re-used (or a little less changed) on new Survivors (only voiced by their voice actors). For example, Bill and Coach say the same phrase when healing other Survivors: "Stop squirmin'; I'm gonna heal you," or Francis and Rochelle say: "I'm gonna give that Witch something to cry about."
  • In the beta version of Left 4 Dead, doors could be locked to stop incoming Common Infected for a short time. It was most likely scrapped due to the amount of doors there were to get to the Survivors, so they could get away if low on health or they didn't want the Infected to open doors.
  • On the PC, it is possible to spawn the original Survivors in any campaign in Left 4 Dead 2, but if you spawn them directly the game will crash because of a precaching error. To fix this, you must spawn the original Survivors models yourself with the "prop_dynamic_create" console command (cheats needed to do this, and only works if you start a listen server by opening a map by typing in the console "map MAPNAMEHERE"), after you have spawned the original Survivors' models, it's okay to spawn the original Survivors now because they have had their models spawned. But you will not be able to play as or control them with the "sb_takecontrol" Convar.
  • Wooden 42 pound crates of U.S. military K rations appear in most Left 4 Dead safe houses. K rations are an obsolete class of combat ration that was first issued in World War II. They were intended for short-term consumption only since the calorie content was inadequate to maintain a soldier's physical condition during hard and prolonged exertion. It is assumed that the Survivors sustain themselves on K ration packs, yet it is noticeable that none of them appear to have lost weight as their clothes still fit perfectly. It is therefore logical to believe that the Survivors spend most of their time holed up in safe houses [thus conserving energy] and that Campaign episodes depict short and intense opportunistic breakouts. Even when freshly made, the monotonous nature of K rations is well-documented whilst the taste and condition of such items taken from long-term military storage can only be imagined, which may explain Zoey's enthusiasm for peanut butter in Part Three of The Sacrifice comic. In the opening scene of Left 4 Dead 2, however, there are several bags of what appear to be a Peanut M 'n' M's knockoff in a cardboard bin, and Coach can be seen eating some sort of chocolate bar. This implies that perhaps left-over candy is eaten because it takes a long time to go bad, and is probably easy to find in abandoned stores.
  • In The Sacrifice (comic), the military thinks that the original Survivors are carriers, and have been unintentionally transmitting the Infection across Pennsylvania. Whether this is true or not, or that all immune Survivors are carriers is currently unknown.
    • In Part One, Mora calls himself a Captain. However, in Part 2, he is referred to as a Lieutenant. Furthermore, when called on the Radio in Blood Harvest, the Soldier says "I don't believe it. Captain! We got Survivors out there!" This may be an oversight.
  • As seen in The Sacrifice comic, sometime after Nick, Ellis, Rochelle and Coach depart from Zoey, Francis and Louis in The Passing, the original three remaining Survivors board their boat (which Zoey and/or Francis had evidently moved to the downriver side of the bridge just prior to the start of The Passing) and sail off to the Florida Keys. The last we see of them is in the bow of their boat looking out at an island in the sunrise. But for unknown reasons, the pages which would be for The Passing's parts are not there as the comic is missing the last 12 pages (Valve stated that the comic will have 190 pages or more) and no one has made any reports or sign of them.
    • With the release of The Sacrifice, Bill has new lines regarding the new Special Infected in Left 4 Dead 2. However, all the original Survivors lack lines when it comes to new items and weapons, such as the Defibrillator, special ammo, Adrenaline Shot, etc. and will use the generic "Look here" response instead (for melee weapons and Grenade Launchers they re-use the lines for when spotting regular weapons).
      • They also lacked reactions to the Special Infected when attacked, using their pain sounds instead (as of the port of Death Toll they now re-use some lines, for Spitters they exclaim "get back", "move it" and critical pain sounds, for Jockeys they re-use Hunter-related lines and the Chargers for when getting pounded by the Tanks). A possible explanation may be because the decision to port The Sacrifice and No Mercy to Left 4 Dead 2 was taken after the voice actors had finished recording their voices, since originally Valve intended to launch The Sacrifice DLC only for Left 4 Dead.
  • Because the original Survivors were never actually intended to have Left 4 Dead 2's weapon animations, their hands invariably clip through them on many occasions. This effect is most evident when Zoey reloads the Magnum Pistol and when Bill reloads the P220 Pistol (this is because their ValveBiped.weapon_bone bone is actually meant for the original weapon animations).
    • They hold two-handed weapons like shotguns and rifles oddly as well. The gun is placed more to the right, showing the fingers on the underside of their palms.
    • Grenade-type items and Pills are also held off center. The models make it look like the Survivors are holding the items with their fingertips instead of in their hand completely.
    • The original Survivors do not even have their melee weapons shown on their backs when stowed, which means currently you can only tell if they have such weapons or not by checking if their holsters have a pistol (mods can be used to make up for this problem).
    • When the original Survivor's hands are loaded up with "Load Weapon" when the viewmodel of the M1911 Pistol is the loaded model in the Model Viewer their hands appear completely fine (nearly the same for the new Survivors, but their pointing finger tip is further out).
  • Bill and Francis mistakenly refer the Spitter as a male when they kill her, using lines such as "He's dead!" or "Popped a cap in his ass!" This is due to the original Survivors encountering only male Special Infected in Left 4 Dead (with the exception of the Witch) so their lines refer the infected as male. These lines got recycled in Left 4 Dead 2 when No Mercy was ported.

Gallery

Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead 2

Others

References

  1. dlc2alley01 (Louis): "Hey Francis, wasn't this the alley you was born in?"

External links

The Survivors
Left 4 Dead Left 4 Dead 2 Others

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