- Action Survivor: As far as the Survivors are concerned, the only thing that really matters in the end is getting out of the East Coast, no matter how many mutant zombies and obstacles stand in their way.
- Badass Normal: All eight of the Survivors are more or less regular people caught in an apocalypse, and they're all capable of working together to kill hundreds of thousands of zombies in a single campaign.
- Big "NO!": They'll let one out if a Smoker ensnares them, giving them just enough time to shout in dread before the pain comes.
- Critical Existence Failure: Averted. When their health starts getting lower and lower, they'll slow down, walk with a limp and complain regularly about the pain, and even prepare to die out loud if they've received too much abuse.
- Fire-Forged Friends: The Survivors all care deeply about each other, whether some of them like to admit it or not. The first game's Survivors have known each other for two weeks before the events of the game take place, but the Survivors in 2 begin their journey as complete strangers before they begin to bond later on.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Francis and Nick are the cynics/jerks of the teams, regularly belittling and insulting their fellow Survivors while sometimes lamenting how screwed they are. However, they never hesitate to come to their rescue if they're in trouble and will sincerely mourn for dead Survivors they find.
- Made of Iron: They're capable of withstanding getting crushed, shot, punted across the street, swarmed by a hail of fists, burnt by acid, and set on fire, even on Advanced difficulty. This is not the case on Expert, however.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Getting shot by their fellow Survivors makes them shout in pain and trade insults/outrage, but less like they got hit by a bullet, and more like theyre being pelted with paintballs. Then again, only on Expert does friendly fire actually do damage equivalent to a bullet.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: As revealed in The Sacrifice, the Survivors are not quite immune to the Flu, but instead are Asymptomatic Carriers, meaning that the disease is still very much active and contagious by them. This means that all of the people who came to the Survivors aid only to turn into zombies/end up crashing and dying later could very well have been unknowingly infected by them.
- In the first game, the helicopter pilot who rescues the group from Mercy Hospital suddenly turns into a zombie and has to be killed, making a crash landing. In The Sacrifice comic, Francis points out that the C-130 that rescued them in Dead Air suddenly crashed, and Louis alludes to the possibility that they might have accidentally infected that pilot too. The team might have also infected and killed the Slaters, the duo who rescued them in Death Toll before kicking them out some time later, as their wrecked boat found in The Sacrifice might indicate. Whether it really is their boat or a reused asset is up in the air however.
- In the second game, the character complain at one point how their helicopter crashed in the bayou cause the pilot suddenly turned into an infected that had to be killed, and make a crash landing. Surprisingly, their second rescuer, Virgil, never suffers any onscreen or mentioned bad fate despite ferrying the team around in three campaigns, possibly painting him as a Carrier like them and the only rescuer to survive while helping the team.
- Typhoid Mary: The whole team from both games, being Carriers who spread the disease but don't suffer any symptoms themselves, and both groups have their fair share of infected rescuers by their mere proximity.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Francis to Bill and Louis, and Nick to Ellis and Coach.
- Weapon of Choice: Each Survivor has their own weapon preference when they're being controlled by the AI:
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The original Survivors were seen retiring to an island after Bill's sacrifice to allow them to escape, but there are no indicators as to what might have happened to the Survivors in the sequel after they were carried off by the military helicopter.
- Uncertain Doom: The original survivors seem to be home free on their way to the Florida Keys, but the sequel survivors might be screwed considering not only were the military executing Carriers en masse, but considering what happened to the original survivors when they were under military custody..
William "Bill" Overbeck
- "Son, we just crossed the street... let's not throw a party until we're out of the city."
Bill is a Green Beret Vietnam vet. Having had nothing to do since he was discharged from the military for a knee injury, the zombies have given him a new purpose in life: to see them all dead. At least in the intro, he was featured as essentially the leader of the survivors.
- Abandoned Hospital Awakening: The Sacrifice comics show Bill was being placed under anaesthetic for a medical procedure when the infection started, setting up one of these. Subverted - Bill sees the zombies attack as he goes under, and powers through the drugs, kills the zombie, and escapes onto the street.
- Anti-Hero: The Sacrifice comic has him become a Pragmatic Hero, when he refuses to slow down the train he was driving and leaving the doctor who aided their escape among others to die despite Zoey's behest. He claims that he merely wants to "look after his own" than have others who may endanger them.
- Badass Beard: Has a mighty fine beard to go with his badassery.
- Badass Creed: "I'll see peace back on this earth if I have to kill every one of these animals with my bare goddamn hands!"
- Blood Knight: Bill misses 'Nam and is actually glad that the zombies have given him an enemy to fight.
- Character Development: Bill near the end of the No Mercy campaign says he will kill every zombie in the world with his bare hands if that is what it took to get peace back. After the events of the comic, Bill now realizes his previous determination is worthless since not only he and the other survivors are carriers and are spreading the virus around, but the military would also kill them and even the military couldn't handle fighting the Infected like the Survivors can. This causes Bill to change his plans to finding an island in the Florida Keys so that they can live the rest of their lives in peaceful isolation without zombies or the military.
- Cool Guns: Bill's typically shown using an M16A2 as his weapon. Upon picking up one, he'll sometimes mention how it reminds him of old times (which makes sense as the American military used it starting from Vietnam). True enough, it was what he was using during his last stand, and you can take it from him for the finale of The Passing.
- Cool Old Guy: A Vietnam War veteran who can kick zombie ass despite being old and having an injured knee.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Revealed in the comics, Bill's death involved facing three Tanks at once. He just lights up a cigarette and tells them to bring it on.
- Dual Wielding: For two brief moments in the comic, using a bone saw and scalpel, and later an M16 and pistol.
- Fake Shemp: Didn't get any new lines in Crash Course, as Jim French was unavailable at the time.
- A Father to His Men: The "men" being the other survivors.
- Famous Last Words: "Hold yer horses, I'll be with ya in a minute. My job's done. Let's see what you got, you big dumb sons of bitches."
- Good Is Not Soft: Bill won't let anything stand in the way of keeping his friends safe. Not even the pleas of Zoey can coerce him to slow the train to let another survivor onboard. Francis says it best:Bill might not always do the right thing. But he always does it for the right reasons.
- Guest Fighter: Is a playable character in both Dead by Daylight and Dying Light.
- Handicapped Badass: The aforementioned knee injury.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Performs one at the end of The Sacrifice comic by jumping off the bridge and restarting the generator to get the bridge moving again. Three Tanks close in on him for his last stand.
- Heroic Willpower: While being put under anesthesia for surgery, one of the nurses turns and attacks him. Bill forces himself to remain conscious, fend off the attacker, and run down several hallways to get a weapon.
- Informed Flaw: His supposed knee injury that got him discharged from the military doesn't make him any slower than the other three survivors (nor does his advanced age).
- Killed Off for Real: Bill's death at the end of The Sacrifice is absolute and is gone for good.
- Nice Hat: And it's not just our opinion, the Team Fortress 2 characters agree.
- One Last Smoke: Has just enough time to light it before he has to fight three Tanks.
- Papa Wolf: "We come back for our own." See also Team Dad.
- Retired Badass: Bill, Vietnam vet and former Green Beret.
- Smoking Is Cool: He always has a lit cigarette in his mouth.
- Take That!: One of his new lines in The Sacrifice is "You know who runs around filling things up with gas? Idiots." Dead Center, The Passing, and a number of custom campaigns in L4D2 have finales that make the players run around filling things up with gas.
- Hypocritical Humour: So does the The Last Stand campaign, which is played with the L4D1 survivors, which obviously includes Bill.
- Team Dad: Especially towards Zoey. In The Sacrifice, one of his dialog lines is "You guys are the only family I've got!" in reference to the other survivors.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: One of the nicest characters in the game, Bill becomes more of a Jerkass over time, in the comic, until we get the What the Hell, Hero? moment below.
- Weapon of Choice: Is always seen with his trusty M16 assault rifle, which his AI prefers in-game.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Zoey's reaction to Bill in the comic after he refused to slow the train down so another survivor could jump on board, resulting in him getting mauled by the infected.
- "Hey, look on the bright side: even if you don't make it, I'll still be really handsome."
A biker who dislikes Bill for unknown reasons (the feeling is mutual, and it's more of a rivalry, really), Francis treats the zombies as "the world's biggest bar fight." He is well known for his hatred of everything except vests and occasionally the army (only when they're saving his life, however). Despite the contempt he sometimes displays for his erstwhile allies, he sticks with them, and seems to legitimately care if they're badly wounded or killed.
- All Bikers Are Hells Angels: The comic shows that he was scheduled to be put in jail for stealing a TV and impersonating a police officer (to the police officer who arrested him), but the Zombie Apocalypse put that on hold. He and his biker friends responded to the zombie horde by dragging a jukebox to the roof, playing some tunes on it, and then shooting everything they saw.
- Badass Biker: Was likely in a gang before the zombie outbreak occurred. He's still pretty badass without his friends.
- Badass Boast: "Good thing I'm indestructible."
- Beta Couple: He has some moments with Rochelle in The Passing, to compliment Ellis and Zoey.
- Blood Knight: Some of his lines support the idea that he's having fun in the Zombie Apocalypse. This is shown in The Sacrifice, where Zoey and Louis take the zombie apocalypse as any normal person would do, whereas Francis' reaction is to bring his friends, beer, guns and a jukebox up to the roof for a whole night of zombie killing.
- The Cynic: The cynic of the group and is usually the first to complain about going along with the others' plans.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In the Crash Course campaign, he reveals that he used to work for the Hersch company (fictional version of UPS) until he beat a guy to death simply because said guy laughed at his brown shorts. It's ambiguous on whether or not he actually killed the guy, but it's safe to assume that he very likely had beat the crap out of him.
- Dumb Muscle: Already shows this in the original campaigns, but in the Crash Course campaign, Louis and Zoey make it more obvious how uneducated Francis is, such as his remark of them being in Canada when they're actually in Pennsylvania.
- He's convinced that the zombies are vampires, only because they don't follow certain zombie stereotypes, even though this doesn't mean they follow vampire ones. And after Louis describes the Boomers, Hunters and other Special Infected to the military in the comic, Francis makes a point of talking about vampires. On the other hand, see Hidden Depths below. And he was bright enough to realize that continuing to hang out with his old gang was a death sentence.
- Friendly Sniper: In the ported L4D1 campaigns, he prefers using sniper rifles. His weapon preference was changed back to his original one in The Last Stand.
- Eyes Always Shut: In the comic.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Downplayed. While everyone will always joke about Francis being expendable and no one is particularly friendly to him, if he actually dies, they'll all mourn him, and by the time of The Sacrifice this status is dropped completely.
- Hates Everyone Equally: Everyone, everything, every concept. He hates it!
- Hidden Depths: He seems dumb enough, but how many people know what insulaphobia means?*
- He also may suggest to Bill in the start of The Sacrifice campaign that they should use a boat to help find a sailboat quickly, causing Bill to actually agree for once.
- While he's shown that, on some level, he is having some fun in the Zombie Apocalypse, he tells Louis in the comic that he's well aware that if he had stayed with the friends he had before, he would've died long before he met the current group.
- Hunk: He's pretty strong and handsome looking.
- Impersonating an Officer: Francis seems to like doing this. He sometimes does this to try to convince the Church Guy in Death Toll to let them in the saferoom. It doesn't work. This becomes a Brick Joke later in the finale when he does it again when he answers the rescue radio. This time it works! In The Sacrifice comic, it was revealed Francis was supposed to do time for doing this to a police officer who just caught him stealing.
- Informed Flaw: His original character model sported a beer gut. The other survivors still occasionally mention his weight problem, even though the finalized Francis model is pretty ripped and trim.
- It's X. I Hate X.: His catchphrase.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He insults his fellow survivors fairly often (especially Bill and Louis), but genuinely cares about them, and shows genuine sadness over their deaths in game. And Bill's actual death in The Passing.
- Karma Houdini: The comic reveals that he was supposed to be facing time in prison for stealing a TV and Impersonating an Officer. Shortly after, the Zombie Apocalypse hit.
- Mad Libs Catch Phrase: "I hate X!"Bill: Francis, is there anything you don't hate?
Francis: You know what I don't hate? I don't hate vests.
- Here's a list of things Francis doesn't hate, outside of vests:
- The Armynote
- Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s stock car
- Steam (he just hates the pipes)
- Pretending to be a cop, despite his hatred for cops
- Lasagna mondaysnote
- Here's a list of things Francis doesn't hate, outside of vests:
- Never Learned to Read: According to Louis, anyway.
- Running Gag:
Zoey: Okay, important safety tip: Don't get in a helicopter with a zombie pilot.
- "I hate (Whatever the Survivors happens to be traversing/passing by/talking about)."
- In Crash Course, the helicopter pilot that rescued them in the campaign before becomes a zombie and Zoey has to shoot him to save their skin, causing the chopper to crash-land. Francis spends the rest of the campaign blaming Zoey for crashing the helicopter!
Francis: Yeah well next time someone offers us a ride, don't shoot him!
Zoey: He was a zombie, Francis.
Francis: [spotting a train wreck]: Woah. Zoey must've shot the conductor too.
Zoey The pilot was a ZOMBIE, Francis!
Francis: [preparing for an incoming Horde] Here they come! Zoey, just pretend they're all helicopter pilots!
Zoey: Zombie, Francis! He. Was. A. ZOMBIE!
- Screams Like a Little Girl: When he is being attacked while incapacitated or being chased by a Witch, he will sometimes scream in a higher pitched and silly voice.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: He's always shown with a shotgun in official art. See "Weapon of Choice" below.
- Skewed Priorities: He takes upon the others to bet actual money that their rescue in No Mercy is a fluke and that they're all going to die. To which Louis calls him out on it:Louis: Francis, why would you bet that we're all going to die?!
Francis: Because it's money in the bank! Remind me to explain gambling to you sometime.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: To Louis and Bill, clashing against the former's constant optimism and the latter's gruffy war veteran attitude. Francis does respect them no matter how much he pokes fun at them and will genuinely be upset if either one of them die.
- Weapon of Choice: His AI prefers the Auto-Shotgun in the first game and sniper rifles in the second game's ported levels, until The Last Stand changed it back to the Auto-Shotgun.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He genuinely has a fear of islands.
- "Stay positive, guys! I've got a good feeling about this!"
Louis is an office worker who is barely dealing with the zombie crisis. Lacking Bill's experience, Francis' attitude, and Zoey's knowledge, Louis has trouble keeping up with everyone else. Despite the setbacks, Louis is always keeping his chin up and seeing the bright side of things no matter how bad things get.
- Action Survivor: Is a pretty normal guy compared to the likes of Bill (a war veteran) and Francis (a gang member), but he can still kick as much zombie ass as the rest of the group.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Prior to the Last Stand update, he might laugh at his fellow survivors if he saw them getting humped by a Jockey.
- Bald of Awesome: Not a hair on his head.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: In the comic Louis asks the others to shoot him before the zombies swarm him, though Bill's actions make it unnecessary.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Louis will sometimes uncharacteristically threaten the Church Guy."Mister, if one of us gets killed out here, I will shoot my way in there and beat you to death with my gun!
- Black and Nerdy: Louis is an IT professional, a normal guy. Standing next to a Green Beret and a Badass Biker would make any normal person look nerdy, even if he is every bit as competent at zombie killing as they are. Louis also knows some Japanese, being able to read the Japanese graffiti on a safe house wall in The Sacrifice, due to having interned in Tokyo, Japan. Louis also mentions when they get to the island during The Sacrifice campaign, there will be no internet or Xbox, being the only one concerned about this. He even makes a joke comparing molotovs to a computer firewall. He is also a gamer. Besides mentioning that he'll miss his Xbox in the apocalypse, he mentions how shooting zombies reminds him of Counter-Strike and when he wields the crowbar for a melee weapon he will say that he feels like Gordon Freeman.
- Butt-Monkey: Not to fans or creators, but Francis definitely doesn't hate suggesting they let Louis die. This seems to be less than totally sincere.
- Crazy-Prepared: Not consciously, though. Official material states that Louis spent his free time at a gun range, explaining how the Desk Jockey got so good at killing zombies. He's also the one who taught Bill how to make pipe-bombs, much to Bill's joy.
- Genre Savvy: He's become this via his status as an Action Survivor and enduring events of the game. It's displayed in The Sacrifice comic to a New Meat survivor.Louis: No, man. This is bad. This is very, very bad. Zombies are like...piranhas. They ain't too choosy about who they attack, you know?
Louis: Point being, if you jump in a lake full of piranhas and you ain't getting attacked? Means there's a shark around.
*sound of an approaching Tank*
- Handicapped Badass: By The Passing Louis has badly injured his leg. He gets a .50 cal M2 Browning turret to make up for that.
- Heroic BSoD: When he finds out that he and the rest of the group are carriers, he drops his usual optimistic demeanor, believing that they were the ones responsible for their rescuers being infected.
- Nice Guy: As the group's optimist, he has this trait.
- The Pollyanna: Easily the most optimistic of the original four Survivors. This ends up getting lampshaded by both Francis and Zoey in Crash Course. By The Sacrifice, Francis is so annoyed at Louis's constant optimism that he either thinks Louis is homicidally insane for always being so positive or threatens to sink the sailboat just so Louis can be sad for once.
- The Smart Guy: He worked in an office job. He's still wearing his work clothes!
- Token Minority: The only African-American on his team.
- Took a Level in Badass: In The Passing, he provides cover fire to the new survivors with a mounted machine gun.
- His attitude has also toughened up. While he is still positive as usual, he won't be afraid to not care what Nick's name is in ending of The Passing due to Nick being such a jerkass and if Louis kills a Tank, he may say "That... is for Bill!"
- Weapon of Choice: His AI prefers the assault rifle in the first game, and auto shotguns in the second game's ported levels pre-Last Stand. Promotional material often has him wielding an Uzi.
Zoey was a college student who spent all of her time watching zombie horror flicks instead of studying for her classes. When the zombie outbreak hit, she had the cold comfort knowing that all her knowledge on zombies would finally be put to use. Appears to become the new leader of the team after Bill's death.
- Action Girl: Like Louis, Zoey is just a normal civilian, but can still kill zombies like no one's business.
- Break the Cutie: Finding out that mercy killing her father was pointless because he was actually immune to the virus and having her surrogate father figure, Bill sacrifice himself so she, Louis, and Francis can escape, has made her rather bitter.
- Bond One-Liner: "Pilot's license revoked. Dun, Dun, Dunnnn."
- The Cutie: A fairly cute and young college student.
- Deadpan Snarker: Many of her quotes display this.Zoey: [Seeing a rack of magazines] Hey Francis, they've got the latest issue of Hating Everything Magazine here.
Zoey: Hey Louis, all of these cubicles make you homesick?
Zoey: Louis... You'd look good in one of those hospital gowns.
Zoey: Hey Bill, it's your favorite stairs! [When they reach more stairs] Hey, Bill, more stairs!
Zoey: Oh, boo-hoo, I don't know what to do...Go to hell, Colonel Sanders.
Zoey: [Seeing graffiti saying "God is dead"] Oh no! The zombies killed God!
- Death By Genre Savvy: Her father's unfortunate fate, whose death was unnecessary as he was a carrier just like Zoey, AKA he couldn't turn into a zombie.
- Expy: Of Claire Redfield; they're both college students who dress very similarly, and even have similar voices.
- Final Girl: Averted; Zoey has all the classic hallmarks of a Final Girl, and in any zombie movie which isn't trying to be deliberately subversive she would almost certainly be one, but Left 4 Dead is a video game, so she's just as liable to end up zombie chow as any of the men.
- Genre Savvy: Having spent most of her college years watching zombie flicks, she knows more than most people would...
- Wrong Genre Savvy: ...though as her character quote indicates, her knowledge is not always applicable in this situation.
- Guns Akimbo: In all official art she wields either a hunting rifle or two handguns.
- Once Done, Never Forgotten: In Crash Course, Francis will not let Zoey forget about shooting the zombie helicopter pilot. Granted, it was at the beginning of the campaign and it caused them to crash land, so it's justifiable.Francis: They're comin'! Zoey, pretend they're all helicopter pilots!
Zoey: Zombies, Francis. He. Was. A. Zombie.
- Pop-Cultured Badass: She constantly references movies and games. Her intimate knowledge of zombie movies might even be part of what makes her a badass.
- Self-Made Orphan: And even sadder, she was entirely unaware that her father was immune when he told her to shoot him.
- The Smurfette Principle: Is the only female of her group. She's relieved when she meets Rochelle and is glad that she's not the last woman in the world.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Zoey was pretty nice and sometimes openly joked about certain things in the first game, but by the sequel, she is very bitter or sometimes even angry at both groups of survivors if they are joking around or wasting time in The Passing. This is due to Zoey being hit very hard over Bill's death. That said, she's still reasonably pleasant to Rochelle and seems to like Ellis a lot.
- The comic gives another possible reason: Zoey is (along with the other survivors) a carrier; infected but not affected by the disease. Apparently, the gene for being a carrier comes from the father. Zoey's father had her shoot him after he had been bitten by her mother; as it turns out, he never would've turned, as she finds out from the doctor at the military base.
- Weapon of Choice: Her AI prefers the Hunting Rifle in the first game, and assault rifles in the second game's ported levels, until The Last Stand changed it back to the Hunting Rifle.
- "This used to be a nice neighborhood!"
Once an aspiring college football player, Coach injured his knee and was forced to retire from sports, putting his physical education degree to use as a health teacher at FHS. Now, he's the defacto leader of the Savannah survivors.
- Actor Allusion: Coach is played by Cutty Wise from The Wire, who was an ex-con that finally found his calling... as a boxing coach.
- As the Good Book Says...: During the boat ride in Swamp Fever Ellis might ask him for an inspirational quote before entering the swamps, to which Coach quotes Psalm 23:4.Coach: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."Nick: (sarcastically) Thanks Coach! That was uplifting.
Last time I saw my grandmother, she asked me, was I still a prayin' man? I told her, "Yes, ma'am!" "Well," she says, "pray harder, cause it ain't workin'!"
- In the official preview trailer for the game, Coach is quoting his grandma about praying to God.
- Bald, Black Leader Guy: Is pretty much the leader of his group and fits the bill in everything else.
- Big Eater: This trope is never actually shown, but it has been assumed multiple times by his fellow Survivors and referenced by Coach himself.
- In Dead Center, he refers to himself as a "one-man cheeseburger apocalypse" and prays that the food court is spared when they enter the ruined mall. Earlier, he takes Whitaker's ridiculous proposal of risking life and limb by summoning tons of zombie hordes to fetch some cola he wants in exchange for safe passage dead seriously, saying that cola and nuts could be his last meal for all they know, something he sympathizes with.
- In The Passing, he ignores the threats of the zombie hordes and the bridal witch at a ruined wedding to keep an eye out for the wedding cake that might be nearby.
- In Dark Carnival, he says he likes eating pizzas sub style and talks about all the food that would have been served at the carnival, while going on a short speech about how cotton candy reigns supreme over the lesser foods as the pharaoh of the food pyramid.
- In Hard Rain, he says that he can go for BBQ bacon burger, a large order of fries, an orange soda with no ice, and a piece of hot apple pie while passing by the Burger Tank. Later he claims it to be a damned shame when the rainstorm washed all the sugar in the sugar mill away.
- Nick lampshades his gluttony while climbing to the roof of the hotel in the game's opening cutscene by motivating him saying that "maybe the helicopter is made of chocolate", which is also a reference to the "chocolate helicopter" brand candy bar he's eating in the beginning of the intro.
- Big Fun: He's visibly packing the most amount of weight out of the gang, and tends to engage in harmless ribbing and jokes whenever appropriate.
- The Big Guy: Easily the biggest survivor.
- Chainsaw Good: Official art often portrays him with a chainsaw and in the intro he uses a chainsaw to free Ellis from the clutches of a Smoker.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Invoked Trope. When Coach introduces himself to the other survivors in the beginning of Dead Center, he says everyone calls him Coach and that they could do the same. If Coach dies, Rochelle will jokingly wonder if "Coach" was his first or last name.
- Expy: To Bill; both are the oldest men in their group and they both had suffered knee injuries.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Even with his Sir Swears-a-Lot status, there's an opening exchange on Dead Center where he starts out preferring to do this. Nick calls him out for it.
- I Coulda Been a Contender!: A knee injury destroyed his chances of getting into the NFL decades ago, and now he's middle aged and fat. At least he got to be a zombie slayer instead.
- Inappropriate Hunger: Even if zombies are out to kill him, he still has time to think of hamburgers and worry if the food court is okay, even claiming he won't shoot a zombie if it runs at him with a sample tray. Ellis feels sorry for the zombie that destroys the last cheeseburger. Coach will not be pleased. Coach will also express disappointment over how the storm washed away all the sugar at the mill in Hard Rain."If I see a zombie running at me with a sample tray, I ain't shootin' it!"
- Nice Guy: Very easy going and rarely ever gets angry.
- Real Men Love Jesus: Implied in the trailer where Coach admits (to his grandmother) that he still prays to God. Dead Center also has Coach reprimanding Nick for swearing and taking the Lord's name in vain. He also laments about the Zombie Apocalypse being a plague and taking the storm in Hard Rain as signs from heaven that the Lord is displeased.
- Shipper on Deck: Coach and Rochelle seem to push Ellis to talk to Zoey about his feelings for her.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Out of all of the survivors in both games, he swears the most. He says "shit" 165 times, "damn" and variants 91 times, and "fuck" once (while he hangs off a ledge). Everyone else's numbers never break triple digits.
- Team Dad: As much as he gripes about them, he appears to genuinely care for the rest of the crew and attempts to keep them out of harm's way.
- Weapon of Choice: His AI prefers Auto Shotguns. Official cinematics and trailers also show him wielding a chainsaw frequently.
- "Kill all sons-a-bitches. That's my 'ficial instructions."
Ellis lived a fairly carefree life before the outbreak, working as an auto mechanic and playing bass in his co-workers' band. In spite of the changes a zombie apocalypse brings, he's determined to keep that sunny disposition going.
- Ambiguously Bi: He's not shy about his attraction to Zoey, but he also mentions being completely willing to bear Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s children, and when Rochelle retorts by suggesting he has a crush on Francis, he's too oblivious to either confirm or deny it, but his response indicates he finds Francis entirely deserving of said crush.Ellis: Hey, Ro, now I don't wanna get your hopes up, but I think that awesome biker dude has a little crush on you.
Rochelle: Well, I think someone has a crush on that awesome biker dude.
Ellis: Well, I don't doubt it! That is a cool guy!
- American Accents: Dixie.
- Berserk Button: Do not insult Jimmy Gibbs Jr. in front of him.
- Big "NO!": When he gets grabbed by a Smoker or sees zombie Jimmy Gibbs Jr.
- Blood Knight: He already shows shades of this when the apocalypse happened. Case in point, one of his "hurrah" lines has him liken his current events less as living in an apocalypse and more as living in "the best shooting range of all time".
- Butt-Monkey: Every time anything bad happens in the trailer, it happens to Ellis. To wit, he's forced to run from a Jockey and gets his face slammed against a car hood when he's caught, gets cornered by a hostile Spitter alongside Rochelle, is thrown through a wall and is subsequently pummeled by a Charger, and his only weapon gets pulled out of his hands by a zombie before he's caught by a Smoker between a closing elevator door while an entire mob of zombies starts beating him.
- Captain Obvious: Ellis, upon spotting a statue of a horse in a park.Ellis: HORSE!
Nick: Nice observation, Ellis.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Ellis is easily the survivor with the weakest grip on reality, often launching into completely pointless stories about his friend Keith, and the other survivors have to remind him that now is not the best time for such things. His comfort in being in a zombie apocalypse disturbs Coach sometimes, calling him "not right in the head". He sounds like a kid in a candy store in Dark Carnival especially.Holy shit guys, KIDDIE LAND!
- Friendly Sniper: He's the cheeriest member of the bunch and bot Ellis will prefer rifles over anything else. This applies in the crossover with Resident Evil 6 as his mercenaries character is equipped with two sniper rifles.
- Genius Ditz: Despite his Cloud Cuckoolander status, he is pretty damn technologically inclined and smart. It's hinted that he may be the most intelligent of the four survivors. He is a mechanic after all. Ellis is often the one to formulate a plan on how to escape out of the area they're in. At the very least, it's usually Ellis who suggests filling up the show car with gasoline or turning on the stage show in the carnival. In addition, whether or not Keith actually went through the stories he tells, Ellis at least has a basic grasp of medical terms.
- Heroic BSoD: Despite his chipper attitude, he'll let out a hysterical Big "NO!" if he ever sees or is forced to kill a zombiefied Jimmy Gibbs Jr.
- Hero-Worshipper: Towards Jimmy Gibbs Jr. He shows occasional shades of this towards Nick throughout the game as well.Ellis: (about Jimmy Gibbs Jr.) I would take a bullet for that man!
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Downplayed. Upon entering the bar in the first level of The Parish, Ellis may say that he could go for a cold one right about now. While it may be just Ellis wanting a nice cold beer, the stress of the Zombie Apocalypse may have made the desire to drink a bit stronger.
- Informed Flaw: Similar to Francis' case, his fellow survivors have lines poking fun at his supposed shortness such as calling him shorty or little man. This is despite the fact that Ellis is roughly as tall as Nick standing up while Rochelle is visibly the shortest of the four of the Savannah survivors.
- Keet: Easily the chattiest and most cheerful survivor.
- Love at First Sight: Invoked when he sees Zoey in The Passing. Not so much on her part, though...
- Manchild: As Coach and Nick put it:Coach: Sometimes it feels like we're babysitting doesn't it?
Nick: He's like a five year old. With guns. And a comprehensive grasp of every swear word in the English language.
- Motor Mouth: He's very talkative, to say the least.
- Nice Guy: When you get past his Cloudcuckoolander tendencies, Ellis is probably the most friendly and optimistic survivor in the series.
- Nice Hat: If you own Team Fortress 2 and bought or own Left 4 Dead 2, you got it in TF2.
- Noodle Incident: Every story about Keith gets cut off when the other survivors tell him now isn't the time. Also prior to the events of Dead Center, to escape he apparently armored up a truck to be 99% zombie proof. Unfortunately for him and the truck, the zombies found the 1% that wasn't zombie proof and "tore that truck to shit".
- The Pollyanna: He's the happiest, most talkative, and optimistic of the four survivors. Until someone dies.
- Pretty Boy: His face model is a professional male model named Jesy McKinney◊. There is a reason Ellis is the most drawn and written about of the eight survivors.
- Shout-Out: Ellis looks almost like a real life version of The Scout.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Not as much as Nick, but he has his moments.
- Skewed Priorities: Happens constantly with him due to being a Cloud Cuckoolander. He's upset the Zombie Apocalypse happened all because it made him miss his chance of getting his picture taken with Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s stock car. Meanwhile him at Kiddie Land in Dark Carnival just has him wanting to go on the rides all the time. And when walking through the sewers in The Passing, he might give this gem:Ellis: Okay if anybody needs a bathroom break now would be a good time!
Nick: Bad advice, BAD ADVICE.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Ellis never gets to really tell Zoey how he feels about her. And Zoey never gets to tell him; she either wanted him to stay with her, or to go with him as he pulls away. Damn Zombie Apocalypse getting in the way of young love.
- Sweet Home Alabama: While he shows some redneck tendencies, such as his love of cars and guns, he also comes off as a pretty easygoing and friendly guy.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Nick, although it's pretty one sided as Ellis rarely tries to antagonize him, meanwhile Nick takes every chance to shoot a sarcastic remark or an insult to Ellis, but still manages to care for him as a friend and recognizes his resourcefulness.
- Weapon of Choice: His AI prefers Sniper Rifles.
- "The last people on earth are me, and the goddamn three stooges."
A traveling con man and ex-felon, Nick only planned to stick with the others long enough to reach the evac point at the hotel. When that opportunity flies away, he's forced to stick around a while longer and learn to trust these strangers.
- Ambiguous Criminal History: Despite being characterized as a con man and dropping several hints at his criminal background, he never specifies the kinds of criminal activities he was involved in. If his comment that hes not legally allowed to own a gun is accurate, hes been arrested for a violent crime at least once.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: He's wearing a suit in the Zombie Apocalypse, which he claims cost $3,000. Then again, he is a con man.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Sometimes when getting Ellis' attention through voice commands, he'll put on a goofy hillbilly accent.
- Con Man: Nick's prior line of work.
- Con Men Hate Guns: Averted in the fact that he's pretty much always packing heat, with plenty of justification though, and he hints at some past experiences that involve him and guns.
- The Cynic: Will be the first one to point out how they are going to die or how screwed they are and will do so constantly. Even in non dangerous situations, he'll find something to be cynical about. He does dial back the cynicism a little bit as time goes on.
- The Dandy: Deconstructed, given the reality he's in. His suit has definitely seen better days, with what was once a clean white suit now lightly stained with mud and grime. One of his main concerns with having to wade through a muddy swamp or disgusting sewer pipes is getting his suit dirty, and his germaphobic attitude doesn't help much when he's constantly getting splashed with mud, sewage, blood, puke and whatever else the zombies throw at him when he's just trying to survive.
- Deadpan Snarker: He especially likes to pick on Ellis and Coach.
- Defrosting Ice King: Over the course of the game he warms up to his companions.
- Determinator: "I have not... come this far... to die NOW!"
- The Family for the Whole Family: Strongly hinted to have some Irish mob connections, along with intimate knowledge of how to remove bloodstains from wedding dresses or brain matter from suits ("Don't ask me how I know that").
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Though Ellis likes him—to an almost baffling extent, sometimes, considering Nick's attitude. When stumbling upon a tattoo parlor in The Passing, Ellis will suggest that he and Nick get matching tattoos that say 'Bros'. Also, if Nick dies, two of Ellis's possible responses are, "Damn, Nick.... Heh, we were just gettin' to be friends..." and "Miss you, brother." Even when Nick is being straight-up vicious, Ellis won't be deterred:Nick: (in response to Ellis commenting on Nick's dirty suit) I hate you, Ellis.Ellis: Well, I still like you, Nick.
- Genre Savvy: Less savvy than Zoey about the zombies themselves, but Nick is largely unsurprised by many of the things done by humans (and the military in particular).
- He-Man Woman Hater: Downplayed. He doesn't exactly hate women per se, but he does seem to hold quite a negative view on them and won't hesitate to make sexist and misogynist comments towards Rochelle and Zoey. His negative view on women is hinted at during The Passing if he encounters the bride Witch, saying that a crying woman at a wedding in a wedding dress was bringing back some bad memories. Nick also may mention he was married once, which explains his sour view on women.
- Heroic Ambidexterity: Depicted as such in the official trailer, although in-game he doesn't actually handle weapons differently from any other character, due to all model differences being merely aesthetic. It's most easily spotted at the very beginning of the trailer, when he's holding his Magnum in his right hand, then fires it from his left shortly after. It can also be seen when they're running for the elevator and he's holding the Magnum in his right hand again; and if you pay careful attention to the clips during the elevator countdown, when Rochelle is holding off the horde with a machine gun, and when the group faces a Tank on the bridge he is seen shooting a Bullpup with his left hand, as well.
- Jerkass: Starts off this way by constantly insulting the rest of his fellow survivors and The Passing has him acting like a complete misogynist and sexist jerk, which he does get called out for. (it's hinted at his comments at the wedding park that he may have had a bad marriage or terrible experience with women in general). One of the unused Dead Center lines has Nick gets so pissed off at Ellis calling the helicopter a "whirlybird" that he out right threatens to kick his ass so hard that Ellis will wish that his sister never gave birth to him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a complete asshole at first, but he does warm up to his teammates over time.
"Wow, Nick. I guess you do have a heart... A HEART OF GOLD!"
- Lampshaded by Rochelle:
"Coach... I'm gonna miss ya, big guy."
- Also, check his reaction to Coach's death. He knows Coach is the heart of the team.
- In the intro cinematic for Left 4 Dead 2, Nick is always the first to help someone who gets in trouble, even if he is swearing about having to do it.
- The "Good Guy Nick" achievement pokes fun at this as well.
- "Just Joking" Justification: One of the introductions in The Passing can have Nick acting sexist towards Zoey, only to begrudgingly complain about people not being able to take a joke after Zoey acts hostile in response:Nick That's terrific, cupcake. Look, is there a man up there that we can talk to?
Zoey Boo-hoo! I don't know what to do! Go to hell, Colonel Sanders!
Nick Would you lighten up? [grumbling] Man, no one can take a joke around here anymore.
Nick: You know all that shit I was talking about you? I was only joking...
- A more somber version of this plays out if Nick finds Ellis's dead body:
- Loveable Rogue: A snarky con artist/gambler, who nevertheless has some of the best lines in game.
- Mad Libs Catch Phrase: "X. Don't ask me how I know that", where X is something about cleaning blood or guts out of clothing. See Noodle Incident.
- Noodle Incident: From some of his quotes:Brains come out. Swamp water doesn't. Don't ask me how I know that.
Legally, I'm not allowed to have a gun... I hope everyone's okay with that.Nick: (picking up a baseball bat) This brings back some good memories.
Coach: You used to play ball, Nick?
Nick: Nope. Bouncer at a club!
- Not So Above It All: Nick tends to chime and mock Coach and especially Ellis when an opportunity presents itself, but occasionally he'll genuinely express interest and ask them about some of the things they like, like if the Midnight Riders are any good. Also, he rarely states that he wants to ride one of the carnival's rides if Ellis enthusiastically calls out Kiddieland.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: He was married at least once, and it didn't end well. This seems to have soured his view of women given the number of sexist lines he says throughout the game.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: With several variations of "ass" and "bitch" and constant use of "shit" and "damn", Nick's easily the most foulmouthed Survivor in the series.
- Skewed Priorities: One of his friendly fire lines has him more upset that the person shooting at him is ruining his nice suit instead of being upset about getting shot in general.Nick: Are you really going to shoot the guy in the three thousand dollar suit?! COME ON!
- Terrified of Germs: Despite putting on a tough guy persona, Nick is quick to point out just how unsanitary the sewers are in The Parish campaign. The trope comes out in full force in The Passing campaign where Nick does the following:
- Believes that the Zombie Apocalypse could have been prevented if everyone used more hand sanitizer, to which Rochelle makes fun of him for it.
- Despises having to go through the "Under The River" Tour because of all the dust and dirt. Coach pokes fun at him for this.
- Fears being pounced by a Hunter in the sewers because it would mean him being "submerged in shit water".
- Complains in the sewers that he is breathing "shit air" into his lungs, which goes into his bloodstream, and now he is literally full of shit.
- Asks the other survivors to carry him above the water via piggyback ride and will pay them $1000 for it.
- Complains about having to wade through a "giant toilet" to keep using Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s car and curses Gibbs' name for it.
- Weapon of Choice: His AI prefers Assault Rifles.
- "Okay, nobody better make a crack about me being in the kitchen!"
Rochelle heard the reports about a disease outbreak on the east coast, but didn't expect a zombie apocalypse. Unfortunately, that's exactly what she found when her news crew came to Savannah, and now she's stuck with three strangers, fighting to survive.
- Action Survivor: Like Louis and Zoey before her, Rochelle comes off as the most "civilian" of her fellow group, being a reporter in comparison to an ex-pro athlete, a gun enthusiast, and a criminal with a history with guns. This doesn't stop her from kicking just as much zombie ass all the other survivors though.
- Beta Couple: To compliment Ellis' crush on Zoey, Rochelle has a not-so-subtle crush with Francis in The Passing.
- Cool Big Sis: To Ellis, at least.
- The Chick: Aside from being the only female in the group, she sticks up for Ellis whenever Nick makes fun of him and is quick to step in when Nick and Francis look like they were about to shoot each other.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has quite a few, especially during Swamp Fever and The Passing.
- When she sees zombies for the first time: "I think CEDA should have done more than to tell us to wash our hands."
- Doesn't Like Guns / Gun Nut: Rochelle expresses dislike for guns and needing to visit Whitaker's gun store, but is willing to put up with it because the zombies are that much worse. Once she finds using the guns a necessity against the zombies, when she actually visits Whitaker's store, she is a little more than overjoyed when looking at all the guns, with Ellis remarking that she sounds just like his mom.Rochelle: I don't know if it's the feel, or the weight, or the thousand zombies trying to kill me. But I am really starting to like guns.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: "Axe me a question, I dare you."
- Intrepid Reporter: Averted in that Rochelle at first sees the entire thing as a story that can put her on the map, but turns out to basically be fighting for her life and totally unconcerned about the event itself.
- I Resemble That Remark!: In Dead Center, Nick might call her "loud girl", which has her screaming "I AM NOT—" before she realizes what she's doing and lowers her voice to protest Nick's name calling.
- Rhymes on a Dime: "Dibs on Gibbs!"
- Sarcasm Mode: Rochelle's reaction to Ellis's fanboyism over Jimmy Gibbs Jr.Rochelle: Anybody know who the racecar guys is?
Ellis: Only the greatest stock car racer of all time. Try readin' a book sometime.
Rochelle: Jimmy Gibbs Jr... yay.
- Sassy Black Woman: Downplayed. Rochelle is more snarky than outright sassy but she certainly won't hesitate to pour on some sass when the situation calls for it. Doubly so when it comes to Ellis' antics or at Nick's expense.
- Shipper on Deck: For Ellis and Zoey.
- Shout-Out: Many of her quotes are lines from Anchorman.Knights Of Columbus, that hurt.
- And she's wearing a Depeche Mode t-shirt.
- Team Mom: She especially acts like this to Ellis, politely quieting him whenever he starts rambling childishly.
- The Smurfette Principle: The only female in the group.
- Weapon of Choice: Her AI prefers Assault Rifles and the Magnum pistol. And when she picks a Magnum up, she's a little overjoyed about it.
- Body Horror: Regular infected have it bad enough, but the Special Infected are plagued with rarer conditions that make them seem inhumane when compared to the others. Atrophied limbs, gigantic tumors, pulsating and leaking boils are just the tip of the iceberg for them.
- Hell Is That Noise: Each Special Infected has a unique set of sounds that can be used to identify their presence. Most have different sounds for when they're idle, when they've spotted a victim, and when they're attacking.
- Leitmotif: All Special Infected are indicated by musical cues when they arrive on the field somewhere, one is a subtle riff, the other is a blood pumping theme that plays when they're attacking you.
- The Boomer's alert is as heavy as they are.
- The Smoker's alerts are long and drawn out like its tongue.
- The Hunter gets an alert with notes as sharp as their claws.
- The Charger gets a blunt alert that fits its favored attack method via blunt force trauma.
- The Spitter's alert is drawn out and sharp, much like the pools of acid she coughs up.
- The Jockey's alerts are hyper and manic, fitting for the hopping mad creatures.
- The Witch sports a somber yet harrowing theme that practically screams 'stay away'.
- The Tank has the glory of getting a very loud and dramatic theme that continues playing so as long as either of you are still alive. This theme gets a rock version in the sequel when on Dark Carnival's finale.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Special Infected might make it a point to approach a Survivor already pinned by another Special Infected and help by clawing them to death. Sometimes, this will kill the Special Infected who has the Survivor in their grasps and allow them to escape.
- Roar Before Beating: Whenever a Special Infected sees prey, they'll roar and scream loudly before attacking. The only exceptions to this is the Jockey and a Hunter who isn't prowling.
- Say My Name: The survivors will all shout their respective names if any of them are within their line of sight. On the beginning of Dead Center, the survivors give them nicknames instead since they haven't settled on what names to give them at that point.
- There Was a Door: Like with the common infected, special infected can tear down certain walls to reach the survivors more quickly. They aren't above tearing down actual doors, though an undamaged door takes three claw swipes to fully destroy while a wall takes just one swipe to crumble.
- With Catlike Tread: All Special Infected, save for the Hunter when he's not prowling, make loud and constant noises even when they'd be better of being quiet when hunting their prey, such as the Smokers persistent coughing, the Jockey's constant laughter and the Boomer's frequent burping and gurgling.
- "Don't shoot him if he's near ME, okay?!"—Nick
An extremely bloated infected person. The mutation of this poor soul has apparently turned their bodily fluids into potent zombie pheromones, which is puked onto the survivors with impunity. The Boomer explodes violently upon death. The only Special Infected with obvious models for male and female.
- Action Bomb: The Boomer can resort to this if the vomit attack misses or they can't escape. A Boomer's bile can be spread by both vomit and exploding.
- Body Horror: The L4D wiki, when explaining the Boomer's mutations in detail, makes it second only to the Smoker in pure disgust factor. Those boils are indications that it may be still expanding.
- Combination Attack: With hordes summoned by crescendo events being one of the best opportunities for an Infected team to stage an attack, a Boomer coating the Survivors and summoning a large horde on demand is an invaluable thing to pull off. Likewise, expect a great deal of shame or maybe even a boot from the lobby if a Boomer player whiffs a puke attack and dies.
- Dead Weight: May actually be a subversion, since The Boomer probably wasn't much fatter than, say, Gabe Newell pre-infection - most of their impressive girth can be attributed to the methane gas that they are constantly burping up. Some even theorize that they weren't necessarily overweight at all, but The Virus can just deform you THAT badly.
- Death by Irony: Thanks to the Boomer Bile jars, you can now kill these things using zombies attracted by their own puke!
- Distaff Counterpart: The second game introduces female Boomers or "Boomettes" on certain maps. Despite looking different and making different noises, they otherwise function exactly the same as male Boomers.
- Enemy Summoner: Its bile, in contact with human skin, calls common infected to the area.
- Fan Disservice: The Boomette, with saggier skin, a sports bra, and shorts, on top of having more gangrene and vomit down her chin, chest, and belly, on top of sounding kind of like a pig.
- Fat Bastard / Fat Bitch: Their weight is constantly mentioned by the Survivors of 2 in the beginning two levels of Dead Center.
- Gass Hole: You can often tell when a Boomer is around if you hear loud and angry burping.
- Glass Cannon: Easily the most fragile of the playable zombies; its 50 HP is so low that two pistol shots are certain death at all but extreme distances. However, it's also one of the most powerful, as the chaos wrought by a Boomer horde creates openings like nothing else and is absolutely vital to attacks by skilled teams. Its glass cannon tendencies really stick out on higher difficulties when hordes are much more fearsome.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Dead Boomers explode, leaving only their bottom halves intact.
- Interface Screw: Side effects of Boomer bile include, but are not limited to, blurred vision, removal of helpful HUD icons, nausea, instinctive muscle spasms, bad odor, and having your arms ripped off by the horde.
- Jiggle Physics: On the Boomette.
- Ludicrous Gibs: When killed, the only thing that the Boomer leaves behind is the lower half of its body.
- Made of Explodium: It doesn't matter what means you use to dispose of it; when it dies, it explodes. Boomers and Boomettes are living methane bombs full of rancid bile after all. Unfortunately, that bile attracts more Infected when it does.
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules: AI-controlled Boomers take fall damage unlike every other Special Infected. With their measly hit points, this allows them to pop like a water balloon all over unsuspecting survivors below. However, Player-controlled Boomers don't take fall damage, presumably so multiplayer isn't ridden with every Boomer player promptly chucking themselves off the nearest building and onto the Survivors instead of actually trying to stage an ambush.
- Super Spit: The Boomer's main weapon is his horde-attracting bile.
- Support Party Member: Can't instantly disable survivors or deal strong damage with its attacks unlike the other special infected, but it does have the ability to cause Interface Screw as well as summoning a horde of zombies to distract the player, both of which can help the other Special Infected take the survivors down more easily.
- Taking You with Me: Sometimes, the boomer will try to pull a kamikaze move on the players by falling from somewhere higher than the Survivors.
- The Unfavorite: It is the least featured infected in the trailers, likely because it is also the least direct-combat-oriented of the special infected.
- Violation of Common Sense: Player-controlled Boomers are meant to vomit on the Survivors from a distance since any human that sees it will kill it on sight, but a Genre Savvy player who understands the consequences of killing a Boomer at close range will instead get as close to the group as possible and not even have to attack for fun times. Either you'll be shot out of reflex and thus get everyone covered in bile, the survivors will panic trying to avoid shooting you, shove you away from them and right into another survivor and repeat until you're finally popped and someone gets covered or they'll debate who should sacrifice his/her dignity/cleanliness for the rest of the party. Actually pretty funny since this is one of the few dick moves the AI Director won't pull on you, making it a bit of a novelty in Versus games.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: As expected when it pukes in your face.
- Zombie Puke Attack: Its main attack. The moment it sees you, it pukes on you.
- "He's gonna have to use that tongue to choke my foot out of his ass!"—Francis
A tall infected with an extremely long tongue (although it might be his intestines) used to entangle the survivors. The Smoker fills the Infected's sniper role somewhat, capable of yanking a distracted survivor away from his friends from a distance.
- Body Horror: Cancerous Growths + Tongue From Neck = Not Good. Even more so in Left 4 Dead 2.
- Cold Sniper: Unlike most of the other infected who like to get all up in your face and beat or claw you to death, the Smoker attacks from a distance with its tongue in a way similar to a sniper.
- From Bad to Worse: His mutation in Left 4 Dead 2 is far more advanced than in Left 4 Dead, giving him several non-functional tentacles and gigantic tumors that are making him lean to the side just to keep balance.
- Giant Mook: Player characters barely come up to the Smoker's chin, and he has a few inches on the Tank. In combination with his distinct green particle trail, survivors shouldn't have too hard a time spotting him ahead of time... usually.
- Hell Is That Noise: When a Smoker spawns nearby, he'll let you know by letting out what can be best described as angry coughing. If you hear guttural, echoing screaming, then it means he's found you.
- Human Shield: Subverted. You'd think he'd be able to use his victims as this, but patches to the game ensure that this is impossible due to bullets piercing survivors harmlessly under the stipulation that they also hit an Infected.
- Incurable Cough of Death: You can tell when one is nearby when you hear constant coughing, wheezing and gasping, and given that they're infected with a terminal disease, there's not much hope for their longevity.
- Lean and Mean: By far the leanest of the Special Infected and just as aggressive.
- Lovecraftian Superpower: Gains the ability to strangle people with his gigantic tongue.
- Morton's Fork: Some maps have spots that allow a Smoker to suspend their victim off off a high and fatal drop, meaning that even if you rescue the Survivor by cutting the tongue/killing the Smoker, it'll still send them plummeting to their doom, or at the very least an instant incapacitation.
- Neck Snap: The loud snap heard when a Survivor is finally strangled to death by a Smoker indicates this, if it isn't the sound of their ribs collapsing.
- Overly Long Tongue: His trademark and attack method, though at some point it might've stopped being his tongue and instead resorted to his intestine.
- Smoking Is Cool: Averted, if smoking actually affected his mutations. General consensus seems to be that he's called the Smoker because of the gas he extrudes and the constant coughing and wheezing more than because he smoked before infection.
- Tentacle Rope: How he holds his victims.
- Unwilling Suspension: This is its modus operandi.
- You Don't Look Like You: Every other Special Infected in the sequel got a new model to show that their symptoms have gone From Bad to Worse, but otherwise look like the same people degraded by their disease. Not the case for the Smoker, who's a totally different guy wearing jeans, a purple shirt and a new hairstyle from the green jacket wearing Smoker from the prequel. That, and the former's got tumors huge enough to swerve his balance while standing.
- "Hunter around. Don't get pounced!"—Zoey
An extremely fast and agile infected man capable of making tremendous leaps. The Hunter can take out lone survivors by tackling them to the floor and clawing them to death.
- Bald of Evil: In a couple of blink-and-you'll-miss-it moments.
- Bizarre Alien Senses: While the Hunter suffers from his lack of eyes, it still can somehow see as shown in Versus mode. Many attribute its screaming to be some kind of echolocation.
- Deadly Lunge: His modus operandi. The Hunter can knock a survivor down and start to claw them to death. The Survivor in question is completely helpless, and can only be saved by another human.
- Difficult, but Awesome: In Versus, more so than any of the other Specials. He has the potential to demolish a single survivor's HP in a matter of seconds, as well as having a fast method of movement and attacking. Unfortunately, until you learn when and how to strike, expect coordinated teams to kill you within an instant.
- Disability Super Power: Its mutation most likely destroyed the Hunter's eyesight to allow it to better hunt by smell/sound.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Barefoot in 2.
- Eye Scream: If you look at a positioned corpse closely, or crouch underneath a Hunter, you can peer into his hood. His eyes are either decayed or clawed out, as they appear to be empty sockets.
- Fragile Speedster: The Hunter is, without question, the most mobile Infected. However, he has average-at-best health.
- Glass Cannon: While it has more health than, say, the Boomer, the Hunter has mid-range health and requires itself to be very close to the survivors to attack.
- Goomba Stomp: Hunters can deal an instant amount of damage depending on how high of a jump they made before landing on a Survivor. The highest of jumps will instantly deal 25 damage, as much as getting punched by a Tank.
- Hell Is That Noise: You can tell when a Hunter is on the prowl when you hear animalistic growling nearby. If you hear a deafening and high pitched shriek, then it means you are now in his sight and/or he is on the attack. This is actually used as a distraction tactic in Versus by Hunter players, who will often continuously jump around the map and harass the survivors with non-stop screaming.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: One strategy that might be seen in Versus matches is a Hunter utilizing the chaos of a horde to blend in with the charging masses and quietly claw Survivors to death rather than pounce on them. The fact that a Hunter practically makes no noise when he isn't preparing for a pounce, has a pretty natural and inconspicuous body physique compared to his fellow Special Infected, and his claws do the second highest amount of quick melee damage besides the Charger makes this more deadly than it sounds.
- In a Single Bound: Hunters are able to leap enormous distances in a single bound, being able to pounce on survivors from across an entire city block or come down on them from above. When combined with their ability to Wall Jump, Hunters can attack from nearly anywhere on the map. In Versus mode, skilled Hunters are rewarded for their efforts by giving bonus initial pounce damage depending on how far the Hunter leaped before landing on an unlucky Survivor. Don't be surprised if you suddenly lose 25 health after a Hunter comes down on you from the top of a skyscraper.
- Incendiary Exponent/Infernal Retaliation: Extra damage when they have you pinned if they're on fire.
- In the Hood: The Hunter appears to be wearing a hoodie in both games.
- Le Parkour: Based off of one - his clothes' limbs are sealed shut with duct tape, a common practice by traceurs, and he moves around by agilely jumping around, ignoring most obstacles.
- Personal Space Invader: His main attack is pinning down a human in a way that leaves them completely at his mercy.
- Stealth Expert: His silhouette looks similar to a Common Infected's silhouette, he doesn't have particles like the Smoker or Spitter, he wears all black and he's the only Infected that doesn't passively make any noise while he's running around. It's very easy to hide from Survivors and not alert them to your presence, especially in darkness, contributing to the Hunter's assassination role. But all this gets thrown out the window as soon as they get on all-fours, let alone sees prey.
- Tears of Blood: See Eye Scream above.
- Undead Barefooter: By the sequel, he's discarded his shoes. He seems to have a habit of picking his clothes off in general, as his sleeves and pant legs are also torn off.
- With Catlike Tread: As soon as the Hunter crouches or jumps, he lets out a blood-curdling scream, letting all nearby Survivors know that he's on the attack.
- "HE'S BASHING ME INTO SHIT!"—Ellis
An infected man with an extremely large arm. The Charger uses his mutated fist to rush the survivors and fling them about.
- Barrier-Busting Blow: The Charger is one of the most effective anti-door measures that the Infected have. His fist is already good at breaking doors off their hinges, and his charge goes through doors like tissue paper - a nasty potential surprise for anyone on the other side.
- Body Horror: The arms◊: his right arm is oversized and bulky while his left arm is shriveled and thin.
- Bullfight Boss: If a Charger comes at you, the best thing you can do is just get out of his way.
- Facial Horror: Not all that noticeable thanks to his horrific arms, but getting a good look at his face shows that he's missing his entire nose, his skull is dented badly and the flesh on half of his lower jaw has rotted away. He might as well have a bare skull for a head in his current condition.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: The Charger's modus operandi. The first target hit is grabbed by the Charger and carried the length of the charge, while anyone else in his way is thrown aside.
- Immune to Flinching: Grenade launcher blasts won't stun him nor will shoving do anything. Explosions from canisters and explosive ammo will make him stumble however.
- Lightning Bruiser: Has the highest HP of all Special Infected besides the Tank and his charge speeds him up considerably, which deals a good chunk of instant damage if it catches anyone.
- Mini-Boss: He's described as a weaker Tank, and it shows. Unlike other Special Infected, you cannot push him off of a Survivor, much like how it's very hard to dissuade a Tank from its chosen target. He also has an abnormally high health when compared to any Infected other than the Witch or the Tank. Unlike either though, the Charger spawns just as often as the other Special Infected.
- Punched Across the Room: Though his punch doesn't do knockback, his charge does on anyone that isn't his target. In certain areas, the knockback can become more deadly than the charge itself.
- Red Right Hand: His oversized right arm. He'll even pound you to death with it.
- The Right Hand of Doom: Literally.
- Ring-Out Boss: Inverted: He is the one that kills you, charging you off the map. Assuming he didn't grab one of your allies on the way and give you a Ring Out anyways.
- Roar Before Beating: The Charger lets out a distinctive roar when he charges.
- Taking You with Me: Certain places in the games allow a well-aimed Charger to carry both his victim and himself down a fatal drop. He and the player controlling him can also charge into a molotov or gas can fire just to spite their victim.
- "Oh Jesus, this zombie spits burning shit!"—Rochelle
Somewhat similar to the Boomer, the Spitter spews a liquid. Unlike the Boomer, the Spitter's liquid is a potent acid, capable of seriously hurting survivors who touch it.
- Acid Attack: She spits globs of acidic goo that coat whatever surface they impact, damaging any Survivors standing on it. The damage ramps up over time, making it especially dangerous if the Survivors are caught in the midst of a horde. Becomes doubly dangerous if they manage to spit on survivors that are on fire.
- Bare Your Midriff: For your viewing pleasure.
- Body Horror: The virus has warped her body into a pencil-necked acid launcher and her face is burned away from the stuff. Her glow and fleshy body is likely due to the acid eating away at her and kept in some parts for later.
- Combination Attack: Spitter goo is easy enough to dodge by itself, just side step or wait for the puddle to fizzle. But the applications of the goo become much more apparent when other Infected are on the field: spitting on a Survivor who's in the clutches of fellow Special Infected/pinned down by a horde, or at an escape route while desperate Survivors are fleeing from a charging Tank/horde are among the best moments a Spitter has to attack to support her team.
- Cold Sniper: Due to the long regeneration time of the spit, the Spitter's fragility, and the extreme range of the spit, she acts mostly like the Smoker.
- Fat Bitch: She's definitely paunchy, possibly due to her mutations. Coach even explicitly refers to her sometimes as "that fat sptting bitch".
- Fan Disservice: Contrast her outfit (bra, capris, and a pink thong) with her mutation (bloated, sagging skin around the stomach, greenish skin, and a half her face gone).
- Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Her bra, capris, and thong are very, very tight on her.
- From Bad to Worse: The Spitter was the first Special Infected devised for the sequel in order to eliminate the game-breaking "camp in a corner and melee" tactic.
- Girlish Pigtails: Sort of makes her look like a zombie Pippi Longstocking.
- Glass Cannon: Although she can barely take any more damage than a Boomer, her acid hurts and can potentially incapacitate entire teams outright if they're caught in her acid patch and unable to escape. A well shot acid patch can make or break entire rounds in Versus.
- Good Lips, Evil Jaws: Her acid has burned away her lips, leaving a mostly barren set of jaws with a few teeth sticking out.
- Jiggle Physics: Her belly and boobs are pretty jiggly, like her pigtails.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: The trick to maximizing the Spitter's damage is to attack enemies that are in no position to avoid the acid pool. Victims of Hunters, Jockeys, and Smokers make easy targets for an almost guaranteed incapacitation, bile-covered survivors won't be able to avoid the acid while being mobbed by Commons (which can be experienced for yourself in the Flu Season mutation, which spawns nothing but Spitters, Boomers, and Boomer hordes), and downed survivors can't be safely revived while lying in goo.
- Lovecraftian Superpower: She spits globs of stomach acid kept in flimsy membrane pouches.
- Mundane Utility: The Spitter's acid attack is the only attack from the Special Infected that can destroy gas cans (only if Survivors have picked it up, then dropped it in VS), which can ruin the Survivors' progress during Scavenge games.
- Nipple and Dimed: Her nipples can be seen as little pokes through her bra.
- Panty Shot: Her thong isn't that well hidden.
- Poison Is Corrosive: Played with. Spitter acid doesn't actually melt through whatever it comes in contact with (mainly due to game mechanics), but while the fanbase calls it acid for very obvious reasons, it's never actually referred to as acid in the game. They always call it "Spitter goo" or "burning goo shit." The in-game subtitles give the prompt [Acid Sizzling] when she spits, though.
- Required Secondary Powers: What the Spitter seems to lack is a resistance to her own corrosive spit, as the flesh around her mouth has melted away and the skin on her belly is burnt from her spit dripping onto it. It is likely that Spitters are doomed to corrode themselves to death over time.
- Sickly Green Glow: Her acid tends to drip out of her mouth as she walks. It also gives away her location to anyone looking in her general direction. In dark areas, Spitters are practically bio-luminescent and glow in the dark.
- Suicide Attack: One tactic for Spitters involve going up to the survivors in the middle of a horde after using her spit attack to claw them. Upon death, Spitters leave a smaller puddle of acid down which stacks damage along with the initial acid patch, making it a favorable tactic to whittle down teams even more. Particularly, Spitters controlled by the AI seem to do this a lot.
- Super Spit: Somewhat similar to the Boomer, though hers is directly damaging and doesn't stick to the survivor(s) it hits.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Spitters upchuck balls of corrosive stomach acid to block off areas and harass Survivors, preferably when they're stuck in tight corners, humped by a Jockey, or covered in Boomer bile.
- Zombie Puke Attack: A version with a projectile that unleashes damaging goo.
- "It ain't right for a man to be ridden like that!"—Coach
A hunched-over freak, the Jockey's method of attacking a survivor is to latch onto their back, and then steer them into more zombies or some environmental hazard. They are a bit more durable than most other special infected.
- Body Horror: His hands and torso have grown absurdly large which gives him a simian or troglodytical look. Also, his lips are gone, seemingly torn or gnawed off.
- Combination Attack: Jockeys are encouraged to work with their fellow Special Infected when they're riding a Survivor, such as by keeping them open for a Special Infected more qualified to kill such as a Hunter/Smoker/Charger to take them off their hands. Additionally, both AI and player controlled Jockeys will take any opportunity they find to steer Survivors into a charging zombie horde, Spitter acid, Survivor molotov/gasoline fires, Witches and Tanks.
- Good Lips, Evil Jaws: He has no lips, just a "grinning" set of teeth.
- The Hyena: The Jockey's main "weakness" is that you can hear his constant, crazed laughter from a mile away.
- Laughing Mad: Crazed laughter is its signature sound, going up a notch if he has a survivor in his grip.
- Power Perversion Potential: If a player is feeling particularly sadistic, they can opt to humiliate their target at the risk of not moving much.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Easily the shortest of all Infected by a considerable margin, and doesn't even come up to the Survivor's waist, but don't let that simian-like physique fool you, he can take a deceptive amount of damage before dying (he sports the third highest health pool of all playable Special Infected at 325 HP) and anyone caught by a Jockey will be rendered completely helpless and be in big trouble if no one's around to help, or if his teammates are prepared to capitalize on their plight.
- Puppeteer Parasite: Jockeys are a more physically-oriented version of this than the typical ones.
- Team Spirit: Jockey's are designed around steering a Survivor into the clutches of their teammates. If he lures you near a Spitter or a Witch, you'll be in big trouble.
- Top-Heavy Guy: Not as much as the Tank but the virus has caused the muscles in his torso and neck to swell in size, giving him baboon-like strength.
- Visual Innuendo: How the Jockey forces survivors that he has pounced on to move looks a lot he's humping them. This imagery isn't lost on the survivors.Ellis: IS THIS THING HUMPING ME?!Zoey: That... doesn't look right.
- "There's going to be hell to pay if you keep aggravating that Witch!"—Bill
The only unplayable Special Infected, the Witch is a haggish-looking woman who would just like to be left alone to cry. Unfortunately, those pesky survivors are running around, shooting off their guns and shining their flashlights. With her razor sharp claws that can incap or kill in one fell swoop and a surprisingly large amount of health, she'll make them stop.
- Beef Gate: It's not uncommon to find a Witch sitting directly in a place you need to go, such as a doorway or narrow hallway. In that case, you'll have to stand back, get ready to fight and hope you can gun her down before she cuts you down.
- Berserk Button: Flashing your light at her, shooting near her, shooting at her, exploding a Boomer or an explosive near her, accidentally bumping her or just being nearby for too long will cause her to run at you in a rage and tear you apart if she catches you.
- Butter Face: Blood-stained claws aside, she does look somewhat attractive from a distance... until she uncovers her hideous face and shows that she really does kind of look like an old hag of a witch. In the opening cinematic for the first game, the Survivors are visibly startled when they actually see her face.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Make the Witch mad and it will make you dead. She gets mad over such things as shining flashlights in her direction or just standing near her for too long.
- The Dreaded: The Survivors are audibly cautious around her, compared to their reactions to other Special Infected, with even boisterous tough-guys like Francis and Coach warning everyone to keep the hell away from her. It only gets worse when they're being chased by her, with them panicking and demanding everyone to get out of the way while they run / to shoot her down quickly before she reaches them. This level of dread is only matched by the Tank.
- Femme Fatalons: Another way of recognizing her is to look at her hands. She attacks by clawing.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: There's no standing between a Witch and her prey. Best case scenario, she'll shove you out of her path as if you weren't there; worst case scenario, she settles for killing you instead.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation:
- Some graffiti states that the person saw one tear 10 people apart while in-game she only attacks the one who startles her. Originally Witches were going to attack the whole team when provoked, but this was scrapped for obvious reasons.
- In the opening cinematic for the first game, the Survivors were able to escape a Witch by trapping her in a room and closing the door. In game, angered Witches will easily tear through doors in one hit with their claws.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Even when she's dead.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: It's very easy to piss her off, especially in comparison to the other Special Infected. Just being too close to her (with a flashlight) is enough to her off.
- "Instant Death" Radius: Stand near a Witch for too long, and you can kiss your ass goodbye. This applies to her even more than the Tank, who at least gives you a fighting chance on difficulties below Expert.
- Kill It with Fire: One of the best ways to deal with the Witch is to chuck a Molotov her way, which both burns down her health over time and slows her running speed. It's even an achievement. That being said, it may not be the best idea if she's already gunning for someone else, since setting a startled Witch on fire causes her to attack you instead.
- Lightning Bruiser: When angered, Witches are extremely agile and run faster than a healthy Survivor. This, combined with their claws and their large health pool ensures that a Witch will get to her prey at one point or another.
- Mood-Swinger: From depressed to extremely angry in the blink of an eye.
- My God, What Have I Done?: It's easy to miss amidst the panicked gunfire, but when the Witch kills a Survivor, she will pause, look down at her hands, and run away crying.
- Nerf: From the first game to the sequel. She takes much longer to kill a Survivor in Left 4 Dead 2 than in 1. Well, except on Expert (and Realism mode) where it's still a One-Hit Kill. Even so, in the daylight she takes more time before becoming upset and at nighttime her radius of detection is smaller than in the first game. The Last Stand Update reverts the Witch's damage output back to match the first game's where she can kill a survivor in just a few seconds.
- Her Hair-Trigger Temper was nerfed so much that, while in daytime "wandering" mode, she can take as much as 52 damage from stray bullets without being set off!
- No Saving Throw: On Expert and Realism, the Witch's attack skips incapacitation and straight-up kills the victim.
- Nubile Savage: She wears nothing but a pair of white panties and a white tank top, torn to reveal her midriff. Most likely caused by herself, given her claws.
- One-Hit Kill: Getting hit by a Witch is an automatic knockdown - the only other Infected that can do this is the Tank, and that is by punching heavy objects at Survivors. On Expert and/or Realism, it's a literal one hit kill.
- You can also kill a Witch with a One-Hit Kill if you blast her at point blank range in her center of mass with a shotgun (on Realism and Expert, you need to aim for the head). All pellets must connect however, and it can be easily botched by just being a little off, in which case you'll be standing right next to a very angry and vengeful Witch.
- Savage Setpiece: If you shine your flashlight, make a sound anywhere near, shoot anywhere near, go anywhere near, or breathe anywhere near a Witch you'll piss her off and have to say prayers. And she won't stop until either she's dead or you're at the mercy of her claws.
- Screaming Warrior: You disturb her, she'll come at you claws outstretched and screaming her lungs out. She doesn't want a hug, either.
- Sheathe Your Sword: The easiest way to deal with a Witch for all parties involved is to simply walk around her and be on your way; if you don't go out of your way to aggravate her, she'll leave you alone. But if she's blocking the way, have fun with that.
- Sweet Tooth: In the Hard Rain campaign, Witches have gathered at an abandoned sugar mill, supposedly because they like the smell of the sugar.
- Waif-Fu: She looks pretty average for a woman, and yet she's the only Infected that guarantees a One-Hit Kill. Justified, since she's been mutated by a virus.
- What Have I Become?: One possible explanation for her sobbing.
- Witch with a Capital "B": Inverted trope. Some of the survivors, particularly Coach and Nick, certainly don't waste the opportunity in calling her a bitch. This is played straight in Dead Center when the Survivors first encounter one.Coach: I see that bitch!
Rochelle: Coach! Be nice! ...Witch. We'll call her, a Witch.
- Wight in a Wedding Dress: The Passing features the Survivors upsetting a Witch bride's wedding. You can imagine how that goes.
- Wolverine Claws: Her hands and fingernails have turned into massive pair of claws and, man, are they sharp.
The Tank is a gigantic infected man, roughly eight feet tall, with an extreme amount of muscle mass and a missing lower jaw. They attack by swinging their huge fists and picking up a piece of the ground and chuck it at you. By far, it is the sturdiest Special Infected, but somewhat rare. Typically you only face one per level, though finales feature at least two.
- Bald of Evil: In 2, his model seems to have lost his hair.
- Beef Gate: In a crescendo event in The Sacrifice, the survivors are forced to free a Tank locked in a train car in order to continue progress.
- Berserk Button: Are you alive? Are you not an Infected? Congratulations, you are this for the Tank.
- Body Horror: The virus has forced the muscles in his body to swell to enormous size giving him absurd strength, especially in his arms and torso. His bones also seem to have been beefed up as shooting him in the head only serve to piss him off even more.
- Car Fu: They're strong enough to punch and throw parked cars like toys, and the Tank in the prequel's intro cinematic makes himself known by throwing an entire car at the Survivors, just barely missing. In actual gameplay, Tanks, whether AI or player controlled, will absolutely not hesitate to try the same thing, and getting hit by a car is always an instant incapacitation. Worse (or best, if you're the Tank) of all, it's completely possible for the car to park on top of a downed Survivor and make it pretty much impossible to rescue them unless the Tank moves the car again.
- Cold Sniper: A good way to use one in Versus - those rocks hurt, and his natural durability can make him a deadly long range attacker if rushing in doesn't seem too favorable.
- Cycle of Hurting: Tank punches send you flying a few feet, leaving you unable to attack as you get back up. If you find yourself in a corner, Tanks will take advantage of the situation, human-controlled or otherwise.
- Damage-Sponge Boss: The Tank doesn't have any of the zombie gimmicks of the other Specials. He's incredibly tough and strong enough to punch objects and people around and throw rocks, and that's all he needs.
- The Dreaded: Doesn't matter who you kill, sooner or later, you will come to fear these. The survivors becomes all panicky once a Tank is spotted.
- Dual Boss: Two or more may appear during the climax of a finale - by that time you should be running to the escape vehicle. Swamp Fever is particularly notorious for this, and The Sacrifice spawns four Tanks at once when the bridge stops.
- Empty Room Psych: As explained in the Sacrifice comic: when the Common Infected stop coming, stay on your toes.Louis: Zombies are like... piranhas. They ain't too choosy about who they attack, you know? You jump into a lake fulla piranhas, and you ain't bein' attacked? Means there's a shark around.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: He does not appreciate any infected standing in the shortest path to the nearest Survivor. This can also be replicated in Versus, although your zombie teammates likely won't appreciate you punting them to their deaths in the slightest.
- From Bad to Worse: In the sequel, his chest-muscles have grown so much that his lower jaw has been crushed by them, leaving his mouth an open hole.
- "Instant Death" Radius: Going after him with a melee weapon generally isn't advised. Melee weapons deal decent damage, but guns are a much wiser idea and generally deal more damage in most situations. Plus, smacking him up-close will force him to focus on you, though for teamwork purposes this can actually be useful. There is of course an achievement for taking out a Tank entirely with melee weaponry.
- Immune to Flinching: Melee attacks, explosive ammo and grenade launcher blasts won't stun it at all. Explosions from propane and oxygen tanks and pipe bombs can still make him stagger however.
- The Juggernaut: He can break through pretty much anything, takes a ridiculous amount of lead to put down, and can hurl cars and other things at the survivors. He's so big he causes a mini-earthquake just by walking. Also, he can go through windows. The last one is actually a much bigger problem than it sounds.
- Kill It with Fire: A common tactic is to try and burn it. Granted, it will eventually kill the Tank, but it takes a long time. And when he's on fire, he moves faster in the first game, and only to AI-controlled Tanks. Player-controlled Tanks in both games actually go slower when on fire because every time the Tank takes a tick of damage from the fire his acceleration resets. This applies to the L4D2 CPU Tanks, as well.
- Large and in Charge: It goes without saying that survivors somehow seem to notice him when he shows up, but don't let his massive, room-filling physical presence fool you - he's not so tall that he can't slip in through most windows.
- Lightning Bruiser: He can punch people hard enough to send them flying, can take a absurd amount of abuse, and can still keep up speed with healthy survivors. In the first game, AI-controlled Tanks actually move faster on fire.
- Made of Iron: The toughest infected in the game and by a large margin.
- Megaton Punch: A direct hit from a Tank's punch sends survivors (and other fellow infected who gets in the way of his rampage) flying quite a few feet. Woe befall on any survivor who finally got onto the rescue vehicle only to be punched out of it and sent falling to their deaths. Interestingly, this does not apply to survivors in Expert mode where the Tank's punches do instant incapacitation instead.
- More Dakka: The generally verified method of offing a Tank.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: If he punches a Survivor being grappled by a Hunter or Smoker, it will break the grapple and kill said Special Infected as well while possibly punting the Survivor to safety.
- Oh, Crap!: Tends to be the reaction of the Left 4 Dead 2 survivors upon seeing a Tank, usually in the earlier campaigns.
- One-Hit Kill: If the Tank manages to punch a car or a dumpster over a Survivor, it's an instant incapacitation, and punching them off high ledges kills them outright. Sometimes, the heavy object lands on top of the incapacitated Survivor, making it impossible for the others to get to him/her. On Expert, a Tank deals enough damage to incapacitate with one hit outside the Last Man On Earth and Lone Gunman Mutations.
- This also applies to its fellow infected. A Tank's punch instantly kill any infected, even Witches. In Versus mode, this can lead to situations where the Tank accidentally ends up helping the Survivors so players need to be mindful as the Tank before they go around arms swinging at everything.
- Punched Across the Room: The Tank can launch a survivor pretty far with a single punch; combined with ledges, this can be deadly.
- Semper Fi: The Sacrifice Tanks are apparently mutant U.S. Marines, as seen by their chest tattoos.
- Smash Mook: His strategy is to run up to his targets and punch.
- Super Strength: He regularly throws cars and chunks of concrete with ease.
- Super Toughness: The Tank usually takes all four Survivors shooting at him non-stop for a while before finally being killed. Good luck to anyone trying to unlock the "Man vs Tank" or "Tank Burger" achievements, for killing a Tank by yourself or with melee weapons, respectively. "Tankbusters" is also pretty hard, as the time he stays alive is often enough for him to hit someone at least once.
- Superpower Lottery: The Survivors consider him their biggest threat. With very good reasons.
- Tiny-Headed Behemoth: This detail is mentioned in regards to the Tank. The virus that turned everyone into zombies accelerated their muscle mass to obscene proportions, forcing him to run like a gorilla since his arms were now almost as long as the body. However, his head is still the same size, and it no longer has any neck or jaw to speak of because of the muscle growth.
- Top-Heavy Guy: He needs to use his arms as supplemental legs just to get around, but his legs are still strong enough to support his hulking body and a car or hunk of concrete over his head.
- Unstoppable Rage: As long as you and he draw breath, he will never, ever, EVER stop trying to kill you. It also seems to be the death of him because if he doesn't find any Survivors to smash he drops dead of over-exertion and stress.
- Weaksauce Weakness: When forced to crawl through a narrow passageway their movement speed is crippled. This weakness tends to appear whenever they try to fit through a window, and can be exploited to great effect in Dark Carnival's tunnel of love sequence by luring it into the air duct.
- "Guess those suits don't stop bites."—Nick
CEDA/Mercy Hospital workers who failed to escape the infection. Because they were wearing hazmat suits when they became zombies, they are immune to fire. Unique to Dead Center and as of The Last Stand, No Mercy.
- Artifact Title: The Left 4 Dead 1-style CEDA workers introduced in The Last Stand don't have CEDA logos on their suits. This, the medical coloring of their suits, and the fact that they only officially spawn in Mercy Hospital implies these hazmat workers were employed by Mercy Hospital rather than CEDA. However, they are still called "common_male_ceda_l4d1" in the game's files, and collecting their bile bombs (Which still have CEDA labels on them, for that matter) still counts towards the "Robbed Zombie" achievement despite it saying you have to get them from CEDA agents.
- Convection Schmonvection: Averted. While they don't catch on fire, if they stand around in flames for too long the heat will kill them. It's usually faster to kill them yourself, though.
- Exposition Fairy: Obviously not the zombie itself, but the Survivors have an awful tendency to point out they're Fire-Proof, or wearing Hazmat suits, despite this making terribly little difference to your ability to kill them.
- Kill It with Fire: Inverted and, technically, subverted. Fire is the only thing that doesn't kill them but the overexposure to heat from the fire does.
- Hazmat Suit: Obviously. Didn't do them much good, though, it's implied that, before turning, the CEDA workers put them on after being bitten. On the other hand, those suits make them a little harder to kill than your usual Infected in that you can't just throw and forget a molotov at a chokepoint without a couple of these guys just running right through.
- Randomly Drops: Bile bombs, which are good for distracting hoards by drawing them away from your location or making them attack each other.
- Shout-Out: Killing 10 and taking the bile bombs they drop gets you the "Robbed Zombie" achievement.
- "Somebody shut up that clown!"—Rochelle
These poor souls were once lovable (or slightly disturbing) comedians, now they are part of the army of Infected and want nothing more than to kill any survivor they find. Their shoes draw the horde with the noise they make. Shove them, and you honk their noses. Unique to Dark Carnival.
- Enemy Summoner: At least it's not as bad as the Boomer... though it can depend on when you encounter them, and how many idle infected are in the nearby area. As a somewhat good consequence though, infected tend to move in a tight group when following clowns, so you can gun them quickly.
- Kill It with Fire: If you do it rightnote you even get an achievement "Fried Piper".
- Monster Clown: They were ordinary clowns at first, but the Green Flu gave them a deathly pale skin tone, glowing eyes and sometimes blood on their clothes (both theirs and someone else's) for good measure. You really don't want to run into a large group of zombies when these guys are around.
- Unique Enemy: As of The Last Stand, they are the only Uncommon Infected (that isn't an Easter Egg, at least) to not appear in any additional official campaigns. Justified as none of them take place in an area where clowns would be a common sight.
- "I tell ya what, Mud People take all the fun outta mud."—Ellis
These creepy infected inhabit the swamps of the Swamp Fever campaign, the titular Cold Stream, and as of The Last Stand, the sewers of the No Mercy and Death Toll campaigns and the rivers of The Last Stand. They move at normal speed while in water and can blind the survivors by lobbing globs of what everyone hopes is mud.
- Boring, but Practical: Who knew smearing the Survivors with mud would be so useful?
- Dung Fu: Implied whenever mudmen are fought in sewers, turning that brown mud streak across the screen into something much nastier. Nick is usually pissed about going into sewers for a reason.
- Hazardous Water: Any water these guys happen to be in. In fact, if you kill 10 while they are still in the water you get an achievement.
- Interface Screw: Every time a Mud Man gets a hit on you, it will obscure part of the screen for a short time.
- Running on All Fours: They run on all fours, making them easier to identify from the other Infected.
- However, in Swamp Fever where they make their debut, this works for them as they can hide most of their body beneath the water to sneak up on the Survivors to blind them, especially amidst the panic of a horde.
WorkersThey were just doing their jobs tearing down an old sugar mill/handling baggage/building the top floors of Mercy Hospital, then the infection hit and they all became zombies. They won't follow pipe/bile bombs (because they have ear protectors on) and some wear hardhats for protection. Appear in Hard Rain and, as of The Last Stand, worker infected that are baggage handlers appear in Dead Air while ones that are construction workers can be spotted in No Mercy.
- Armor Is Useless: Their hardhats don't actually protect them from headshots.
- Ascended Extra: The baggage handlers were once just for extra immersion during the survivors' trip through Metro International Airport, but as of The Last Stand, they now serve a gameplay purpose.
- Battle in the Rain: They are the only zombie to appear exclusively in the Hard Rain campaign. Hope you don't mind fighting zombies that don't get distracted by pipe/bile bombs 2-3 at a time while making your way through knee-high water.
- The Hard Hat: They got 'em, but they don't offer any protection from headshots.
- Headphones Equal Isolation: The reason they don't chase pipe bombsnote .
- Nice Hat: Unfortunately they don't help protect them.
- Non-Indicative Name: They're referred to as "common_male_roadcrew" in the game's files, but never officially spawn in an area where they would've been working on roads pre-infection.
- Reimagining the Artifact: Among Left 4 Dead 1 's infected models were reflective vest-wearing airport workers, something Left 4 Dead 2 players are supposed to associate with the uncommon worker infected, but they were no different from any other common. With the Last Stand update giving most uncommon infected Left 4 Dead 1-style models for use in its campaigns, and how they might've been working near loud airplane engines loading baggage into planes, these airport workers can now occasionally spawn with a helmet and earmuffs, repurposing them into being one of the L4D1 equivalents of Hard Rain 's workers.
- You Will Not Evade Me: Thanks to their immunity to distractions, they can keep up the pace on Survivors they're pursuing. Normally this isn't too big of a deal, but a crescendo event or a car alarm going off, and suddenly players might find themselves unable to get away from or distract a mob of Construction Workers while already being slowed down by the flooded streets, a good opportunity for any Special Infected to make a move. And since the infected don't have any struggle wadding through knee-high water, you've got no chance at out-running these guys at ground level.
- "That zombie's got armor. I want armor!"—Coach
These annoying infected wear bulletproof armor which makes them very hard to kill, at least from the front. Upon death they will sometimes drop nightsticks. Appear in The Parish and Cold Stream.
- Armored But Frail: Totally invulnerable to your conventional firepower from the front, but a bullet or three is all you need to kill one from behind, and they don't fare any better against explosives or fire.
- Armor Is Useless: From the back. Good luck getting around him when a wave of bodies are crashing against you.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Its back! Attack its back! Seriously, almost every time you encounter one, one of the Survivors drop a quote explaining how to kill one.
- Back Stab: One of the best ways to kill them.
- Exposition Fairy: As with the CEDA Worker Infected, the Survivors constantly bring attention to the fact that these zombies are bullet proof. This case is justified, as bullets are the typical way to kill zombies so the player needs to know this, and even when you do know this it can be hard to immediately spot them in a horde.
- Heavily Armored Mook: That riot armour really soaks up your bullets.
- Immune to Bullets: From the front.
- Kill It with Fire: Their armor does not protect against fire; molotovs and incendiary bullets will clear them out like any ordinary zombie.
- Off-Model: The Left 4 Dead 1-style model added in The Last Stand uses the censored texture with logos from Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s racing suit, even in uncensored copies. They also have unusually bright green suits.
- Randomly Drops: Nightsticks, in case you need a melee weapon.
- "Get that zombie, he's got something!"—Nick
A new type of infected introduced in The Passing. They went out into the world fully armed, some of them trying to help others survive, but they were not immune. Managing to kill one will often reward the players with useful supplies. However, as soon as he is attacked, he runs in the opposite direction.
- Achilles' Heel: Durable as he may be, he still dies in one hit to melee weapons and explosions like any other Uncommon Infected. He also only needs two hits with a Magnum in order to die.
- Ascended Extra: The dead parachutists in Swamp Fever were just background decoration, but as of The Last Stand, they can now lurk in the campaign's swamps as a new Fallen Survivor skin.
- Call-Back: Both the helicopter pilots in No Mercy and Dark Carnival had to be killed because they became infected. The Left 4 Dead 1-style Fallen Survivor model added in The Last Stand is based on the same model as the pilots, meaning you can be the one killing the infected pilot.
- Crazy-Prepared: They can carry grenades and plenty of scarce medical supplies. Didn't do them much good, though.
- Made of Iron: Despite not being mutated further than a Common, his health is a whopping 1000, the same as a Witch's. It could be his protective clothing, of course.
- Made of Explodium: In its original version it carried molotovs on its persons, which resulted in Fallen Survivors going up in flames when you shot them. This ended up making hordes too easy to clear as the Fallen Survivor would essentially be a walking gas can that is centered in hordes.
- Metal Slime: He's hard to kill, spawns only once or twice per map, and has the pesky tendency to run away when attacked, but kill one and you'll get at least one useful item.
- Nice Hat: Which can actually protect him from headshots, unlike the worker's helmet, despite being made of fabric.
- Randomly Drops: Hopefully a medkit, but also pills, molotovs and pipebombs.
- Schmuck Bait: The benefit of chasing down a Fallen Survivor can become dubious depending on the situation, as they can easily lead overextending players eager for supplies away from their team and into danger.
- Tragic Monster: Having all that stuff and no immunity to The Virus must suck. With The Sacrifice comic implying that the infected see the non-infected as horrible monsters, then the Fallen Survivor's reaction to flee in terror rather than attack becomes a little sadder. The Left 4 Dead 1-style Fallen Survivor is even the helicopter pilots that became infected from trying to rescue other survivors.
Jimmy Gibbs Jr.
- "If we see a Jimmy Gibbs zombie, someone else is gonna have to kill him."—Coach
In life, Jimmy Gibbs Jr. was a famous stock car racer, writer of an autobiography, and a hero to many Southerners, particularly Ellis and Coach. Now, he has joined the ranks of the undead. The Survivors in Left 4 Dead 2 steal his stock car to escape the mall at the end of Dead Center.
- All Your Powers Combined: In a sense. He's got the health of the Fallen Survivor, the Interface Screw ability of the Mud Man, the noise immunity of the Worker Infected, and like the CEDA Worker Infected he can't be set on fire.
- Badass Driver: Before becoming infected.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: Sort of. He has 1,000 HP (same as a Witch), no detachable limbs, is fireproof, has the Mud Men blinding ability (now motor oil), and isn't drawn by pipe/bile bombs. On the other hand, a headshot will still put him down instantly.
- Celebrity Survivor: In Universe, although not really a "survivor" as he got infected.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Ellis says that he would have his baby if the laws of nature would allow it.
- Interface Screw: Similar to the mud Men, except with motor oil.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Unless you want to upset Ellis.
- Self-Deprecation: His Autobiography, Speed, is advertised as The Fastest Written Autobiography of All Time.
- Tragic Monster: He was an idol to millions... now he's just another infected you have to put down before he puts you down.
- "You might've heard about a lot of bands cancelling their tours this week because of all the airports shutting down and the government telling people to stay indoors. To that the Riders say: We'll stop touring when we stop breathing. What America needs most right now in its time of trial is MUSIC, and that is one thing the Riders are proud to provide."
A veteran Southern Rock band, the Midnight Riders refused to stop their tour even after the zombie plague started. Their current whereabouts are unknown. They consist of Ox, the drummer, Smitty, the vocalist, Jake, the bass and keyboard, and Dusty, the lead guitar. Smitty looks almost exactly like an older, more ragged Francis.
- Badass Biker: All of them.
- Butt-Monkey: Jake
- Celebrity Survivor: Assuming they survived.
- Easter Egg: In the first level of "The Passing" campaign, you'll come across a street under construction. Very rarely, you might see a large tour bus speed by at the end of the street, which may or may not be the four.
- Fake Band: Created just for this game.
- Fan Dumb: In-universe example. The fans are deeply in grief when they sincerely believe that the Midnight Riders have all perished. Then somebody scribbles on the wall that "The Riders are fine, they choppered them out last night", and honouring comments to their passing turns to cursings about them betraying them and turning sellouts. In a Zombie Apocalypse, mind you.
- Jerkass: Ox.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: Jake.
- Nobody Loves the Bassist: Jake, who has been a "provisional temporary member" for twenty-four years and counting.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed:
- Replacement Scrappy: In-Universe; Jake replaced the former bassist Riggs Donner, who was killed 24 years ago and only played on the Riders' first album. Despite being in the band for over two decades and writing most of their music, the other Riders still don't consider him a full member (referring to him as a "provisional temporary band member"), and half his share of any royalties goes to Riggs's widow. This might be a parody of a similar situation with the band Metallica. Bassist Jason Newsted, who replaced the deceased Cliff Burton, had similar problems in being accepted by his band despite having played with them longer and being on their most successful albums.
- Sunglasses at Night: Ox and Dusty.
- They Changed It, So It Sucks: Coach references this with their new albums, describing them as "no good".
- And Then John Was a Zombie: He turns after the Crescendo Event, forcing you to kill him.
- Asshole Victim: The bastard cares only about saving his own skin, and when he let his guard down he gets bitten. Feel free to blow his brains out when he mutates. It's the least you can do.
- Body Horror: While this applies to all Special Infected, he apparently turns into one anywhere from the span of an hour to a few minutes. Imagine going from normal to Boomer or Smoker in that time.
- Confusion Fu: He typically appears as a Boomer, but can also end up turning into a Smoker or Hunter.
- Crazy Survivalist: He will do what it takes to survive.
- It's All About Me: The wall outside his saferoom is covered in graffiti. They are epitaphs for former Survivors who died because he wouldn't let them in. Repeat, the wall is covered in epitaphs.
- Jerkass: Whitaker made you fight a horde to get a cola sixpack in exchange of safe passage. Almost everyone else made you fight a horde to get to safety. The Church Guy made you fight a horde in the hopes you'd die.
- Karmic Death: His deranged desire to stay uninfected and alive caused him to damn tons of fellow survivors looking for shelter to infection or a horrible death in his supreme selfishness, but karma catches up to him twofold. First, a survivor he happened to let in eventually reveals herself to have contracted the disease and takes a chunk out of him, dooming him to the same fate he was desperately trying to avoid. After that, when he finally succumbs and turns in the midst of screwing the main characters over they forcefully liberate him of his saferoom and ensure he ends his miserable days as a bullet-riddled corpse in the corner for his troubles.
- Madness Mantra: "Better safe than sorry! Better safe than sorry! Better safe than sorry"
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He lets in one person once and he winds up infected.
- Room Full of Crazy: Church Guy wrote his Madness Mantra 186 times on a wall in the safe room. One line of which was scribbled out. Apparently, he messed up on that one.
- Skewed Priorities: He refuses to open the door to let anyone in, yet apparently feels safe enough to go outside and graffiti epitaphs for them on the walls, knowing full well The Infected could show up at any time.
- Zombie Infectee: He happens to have been bitten by someone else he let in. An hour later (when the Survivors encounter him), he thinks he's immune. Then he starts to turn a minute after saying this. "Better safe than sorry. Better safe than sorry. Better * growl* than * growl* ..."
Whitaker barricaded himself inside his gun shop to protect himself from the zombies, which must be working out pretty well as he is still alive when the survivors find him. His only mistake was forgetting to grab some cola from the nearby store beforehand.
- Arms Dealer: His occupation before he had to fortify the back of his gun store to survive the zombie outbreak. Ellis proposes the idea to reach this gun store and get some serious firepower to fight their way to the evac center, and Whitaker is glad to give away his extra merchandise in exchange for soda he forgot to pack.
- Badass Bandolier: His character model has a bandolier.
- Cool Old Guy: He's at least sixty years old and has so far managed to survive in his gunstore while almost everyone else has died or become infected.
- Crazy-Prepared: How does he open the way forward, you ask? By destroying a wrecked semi with a grenade launcher, which is definitely something with limited practical use.
- Crazy Survivalist: One that is willing to help you.
- Crossover: He appears in the Team Fortress 2 advertisement for the Frying Pan and Ellis's Hat
- Nice Guy: He's willing to open the way to the mall for you AND let you have almost $10,000 worth of supplies from his store (check the prices on some of the guns you take), yet all he wants in return is some soda. Even the cost of his guns are pretty nice as even most pistols will start at several thousand. Possibly justified by the fact that there isn't exactly a lot of uses for money anymore, and he apparently has enough supplies.
- Serious Business: Man takes his goddamn cola very seriously. A six-pack alone is worth several expensive guns to him.
Coach: Cola and nuts might be this man's last meal. We can't deny him that. We get him his snacks, he helps us. I'm good with it.
- He wants his cola so bad that he'll tell the survivors to ditch their friends that are incapacitated or dying and get him his cola.
- Skewed Priorities: The Survivors almost always believe he's nuts telling them to summon an angry zombie horde to grab some soda, but have to comply anyways in order to open a path to the mall. Coach, being the man he is though, usually sympathizes and takes it seriously (see the quote above).
- Trademark Favorite Food: Whitaker refuses to open the way forward until you bring him some cola from a nearby convenience store.
- True Neutral: As noted on the Team Fortress 2 blog: "Now, I'm told y'all are hired killers. Also, I wanna make it clear that this is ALL I've been told. Ol' Whitaker don't pass judgment, and he don't take sides. RED, BLU — your money's all green here."
- "My buddy Keith tried camping out on top of a building once. He was shooting crows, but the police were too busy tear gassin' him to ask what he was doin' up there."
Keith is a friend of Ellis who, given the stories about him, is most likely still alive somewhere. He seems to have survived several fatal accidents, but these events could have just been made up by Ellis. Keith's existence is widely debated amongst fans, but Word of God confirmed that Keith is just as real as the other characters.
- Amusing Injuries: Everything that happens to him in Ellis's stories such as getting mugged by a klansman in a graveyard, getting burns on burns, and falling off a roller coaster and had to dodge for 20 minutes while the paying customers had their ride.
- Animals Hate Him: A group of owls attacked him over a fur coat that everyone involved mistook for a dead bear. And then there was the time he and Ellis tried to grab a pair of swamp gators to get them to fight and wound up in a death roll. And he most likely got mauled by raccoons because he made a raccoon fight pit.
- The Chew Toy: Most of his injuries are/were self-inflicted and the ones that aren't/weren't were still pretty bad (like getting mugged by a klansman in a graveyard at night).
- The Ghost: Ellis talks about Keith an awful lot, but he never makes a physical appearance.
- Iron Butt Monkey: See below. No one knows if/how much of Ellis's stories are false/wildly exaggerated and so on. If Ellis's stories are true, then nearly all of the unfortunate things that happened to the poor guy should have been fatal. Yet somehow Ellis has more stories about Keith in the next map getting more horribly maimed than before.
- Made of Iron: Apparently, nothing kills him or keeps him in the hospital for long. Not a few inches of water, not fire, not even military bombs.
- The Münchausen: Ellis's stories about Keith who, if Ellis is to be believed, has survived an impossible number of lethal injuries."Third degree burns over 90% of his body! His doctor called up like, other doctors to look at him 'cause they'd never seen burns on top of existing burns."note
- Serial Escalation: According to Ellis, Keith has suffered from third degree burns over 95% of his body twice (once making fireworks, once deep-frying turkey), lost two fingers and a toe to frostbite, broke both of his legs after driving his car off a cliff, tried to build a shack out of mud, been stabbed and mugged by a "ghost"/"homeless man" (wearing a Klansman hood) while he was living in a graveyard, got tear gassed by the police for shooting crows while he was on a roof, snuck a paintball gun on a roller coaster, got attacked by an alligator, bombed by the military (among the bombs, Ellis claims, were nerve gas and cluster bombs), (nearly) drowned in the Tunnel of Love, got cut up by his own "bumper-car" lawn mower leaving him with wounds over 90% of his body, got cement paved over him in a sewer after falling down an open manhole, lived in a graveyard for a year after getting kicked out of his house (where, again, he got mugged), hung spit on the overhang in the Tunnel of Love, fell off a roller coaster onto the tracks with the ride still going, got a tattoo on his forehead saying "I'm a moron" for $200, ate three pounds of raw chicken (the in-game subtitles say catfish) because he tried to make cheap sushi, turned a recreation of colonial times into a raccoon fight in his backyard, tried to drive across a river without using the bridge, married a couple, and would have even gotten married himself, had he not run away from his own wedding.
- Unexplained Recovery: Ellis doesn't get the chance to finish most of his stories, so we don't know how exactly Keith survived all his experiences.
After being forced to abandon their car in Dark Carnival, and losing a helicopter just before "Swamp Fever", the survivors in L4D2 are rescued by Virgil. He ferries the survivors to safety, stopping once so they can get him gas, before leaving them for good at a dock in New Orleans.
- American Accents: He speaks in a Cajun accent.
- "Now this is a'far as Virgil goes, but y'all can make it to the bridge from here."
- Big Damn Heroes: He shows up just in time to save your asses not once, but twice!
- Escape Convenient Boat: His boat, of course. The Survivors end up riding in it for damn near half the storyline, being rescued from an infested swamp and withstanding a hurricane teeming with zombies for a gas stop, before finally being let off in New Orleans.
- Meaningful Name: He plays the same role as the Roman poet Virgil did in The Divine Comedy.
- Nice Guy: When everyone else in New Orleans is trying to escape the zombie horde, Virgil sticks around to comb the bayou for survivors he can rescue. Even after he drops off our heroes in The Parish, he just goes back out to find more people to save. Guy's a damn saint.
- The Voice: Despite being a vital character for most of the second part of the game, we never really get to see what he looks like. Valve has even joked that he's a talking boatnote
The DirectorNot a character per se, but a powerful entity driving the infected hordes. If the splash screens are posters for a movie you're playing, it/he's directing the action. It will spawn more zombies than you need and fewer health items than you want. A particular quirk of it is to spawn a horde whenever the Survivors stay in one place for too long. Thanks to the Director, no two zombie encounters are the same.
- Artificial Brilliance: Arguably. The Director's purpose is to keep the flow of action in the game consistent enough to keep players on their toes, but also offer enough breaks for them to get their bearings together. It'll track whether players are blazing too fast across the map, taking too long camping and exploring, steamrolling the infected or getting destroyed by them, etc. and respond accordingly with more or less harsh zombie attacks and varying amounts to supplies to either punish or compensate players. Most of the time, though, you'll probably find yourself at its mercy since it'd rather not make things easy for you.
- Chandler's Law: If you try to stop advancing, it sends an assload of infected to get you going again.
- Enmity with an Object: "He" is nothing more than a series of spawning algorithms. Valve and the players all anthropomorphise "him".
- Killer Game Master: The common perception. After all, the Director is responsible for driving the game's action by spawning the lots and lots of zombies out for your blood.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The Director really dislikes Griefers and loves punishing those who don't cooperate with their team by making the game do things like have the zombies target solely the offending player and ignore everyone else.
- No Fair Cheating: The Director in Survival mode in Left 4 Dead 2 will punish players who use exploits to stay away from zombies by spawning Spitter acid on top of them. If players manage to avoid the acid, the Director will then just damage players until they die. Even with God mode, it'll hurt you. Of course, this is not foolproof since there are a few places in some maps where players can avoid the zombies and the Director will think they are still in the playing field.
- Spiteful A.I.: The Director really goes out of its way to throw players off of their comfort zones. For example, if the Director notices a player favors a certain weapon over any others, then the Director may stop spawning that weapon for the entire campaign. Or, more cruelly, spawn the weapon once but force lots of hordes on the player and prevent the spawning of ammo piles to force the player to use a different weapon for once. In addition, if the Director seems to notice that the player keeps getting pinned by a certain type of Special Infected, then expect the Director to spawn those types twice as frequently and target solely that one player having trouble.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: There are times when the Director sees fit to favor the Survivors. Savor these moments. More so in Versus games where the Director seems to spawn an absurd number of health kits for the Survivors when it rarely gives that many in a normal Campaign game. Frustrates the infected players to no end. Also present if you spend an inordinate amount of time on one map. It's not unheard of to get four or more first aid kits right at a particularly hard part of the map if you've spent four hours on say, "Dark Carnival: The Barns".
- Valve never really updated or improved the Director's control over Special Infected, so he won't use Versus player tactics like suicide-bomber Boomers to ruin your day, but don't think for a second that he won't use Special combos to really mess you up.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: The heightened number of options it could throw your way expanded in the second game as is, but for many players, later updates seemingly turned up its aggression big time. Nowadays it's standard to think the Director is out for blood and doesn't hold their punches. A good example is the fact that later updates, whether intentional or otherwise, makes it possible for the Director to essentially have neverending hordes all map long.