Gabe Newell once wondered if Left 4 Dead really needed zombies

Left 4 Dead is one of the most famous and successful zombie games of all time. It even presaged the great success of The Walking Dead television show. But there was a time when the presence of zombies in the game wasn’t a sure thing, because Valve boss Gabe Newell wasn’t sure they were the best way forward.

The story was told by former Valve writer Chet Faliszek, whose credits include Half-Life 2: Episode 1 and 2, the Portal games, and of course Left 4 Dead 1 and 2. told me that if you look at movies of zombies, he says, ‘Night of the Living Dead is about racism, Day of the Dead is about – or Dawn of the Dead – it’s about consumerism,'” Faliszek said in a recent interview with YouTube Channel Kiwi Talkz. “what is it dear [presumably George Romero] I had purposely made these movies about things and I kind of liked talking about them. He’s like, you know, ‘What is your movie about? What is your game about? What is your zombie story about?'”

Faliszek told Newell that Left 4 Dead was about the individual stories arising from people coming together in a crisis — specifically a zombie apocalypse — but Newell was apparently unconvinced that an undead holocaust was the best approach.

“I remember, he’s like, well, let’s not make zombies, zombies are just corny. They’re really corny,” Faliszek continued. “And at the time, you didn’t have The Walking Dead TV series and all that, right? So it was very corny. it wasn’t tacky for me. I had no idea these scenes were corny until I watched them later.”

Of course, Valve went ahead with zombies in Left 4 Dead, and Faliszek clarified in an email to PC Gamer that Newell wasn’t specifically against zombies, he just wanted to ensure that the rise of the undead was indeed the best way to go. follow.

“Gabe was really good at challenging all of our basic assumptions,” explained Faliszek. “They’re zombies now, but why? Should they be? Should you be fighting monsters? Aliens? What did zombies bring us? Because at the end of the day they’re corny. a way to make sure we were thinking about that choice and being deliberate.”

Newell never offered specific ideas for different types of monsters in Left 4 Dead, Faliszek clarified, and indeed these discussions helped cement the zombie plan: “We always talk about them like, how much of a ‘monster’ or a variant zombie is that? , and decided to lean towards zombie variants.”

Newell’s comments on the allegorical aspects of zombie movies served a similar function, according to Faliszek: he wanted the Left 4 Dead story to “come from the people on the street” who don’t have a big picture of what’s going on, but “Gabe challenged me on this too,” he wrote. “And he used the other Zombies films as references on deeper topics, where I wanted the story to be about this confusion and chaos and how we communicate with each other during these times.”

“I think it’s good to have great thinking behind the game, but for something like L4D it gets in the way because at the end of the day I want players to talk about the time I saved Andy from the smoker, not the time I saved Louis from the creature he was trying to destroy. technology. So L4D was really leaning towards trying to bring the players themselves into the chaos, which leads to my favorite review: ‘With friends, L4D is a good co-op game, with strangers it’s probably what the zombie apocalypse would be like…’ “

Faliszek acknowledged during the Kiwi Talkz interview that zombies they are corny and camp, but said that by making characters like Zoey and Louis aware that they’re essentially trapped in a zombie horror show — and playing it for real — that aspect of the narrative becomes much less evident. He is taking a similar approach with his current project, The Anacrusisa retro-sci-fi co-op shooter currently in early access on Steam.

“Early ’70s, late ’60s science fiction is very cheesy, very corny,” he said. “But if you take it so seriously, and you have these characters inhabiting this world and playing it seriously, then it has a different feel, and I think you transcend that hype and corny.”

Thanks, VG247.

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