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|“||It took two eventful tours in Vietnam, a handful of medals, a knee full of shrapnel, and an honorable discharge before the unthinkable happened: Bill ran out of wars. But now an army of infected has declared war on humanity. After decades of aimless drifting and dead-end jobs, Bill's finally gotten back the only thing he ever wanted: an enemy to fight.||„|
|“||I’ll see peace back on earth if I’ve got to murder every one of these bastards with my own bare hands!||„|
|~ One of two variations of Bill’s declaration to the other survivors|
William "Bill" Overbeck is one of the four playable Survivors in Left 4 Dead. He is a Vietnam veteran who served in the US Army 1st Special Forces Group, and is also noticeably the oldest of the group in the late sixties. He is usually seen wielding the Assault Rifle (which appears as the M16, a real life assault rifle used by the U.S. Military in Vietnam), probably to complement his back story. He often has a lit cigarette in his mouth that only extinguishes when he dies. Bill is killed prior to the events of Left 4 Dead 2's The Passing during the (canonical) events of The Sacrifice. In the latter, he sacrificed himself to raise the bridge for the other three Survivors. According to The Sacrifice comic, Bill died after being attacked by multiple Tanks when he went down to reactivate the lift bridge at the finale so the rest of his team of Survivors may be safe from the oncoming horde.
He is voiced by the late Jim French and modelled after Bernard Fouquet.
Bill served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War. U.S. Special Forces involvement in the war that ended in 1975. Sometime during the war he suffered a knee injury as a result of shrapnel being bore into knee, causing permanent damage. Two days after the first infection, Bill was at a veterans hospital waiting for an operation, possibly relating to his knee injury. When a resident staff attempts to make small talk in regards to Bill's missing family along with his smoking habits, Bill tells him to go practice somewhere else.
As he undergoes anesthesia and slowly blacks out for the surgery, one of the nurses becomes an Infected and kills the operation room staff. Bill somehow staves off his oncoming unconsciousness through sheer force of will as he simultaneously fights off the Infected nurse, disabling her momentarily. Finding a bonesaw and a knife to defend himself with, Bill fights the sudden rise of Infected outside the hospital to make it back home, where he dresses up in his old military clothing which had been put away for safekeeping. Equipping himself with his trusty assault rifle, Bill heads outside to fight the Infected on his own.
Out of the other three Survivors, Bill stands out most prominently as the leader of the group.
- Francis - Bill appears to have some sort of rivalry with Francis, though the precise reason for this is unknown. It is possible that Bill and Francis knew each other prior to the outbreak, and Francis's in-comic comment about knowing Bill the past few weeks suggests this too. Another cause could be Francis's supposed hatred of the military (since Bill was once a soldier), instinctive alpha-male rivalry, or simply Francis's gruff personality rubs Bill the wrong way. Alternatively, what is said could simply be friendly teasing between the two. Even when Francis is dead, Bill can be heard mourning about his death, showing at least a little respect for the latter as he will sometimes say if he sacrifices himself "Christ, I'm gonna miss that son of a bitch." In The Sacrifice comic, while Bill still doesn't particularly get along with Francis, he considers Francis as 'his own', and will desert any newcomer if they have a chance of endangering his group. Francis, despite all his insults, knows Bill well enough to know even when Bill doesn't do the right thing, he does it for the right reasons. When Bill leaves the group to sacrifice himself and does not return, Francis is the first to attempt to go down to bring him back, but is stopped by Zoey as the reality of the situation sinks in, and they mourn for his death. In The Passing, Francis is sometimes not happy that they have to lower the bridge, since it was due to Bill's efforts that it was raised in the first place. Also, Francis may be heard saying that they lost a good man getting the bridge up, showing he may secretly respect Bill.
- Louis - As far as the Survivors' relationships go, Louis and Bill do not have much evidence hinting towards each other's dispositions. Bill will, however, seem genuinely upset to see Louis die. Oddly enough, this is in contrast to how unsympathetic Bill can be when Louis is incapacitated outside of the safe room. However, he'll usually follow this by saying he was joking. In The Sacrifice comic, Bill is able to see when Louis is planning something (such as ramming a jeep leaking gasoline into a Tank) and react according, and shows surprise at his intuitive thinking. Similar to how he treats Francis, Bill prioritizes the safety of Louis as one of his group above others, even if it means their deaths. Bill also told Louis once they make it to the Keys he'll make him a fishing pro. Louis also bonded with Bill after showing the older man how to make Pipe bombs, although it is not shown, having been a remark by Francis to Zoey. In The Passing, Louis is sad that Bill is gone, but is resolved more than ever to stay with Francis and Zoey. When killing a Tank, Louis may proclaim the kill in Bill's name for revenge.
- Zoey - The relationship between Bill and Zoey is fairly strong. Bill is openly sorrowful when Zoey is killed. When Zoey is incapacitated on the other side of the safe room, Bill verbally refuses to leave her behind. Bill seems to view her as a daughter or granddaughter figure. This is strengthened in part one of "The Sacrifice" comic as Zoey is seen resting closest to Bill on the evacuation vehicle, and in that he mentions her name first when he's reflecting on sacrificing himself to save the others. To further illustrate this, he attacks a soldier who hits Zoey with his gun when demanding she show the doctor her wound, and when she reflects on how her parents died, she hugs Bill, finding comfort in his arms. Their relationship is strained deeply in The Sacrifice comic when he refuses to stop the train to allow the other newer Survivors on board due to his need to protect his group, of which Zoey is a part of. Later on, Bill sacrifices himself to save the other Survivors, leaving Zoey with sadness, as they never really made up prior to their separation. She takes up Bill's conviction to "look after their own" in his place. During his initial jump down the bridge, Bill mentally vents his anger at the infected, thinking how every time he thinks "she's" safe and he can rest, they're there again like a bad nightmare. "She" in this case most likely refers to Zoey. In The Passing, if Louis and Francis joke about Bill, Zoey may look away or appear very sad, hinting that she is the one who misses him the most.
Unfortunately, Bill did not live long enough to meet the Survivors of Left 4 Dead 2. However Francis and Louis joke that Bill would probably have shot Nick within a very short time frame due to the latter's disagreeable personality. Rochelle shows understanding and sympathy to Bill's death in certain lines to the original Survivors. Both Coach and Nick have multiple lines regarding the loss of Bill if his death is mentioned.
In Other Media
- Bill later appears in Dead By Daylight for the PC exclusive, as the entity brought him here revived after the events of "The Sacrifice".
- Bill appeared as cameo character in PAYDAY: The Heist mission named "No Mercy" and its remake in PAYDAY 2.
- Bill appears in Zombie Army Trilogy as a playable character.
- Bill appears in Dying Light as a playable character.
- He is the only survivor with a confirmed last name.
- His exact age is unknown, but he appears to be roughly into his 60's.
- If the player uses Bill to sacrifice himself during "The Sacrifice" campaign, the player will gain an achievement called "KILL BILL", likely a reference to Quentin Tarantino's film of the same name.