Left 4 Dead was a massive success for Valve, but if Gabe Newell had his way, the game might have never been made. In a new interview with the Kiwi Talkz podcast, the game's writer, Chet Faliszek, revealed that Newell was not a big fan of the concept of zombies. According to Faliszek, Newell pointed to the films of George Romero, stating that they were not about the actual zombies, and were more about concepts like racism and consumerism. Newell even went so far as to say that he found the zombie concept to be "cheesy!"
"Once, I went to dinner with Gabe and he was beating me up that, if you look at zombie movies, he's like 'Night of the Living Dead's about racism, Dawn of the Dead's about consumerism. [Romero] purposely made those movies about things to talk about them. What's your zombie story about?' and I'm like 'well you know it's about working together, it's the game itself, it's the reflection of the game. You know, in the zombie apocalypse, what are you going to do?' And then you know it would kind of get pushed more and more because I remember he's just like 'well let's not do zombies, zombies are just really cheesy.' And at the time you do not have like The Walking Dead TV series and all this, so it was very cheesy. But, as a kid who saw Dawn of the Dead at a midnight movie and was just like terrified, it wasn't cheesy to me," said Faliszek.
Obviously, Faliszek won the argument over Left 4 Dead's concept, and the game released in 2008, nearly two years before The Walking Dead's television debut. Left 4 Dead proved to be a critical and commercial hit for Valve, earning a sequel just one year later. The success of Left 4 Dead and The Walking Dead has helped propel zombies in popular culture, moving them past any "cheesy" stereotypes. It's interesting to think about what direction Left 4 Dead might have gone in had Newell convinced Faliszek to abandon zombies. At the end of the day, Newell is probably happy he lost that fight!
Are you a fan of Left 4 Dead? Are you surprised that Gabe Newell was opposed to the game? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!