Chet Faliszek, the writer behind the original Left 4 Dead, has revealed he was mistakenly appointed by Valve's Gabe Newell to lead the project in its early development and through launch.
Speaking to Game Developer, Faliszek explained how a conversation between Newell and then Valve engineer Aaron Seeler led the former to inadvertently assume Faliszek was in charge.
"Aaron Seeler was the engineer that was helping do the Xbox 360 version, because [Left 4 Dead] was gonna be our first Xbox game originally," said Faliszek. "Gabe was asking him some questions, and [Aaron] was like, 'Well, you should just talk to Chet, Chet's kind of the person.' Like, no one ever told me I'm running it!"
After that conversation, Faliszek was made the "point person" for Left 4 Dead's production and management and stayed in constant contact with the original creator and designer, Mike Booth, until launch. Faliszek is still technically credited as the game's writer, but it sounds like he took on something of a defacto leadership position on the development team thanks to that chance conversation with Newell.
Of course, a sequel to Left 4 Dead would release barely a year after the original, and Faliszek explained why in the same interview. Apparently, the first Left 4 Dead was simply so broken that Valve felt it prudent to start from scratch with a sequel instead of going back and trying to fix what was there. "Left 4 Dead was such a broken thing that nobody wanted to touch it," he said.
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