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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 ofPC 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%26hellip; (everyone laughs)
Doug Lombardi: %26hellip; It turned into Left 4 Dead!

%26ldquo;It was a useful failure to us,%26rdquo; says Gabe, %26ldquo;because it was so clearly dumb that it made us say, %26lsquo;OK, what are we actually good at that we can do instead? We said %26lsquo;OK, what we should focus in on is AI and playing in co-op, and that%26rsquo;s the interesting opportunity.%26rsquo; That was where Left 4 Dead came from.%26rdquo;

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 becauseLeft 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

Justin worked on the GamesRadar+ staff for 10 whole years. Imagine that. Now he is a contributor, specialising in racing games, retro, and Sanic.