Left 4 Dead Wiki

There are currently 4 Gameplay Modes in Left 4 Dead, and 8 Gameplay Modes in Left 4 Dead 2.


Campaign avatar used in Left 4 Dead 2.
Play through a co-operative campaign online.
Available in Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2

During Campaign, also known as Co-op, up to four players work together to try and reach the end of the campaign by fighting their way past large numbers of AI-controlled Infected. There are four difficulty: Easy, Normal, Advanced and Expert. Each chapter ends in a safe room, which acts as a checkpoint that is triggered when all living Survivors get inside the safe room and close the door behind them.

In Campaign mode, one or more players play as the Survivors, with the rest of the four filled in with AI-controlled "Bots". The Survivors play through each chapter, making their way from safe room to safe room. The last stage in each campaign has an expanded ending called the Finale, which usually ends with players escaping on Rescue Vehicles like boats, helicopters, etc.

Single Player[]

Single Player avatar used in Left 4 Dead 2.
Play a single player offline game with computer-controlled teammates.
Available in Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 (Pre-The Last Stand Community Update)

Single Player is a gameplay mode with only one player controlled character. The player assumes control of one of the Survivors, and all the other characters are AI controlled. No other player can join a Single Player game, unless locally (LAN), via the connect "host local ip" console command. Other than that, the same rules as Campaign apply here, except for in Dead Center, or The Passing where you only have to get 8 Gas cans in Solo Dead Center (13 in standard Campaign mode) and 10 in Solo The Passing (16 in standard Campaign mode).

Single Player is the only mode which can be played with Steam set to offline. Since Single Player is considered as local server, modifications that work only on local server will also work in this mode.

This is also the only mode that allows you to fully pause the game (by bringing up the menu). In other modes, this can only be done when playing as host on local server with command sv_pausable set to 1.

The (now) cut or former gameplay mode's image is Ellis holding the Krieg 552, a weapon from the German censored version of the game, which became available for everyone in The Last Stand Community Update. Fun fact: the image and the weapon do/did not exist in the international version at the same time (and Left 4 Dead has no images for game modes).

In singleplayer, if you get killed in the Campaign, the chapter will restart since bots don't use Defibrillators (unless mods has been used to allow bots continue on their own). Also, if you complete the campaign with everyone surviving, it will say "The Survivors have escaped!" or "In memory of [name/s of deceased survivors in the finale]" if the player escapes but the bots failed. The only time Campaign can be completed with the player dying as a result is Port Finale of The Sacrifice Campaign, as bots won't go and restart the generator and therefore the player's death won't fail the campaign for balancing reasons.

Prior to the The Last Stand Community Update, the gameplay mode used to appear in Left 4 Dead 2 as a separate mode, however it has since became demoted into a drop-down menu option for all co-operative modes. Its former description didn't carry over to the current Campaign description.

Split Screen[]

In Split Screen, two players on the same console take control over two Survivors, and the screen is split vertically, although it can be changed to horizontal in the options menu. The two players can also play online while using split screen.

This game mode is normally exclusive to the Xbox 360 version of Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, but may be accessed in the PC versions if you have a controller for the second player and modify some files or use mods. Here is a guide to how to play splitscreen on the PC. Plugging the Xbox controller in and out during the loading screen is NOT the only way to set the Xbox controller to player 2. During gameplay, you can also unplug and plug the Xbox controller back in within one second to set the controller to player 2. In fact, the second method proves to be more effective with several people. On Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, only one of the two players playing splitscreen on one Xbox 360 console while online has to have an Xbox Live account with gold membership; the other player can sign in as a "Guest".


Survival avatar used in Left 4 Dead 2.
Play Survival mode and hold out for as long as you can.
Available in Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2
Main article: Survival Mode

Survival was released in the "Survival Pack," which came out on April 21st, 2009. The point of Survival Mode is to hold out for the longest time, with times being saved and virtual medals being awarded for surviving for certain amounts of time. Left 4 Dead features sixteen maps, fifteen of which are taken from existing campaign levels, and one new map which has been called The Last Stand. The campaign levels have been edited to remove things such as closets and other small choke points often exploited by the Survivors in crescendo events and finales. Survival can be played in Single Player with Console commands or by starting a lobby on your own on Xbox.

In Left 4 Dead 2, Survival Mode is back, this time included with the release of the game. The point is still the same, and the maps are still converted crescendo events apart from The Motel from Dark Carnival's The Highway and The Sugar Mill from Hard Rain's map by the same name, among others. Single-Player Survival mode (with bot allies) is easily accessible this time.

Versus Survival[]

Versus survival.png
Can you survive against your friends?
Available in Left 4 Dead 2

Versus Survival (also called Survival Versus) is a mixed gameplay mode between Versus and Survival where the match is started in a Survival map with the Survivors fending off against Special Infected controlled by players instead of Bots. In this mode, the Survivor team hold out in an area and fight against the Infected to obtain medals while the Infected team's job is to kill the Survivors as quickly as possible. Tanks have their health reduced to 4000 and only one tank can be active at any time. The Survivors have 90 seconds at the start of the round to set up until the infected side can spawn or they can trigger the infected to spawn earlier if they wish to do so by using the event start button. If all Survivors are dead or incapacitated, the teams swap and if one team fails to beat the opposing team's time then the match ends.

When it was released, it was available only on the first week of its release, as an encore Mutation, Developer's Choice, and Twitter's Choice (each lasting a week). Since July 24th, 2012, it becomes permanently available for everyone. With the release of the Last Stand Community Update, it is in the main menu carousel, replacing Single Player mode – declaring as an official gameplay mode.


Versus avatar used in Left 4 Dead 2.
Play as the Survivors or the Infected in an online Versus Mode game.
Available in Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2
Main article: Versus

Versus is the basic competitive mode for the Left 4 Dead series: two separate teams of four players take turns playing as the Survivors and the Infected competing for the most points. In Left 4 Dead, points are only awarded to teams playing as the Survivors. Points are calculated by the amount of health left in each player and how far the team got. In Left 4 Dead 2, points are still only awarded to the Survivors but no longer use the amount of health left in each Survivor in the score. Instead, points are awarded solely on how far each Survivor got before they died and if they made it to the safe room alive. The points possible for each chapter is the same for both teams. Should both teams make it to the safe room without casualties and without the use of a defibrillator, then the Tie Breaker calculates how much damage each team did to the opposing team, awarding 25 points to the winner.

Before a game starts, the lobby leader chooses a specific campaign to play and the players can choose which team to play on by choosing whether to start as the Infected or the Survivors. For help as Infected or Survivors, review some tactics.

Versus can be done without the need of Xbox Live, but you must have 2 players to do this.

Realism Versus[]

Realism Versus avatar used in Left 4 Dead 2.
You can't see each other, but they can see you.
Available in Left 4 Dead 2
Main article: Realism Versus Mode

Realism Versus is a game mode that combines Versus and Realism. It was the first Mutation to be released for Left 4 Dead 2, but, due to positive feedback from the community, was made an official game mode as of May 21st, 2010.

Realism Versus follows the normal rules of Versus mode in terms of gameplay style and scoring, but makes things harder for the Survivors as they are bound to Realism rules, such as a lack of Survivor glows and the Witch being able to instantly kill Survivors. Though Realism Versus will appear in the main menu, you cannot play it unless you have downloaded The Passing.


Realism avatar used in Left 4 Dead 2.
In a REAL apocalypse, good teamwork is all you'll have left.
Available in Left 4 Dead 2
Main article: Realism

Realism can be played on any difficulty setting. This mode removes the Survivor auras usually shown around players through walls. Also, halos for items or weapons only appear if you are close enough to do their action (such as grabbing a weapon or pressing a switch). Realism mode also includes a damage penalty for body shots. Rescue closets are removed, making the defibrillator the only way to revive dead Survivors until you reach the safe house, where they will respawn for the next round. Witches kill instantly on any difficulty except Easy and no longer receive bonus damage from point-blank shotgun blasts, making cr0wning impossible. Speech bubbles over the Survivors are disabled when speaking via the microphone, although the speech bubble still appears above the character's icon. Overall, this gameplay mode was created to take the teamwork factor that made the Left 4 Dead series famous to the next level. Realism can also be played by creating your own lobby.


Scavenge avatar used in Left 4 Dead 2.
Play as the Survivors or the Infected in a round-based competitive match.
Available in Left 4 Dead 2
Main article: Scavenge Mode

Scavenge is a competitive gameplay mode in Left 4 Dead 2. It is a round-based gamemode in which Survivors have a limited amount of time to find up to 21 gas cans to fuel up a generator (or car), while fighting against player-controlled Special Infected much like in a Versus game. Games can consist of one, three, or five rounds total, though not all of them may be played. After all the Survivors are incapacitated, the time runs out, or the Survivors collect all of the gas cans, the teams switch sides. Whichever team collects the most gas cans in a single round wins that round. If both teams collect the same number of gas cans, the team that collected them the fastest wins that round. When one of the teams wins either one, two, or three rounds (if there are one, three, or five rounds total, respectively), that team wins the match.

Scavenge can also be played without Xbox Live, but this requires 1 player as the Survivor and 1 player as the Infected.


Mutations avatar used in Left 4 Dead 2.
Available in Left 4 Dead 2
Main article: Mutations

Mutations are tweaks and changes to the normal game rules. They can be for any game mode, which will be introduced each week by Valve on the in-game blog. Details for the next Mutation are revealed on at the same time the Mutation is released on Friday, via the blogs. On regular intervals Valve initiates a "Favorite Mutation" survey, and winners are put back into the cycle.

The first Mutation released, Realism Versus, achieved enough positive feedback from the community that it was turned into a permanent gameplay mode.

To see the order of Mutations released since it was announced, please see the main article. Mutation need Xbox Live in order to play.

Gameplay Modes
Introduced in Left 4 Dead Introduced in Left 4 Dead 2
Single icon.png Campaign icon.png Versus icon.png Survival icon.png Scavenge icon.png Realism icon.png Mutation icon.png Realism Versus icon.png Versus survival.png
Single Player Campaign Versus Survival Scavenge Realism Mutation Realism VS Versus Survival