Eurogamer: Have you considered getting a team to convert Half-Life 1 and its expansion packs to next generation standard and use those to flesh it out?
Doug Lombardi: It is, but it's a ton of work. It's a ton of work. I mean, go back and look at Opposing Force and take a look at Episode Two. It would be a monumental task... It would almost be easier to remake it from scratch, rather than trying to take it and move it forward and go back and touch up all the textures and add in HDR, rim lighting and physics and turn all those things on.
We'd love to be able to do it, but there are so many other projects we can wrap our heads around and get out the door. Right now we've got Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, Portal, Day of Defeat, and now Left 4 Dead. You know, from one direction or another people, are asking for more of that stuff. To go back and say we're not going to move Portal forward until we go back and redo Opposing Force - people would cut our heads off! [Laughs]
So it's an interesting thing. And I love Opposing Force. I sort of got to play producer and marketing on that one at the time. That was when Valve was much smaller. I got to spend a lot of time in Dallas when Gearbox was getting started, when they were coming out of the Rebel Boat Rocker days. That was a great time, being able to hang out with Randy, Brian, Rob and all the other guys at Gearbox.
Eurogamer: And look at them now...
Doug Lombardi: Hey, I'm happy for them! That was always the plan: for those guys to take off and make their own games and stuff. They did great stuff, I had a great time making Blue Shift with them, but Opposing Force is a special place for me, cos it was the first thing after Half Life. Those guys were like six dudes coming off of a weird thing with Rebel Boat Rocker [Prax War 2018 - Ed]. They so loved Half-Life. Gabe and everybody at Valve were just like, "go do it - you guys have a good vision, we loved the idea of Shepard and the gameplay that you're doing there, so just go make it, and, you know, thrill us".
And for us it was cool, because we didn't get a chance to enjoy Half-Life 1 because we made it. Right? Ask anyone who writes a song, do you like your own music? They say no, I can hear all this s*** in my voice, or that one riff that I played wrong, so in games it's like that. It's hard for me to play Half Life 2 and enjoy it, because I saw it when it was broken and unfinished. And you still look at stuff and go, "that's still...I wish we had..." For a lot of the guys at Valve it was really nice to bring in the finished master [of Opposing Force] and let them play it. Not to labour that point - I'm with you on that thought, but reality just says bandwidth doesn't get us there.
Eurogamer: Maybe the fan community can deal with it for you at some point...
Doug Lombardi: Yeah, or maybe when we're out of original ideas [laughs]. We keep picking up people, like the Portal team and whatnot. The only thing smart we did for Portal was hire those seven kids and give them the support they needed.
Eurogamer: It's a happy knack that Valve seems to have...
Doug Lombardi: That's Gabe's vision, right? He's smart enough to know that if Valve is going to be more than this studio, we need to hire guys like these.
Valve is currently working on Left 4 Dead, which is due out on PC and 360 later this year, and Half-Life 2: Episode Three, as well as continuing support for other games like Portal and Team Fortress 2.