After the success of Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2 came to our screens in late 2009, with a new posse of Survivors and an overload of zombies to take down. The four new Survivors include Coach, Rochelle, Ellis, and Nick, each with their own personalities – some more likeable than others – and backstories to boot. But with each newbie comes many secrets and hidden details – signs of a distant past or just a strange fact that you might not have picked up on.
10 Coach is a Foodie
We all know that Coach has a big heart and a big appetite, but his love of food runs deeper than you might think. He’s a real foodie, sometimes even valuing it above life! As the group reaches the food court, he says, “If I see a zombie running at me with a sample tray, I ain’t shootin’ it.” Hopefully he’s just joking (though it’s true, free samples are great). He also asks the team to track down the Burger Tank at Whispering Oaks Amusement Park, and expresses a desire for several tasty items off the menu. We get you, Coach.
9 Coach’s Real Name is Unknown
Throughout the game we never hear of Coach’s real name, first or last. We can’t be sure if that’s really his name at all. The game files aren’t much help – they simply refer to him as “coach”. He stays tight-lipped on the subject, too.
The only phrase he ever utters in relation to his name is “my friends call me Coach.” That’s nice, Coach, but we need the details! Even the other characters are curious; if Coach dies and Rochelle is nearby, she might ask if that’s his first or last name. Seems like this one will remain a mystery.
8 Rochelle Left A Loved One Behind
At different points in the game, Rochelle mentions someone called Jacob. We can assume she knew him before meeting the other Survivors, but we don’t know much more that. Was he a family member? A friend? Maybe even a lover? Some fans speculate that he’s the camera man in the photo in Rochelle’s character description.
The only thing we know about her relationship with Jacob is that she regrets leaving him. She can be heard saying she “should have stayed” with him. That makes for a potentially really sad backstory. Why did she leave him behind? We may never know.
7 Rochelle is Linked to Anchorman
Rochelle’s dialogue holds a fun little reference to a popular comedy movie you’ve probably seen. Remember Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy? The developers appear to have put in a cheeky nod to the film; some of Rochelle’s dialogue matches Ron’s lines from the movie, most likely because she also works for a news station. When Ron is injured, he yells “Knight of Columbus, this hurts!”, “Son of a bee sting, this hurts!”, and “By the beard of Zeus, this hurts!”. Rochelle shares these lines, also shouting them when she’s injured in the game.
6 Nick Was Originally an Escaped Prisoner
In the original plans for Left 4 Dead 2, Nick was intended to be an escaped prisoner. The suit he wears was supposed to be one that he stole, but instead, the developers decided on his character as a con-man.
Even so, it’s clear that Nick has done some dirty deeds – he often makes remarks that suggest he’s got a less than legal past. He can be heard saying that he cannot legally own firearms, which means he must have been convicted of some crime involving a weapon already. At least he makes a great fighter in a zombie-takedown team!
5 Nick Might Have a Gambling Problem
Another little detail hidden in the game files: Nick is referred to as “gambler”. When you think about that in the context of his character as a con-man, it sure says a lot about him. So not only does he swindle people out of their money, he blows it all on slot machines at the casino. What a guy. It builds more of a picture when we take a look at the hints that he gives about his past, with implications of criminal doings. Judging by his character, it’s pretty safe to assume he’s not exactly a sensible gambler.
4 Doctor Nick
We know that Nick is a con-man, and he was originally going to be an escaped convict, but players can glean even more information from his past if they pay close attention to his dialogue. When he heals another Survivor, he might say “Hold still, I’ve done this before.” When reviving others he also sometimes says “Relax, I’ve seen worse.”
There are several possible explanations for this, but some players speculate that he had experience in the medical field. Sometimes his healing dialogue includes “Let Doctor Nick fix you up,” which is likely a jokey nod to the Simpsons character, Doctor Nick.
3 Ellis Ran a Truck Club
You’ve probably noticed Ellis wearing a t-shirt with a “Bullshifters” logo on it. With fans wondering what that meant, the developers took the time to explain that Ellis and his friends at school started up their very own truck club. “Shifters” refers to trucks, so “bullshifters” – as you can probably guess – is a cheeky pun, and a great title for their club. They even made up their own logo. The club in question wasn’t described as a thing of the past, so it might still exist. The idea was supposed to emphasize Ellis’s love of trucks.
2 Ellis Knows Karate
Who would have thought? The young, truck-loving mechanic is also a karate master! Well, maybe not master – we can’t be sure. Obviously, we never see Ellis flexing his karate skills in the game, since the cast are armed with an arsenal of guns. He also appears to have knowledge of other related martial arts, as he often references ninjas when obtaining a Katana, and suggests finding “throwing stars”, which refers to shurikens. He also mentions nunchucks, so we can gather that he either knows about or is at least super interested in martial arts culture.
1 Ellis is the Favorite
If you’re an Ellis fan, you’re not alone. Valve ran a poll for players of Left 4 Dead 2, asking their favorite character. For Xbox 360 players, Ellis was a clear winner, earning a score of 43%. He also shared the first place spot with Nick for the PC users, with both holding 33% of the vote. Is it his young, boyish charm, his love of trucks or his daring attitude? Who’s to say? What we do know is that the people have spoken, and they love Ellis.