For employees of Valve, the Fall of 2007 was a very good time. It was also a good time to be a fan of quality gaming, as the season saw the release of such classics as Portal, Team Fortress 2, and Half-Life 2: Episode 2. With so many top-notch properties being released, Valve had taken their gaming to a whole new level, and droves of fans eagerly began asking, "What's next?"
As we now know, the wait was well worth it with the release of Left 4 Dead just over a year later. But in a recent interview with PC Gamer, Gabe Newell and other senior Valve staff made it clear that the development process was nowhere near as smooth as some people may have thought. The team faced numerous setbacks in the creation of what would eventually become their cooperative zombie masterpiece, the most notable being their previous project that was unfortunately scrapped. How does Gabe describe it?: "the flying fairy game".
Now Ranters, before you begin imagining the potential of a mind-blowing Valve-produced fairy/fantasy RPG, you should know that even in the eyes of the creative team, the project was doomed from the start. Why? It sucked. Bad. And if you think that's an overstatement, just listen to the words Gabe had for it:
"You wanted to ask yourself: ‘How could we make a game that was this bad? And how should we make a game?’ And we said we should focus on what we do really well, so why are we doing this game which was kind of a… it wasn’t really an RPG… it was this action fantasy sort of role playing game that had no story. And then we said ‘OK, that’s so horribly wrong. What we should focus in on is AI and playing in co-op, and that’s the interesting opportunity.’ That was where Left 4 Dead came from.”
I have to admit, I think that I like most fans of Valve are at least curious about just what kind of game would have resulted from this description, since a synopsis of Portal's gameplay physics and story may have sounded just as crazy before getting a chance to see how they actually worked. But from a team who knows their work as well as they do, it's probably best to take the team's word for it and count ourselves lucky that we ended up with Left 4 Dead instead.
But what do you think, Ranters? Does the idea of fairies in your zombie survival game turn your stomach, or should we start the immediate petition for fairy-laden DLC? I mean hey, there's always Left 4 Dead 2: Episode 2.