Valve: Left 4 Dead was almost a game about fairies

Valve very nearly made a game about fairies... but instead made Left 4 Dead. Apparently, the game was an RPG without a story... more like an action adventure, which involved mouse-based gesturing. Presumably clapping two mice together and repeating 'I do believe in Gordon! I do believe in Gordon!"

Above: Probably not how the mouse-based gesturing system would've worked

Details about 'the fairy game that never was' come from an interview with top Valve men Gabe Newell, Doug Lombardi and Erik Johnson in the new issue of PC Gamer, which comes out in the UK on September 1. Here's an excerpt:

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!

“It was a useful failure to us,” says Gabe, “because it was so clearly dumb that it made us say, ‘OK, what are we actually good at that we can do instead? We said ‘OK, 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.”

Above: Sadly this isn't a screenshot from the game. Maybe a crossover of the ideas would work though?

We don't mourn the loss of the fairy game, primarily because Left 4 Dead and its sequel are both awesome. But there's probably a pre-production version knocking about the Valve offices somewhere. What would you give to play that?

Note: No mice were harmed in the making of this story, computer or otherwise

27 Aug, 2010


  • philipshaw - August 28, 2010 9:50 p.m.

    Something always starts as something completely different
  • Metroidhunter32 - August 28, 2010 11:55 a.m.

    An RPG without a story? Failure. Would end up just being a pure grindfest without even an objective to make it seem worthwile.
  • GR_JustinTowell - August 28, 2010 11:21 a.m.

    Hendrix shirt was a gift, mate - I think it was bought online but I don't know where from. But yeah, it's way cool :)
  • AnthonyGalindo - August 27, 2010 9:50 p.m.

    They didn't come up with the idea for Left 4 Dead. It was already being made by another developer and then Valve bought them. So either Valve is lying or the guy from PC Gamer is mistaken.
  • IIBrownieII - August 27, 2010 4:21 p.m.

    Well I certainly think the zombie route was the best lol everything has been zombie mad since L4D 1... Also Justin... Hendrix shirt = awesome, where from??/
  • Crypto140 - August 27, 2010 3:32 p.m.

    I dont know what to believe anymore! Anymore lies?!
  • batmanboy11 - August 27, 2010 3:28 p.m.

  • WickedSid - August 27, 2010 2:45 p.m.

    I'd give my GoTY edition of Left 4 Dead to play the pre-production of the Fairy game, just to say I did.
  • ACanadianMoment - August 27, 2010 2:44 p.m.

    We could play Zombies and kill Edward Cullen, over and over and over...
  • GR_JustinTowell - August 27, 2010 2:43 p.m.

    Haha - nice :P
  • YES - August 27, 2010 2:36 p.m.

    Fairies vs. Zombies. New Popcap game anyone?

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