Today’s WTF: Before Left 4 Dead, Valve Worked on a Fairy RPG

Tinkerbell BraaaaainsYes, you read the title of the article correctly. You know, some daily WTFs are so absurd sounding that they practically speak for themselves.

Earlier this week in an interview with PC Gamer, Valve honchos Doug Lombardi and Gabe Newell let slip some rather interesting information about what the famed developer was doing just before they embarked down the path that helped them create the zombie sensation Left 4 Dead. This little exchange occurred when PC Gamer asks them what they think they’ve failed at:

Doug Lombardi: There were a few failed starts to build Left 4 Dead.
Gabe Newell: Well, there was the flying fairy game. Is that the one you were referring to?
Erik Johnson: That was just a different game that, when we stabbed it… (everyone laughs)
Doug Lombardi: … It turned into Left 4 Dead!

Huh? Apparently, this fairy RPG required mouse gestures to cast spells and such. Newell later went on to say “it was so clearly dumb that it made us say, ‘OK, what are we actually good at that we can do instead?'” However, sometimes you have to fail to learn truly valuable lessons. They went on from there to figure out that the focus should be on AI and the co-operative experience. Well, thank goodness for that little revelation.

Honestly, as ridiculous as this is, I wish more developers would take about the genesis of some of their greatest ideas. I’m sure that Valve isn’t the first studio to start down a really bizarre path only to fail and then find those gems worth polishing. It’s interesting because with movies we’ve gotten so used to special features that walk us through every step of the process. I wish we had more material like that when it comes to games, because the whole thing seems so mysterious to us outsiders.

What do you guys think about this? What games would you like to hear more development stories about? Go!

Source – PC Gamer

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

3 thoughts on “Today’s WTF: Before Left 4 Dead, Valve Worked on a Fairy RPG”

  1. DEFINITELY! I love when games have special features including a “Making Of” featurette. That’s the whole reason I’m getting New Vegas’ collector’s edition, and why I was tempted to get Reach’s Legendary edition. I love learning about the process and what it’s like to make video games (since it’ll help me on my career path), so I wish that more developers would do it.

  2. hahah, this is great!

    I’d like to hear all the MGS plot / content that gets dropped… Because everything that remains is already so f*cked up, I can’t imagine what gets removed for being “too strange”…

  3. Imagine if Valve had hooked up with Sony before they started working on this? Move controls!

    For real though, it’s cool that Valve can admit that some of their ideas aren’t that great. At least something decent came out of it.

    I’d really like to hear the proper ending for Halo 2. That was teased on a Bungie podcast a couple years ago. What happened?!

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