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Laser sights coming from a Pump Shotgun's flashlight.

Upgrades are a scrapped feature in Left 4 Dead. These upgrades are built into the game, but can only be activated by using the command "Survivor_upgrades 1", which can only be used by those running a dedicated server in the PC version. The upgrades are given to players at random at the start of a map. It is unknown what exactly determines what upgrades are obtained.

Server mods have expanded the system so that the player gets upgrades as rewards for certain acts, such as killing a Tank or surviving a Crescendo Event. Some servers have also added new upgrades, such as incendiary ammo.

Interestingly, upgrades have never been mentioned nor seen in any pre-release materials. This suggests that they were either developed in secret, then scrapped or were scrapped early in development and were kept in the code because it was too difficult to get rid of them.


A line in the file intructor_lessons.txt ("// 70 pick up a primary weapon (or upgrade)") hints that upgrades could be picked up in levels. However, in the final game, the only way to obtain them is for them to randomly appear at the start of a map.


Kevlar VestEdit

String: #L4D_Upgrade_kevlar_vest_description

This item reduces the amount of damage you take.

Prevent itEdit

String: #L4D_Upgrade_prevent_it_description

Protects you from a Boomer's bile once.

Ledge SaveEdit

String: #L4D_Upgrade_ledge_save_description

Allows a person to pick him/herself up from a ledge once automatically.

Second WindEdit

String: #L4D_Upgrade_revive_self_description

Allows the player to revive him/herself once automatically.


String: #L4D_Upgrade_goggles_description

Prevents a player from being affected by the "slime" image when a player is hit by the Boomer's bile.

Hot MealEdit

String: #L4D_Upgrade_hot_meal_description

Increases current health to 150.

Laser SightEdit

String: #L4D_Upgrade_laser_sight_description

Adds a laser light that comes from the flashlight. This disables the crosshair.

Combat SlingEdit

String: #L4D_Upgrade_combat_sling_description

Reduces weapon recoil.

High capacity magazineEdit

String: #L4D_Upgrade_high_cap_mag_description

Gives the player a larger magazine with each of their weapons, though the exact percentage increase is unknown.

Hollow point ammoEdit

String: #L4D_Upgrade_hollow_ammo_description

Increases the amount of damage weapons do.


String: #L4D_Upgrade_knife_description

Allows the user to either escape from a Smoker's tongue or get out of a Hunter's pounce once. The knife must be activated by the user.

Smelling SaltEdit

String: #L4D_Upgrade_smelling_salt_description

Allows a player to revive a downed player faster once.


String: #L4D_Upgrade_ointment_description

Allows a player to run faster when wounded.


String: #L4D_Upgrade_reloader_description

Allows the user to reload faster.


String: #L4D_Upgrade_flashbulb_description


Blinding FlashEdit

This one is only referenced in "game_sounds_weapons.txt". Based on its name, it seems that it would behave similar to a flashbang grenade.


Listings for "skills" are found deep in the game's files. It is unknown how these would work, as no working code exists for them. They might be similar to the "classes" in other Valve games, such as Team Fortress 2. The command "survivor_skills 1" would, in theory, activate these skills, but using it causes all human players to lose the ability to control their characters.

55. aPackrat
56. aCommando
57. aOpenfire
58. aDefender_0
59. aGuide
60. aKnuckles
61. aEngineer
62. aSprinter
63. aGroupie
64. aClimber
65. aSoldier
66. aDemolitions


A small upgrade system is implemented in Left 4 Dead 2, including the Laser Sight originally meant for Left 4 Dead and incorporating the new Explosive Ammunition and Incendiary Ammunition. Early footage- -shows a player picking up a Laser Sight.

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