Gabe Newell has revealed that Valve was toying around with a "flying fairy game" before it began work on Left 4 Dead.

After marketing director Doug Lombardi admitted to "a few failed starts to build Left 4 Dead" in an interview with PC Gamer, Newell joked: "Well, there was the flying fairy game. Is that the one you were referring to?"

Describing it as "a useful failure", he said it made the Half-Life studio reconsider what it was actually good at making.

"It was so bad," he said, "you wanted to ask yourself: 'How could we make a game that was this bad? And how should we make a game?'

Apparently the unnamed flying fairy game 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."

The rest is history. Excellent history.

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Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell


Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.