Valve’s Gabe Newell certainly knows a thing or two about creating some of the most beloved games of all time and offered some free advice as part of a 25th anniversary documentary on the making of the original Half-Life.
Half-Life was originally scheduled for release in November 1997. But it became clear to the development team that the game wasn’t ready, with one developer likening the title in development to “a quick imitation” and a “cash “. -grab.” The game just hadn’t come together as a more cohesive whole.
With just three months until release, Valve made the decision to delay the game. It would eventually release a year later, in November 1998. Newell, in the documentary, expanded on the decision with some concise words of wisdom.
“The delay is only for a little while,” Newell said. “It sucks, it’s forever. We could try to force this thing out, but it’s not the company we want to be, it’s not the people we want to be. It’s not not the relationship we want to have with our customers.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Half-Life would go on to become one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time. What if the team had decided to move forward with a 1997 release date? That might not be the case.
Newell’s words echo those of another legendary game designer, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, who is often credited with saying that “a delayed game is ultimately good, but a rushed game is always bad.” Did Miyamoto ever say this, or is it more of an old gaming industry catchphrase wrongly attributed to the creator of Mario and The Legend of Zelda? Probably the latter, but the point still stands.
That wasn’t the only choice quote Newell gave as part of the Half-Life anniversary documentary. Newell also shockingly said he plays games “for fun” and denounced the need for “realism” in games.
In addition to the documentary, Valve released an update for Half-Life, adding four new multiplayer maps, updated graphics settings, and controller and Steam Deck support to the 25-year-old game.
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