When you think of Left 4 Dead, in general the image of a zombie comes to mind. However, if Gabe Newell had his way, this may not be the case, as the Valve president initially felt zombies were a bit cliché and “cheesy”.
Former Valve writer Chet Faliszek chatted about his time at the company with YouTube channel Kiwi Talkz (via VG247). Here, the writer revealed during the development of Left 4 Dead he, “went to dinner with Gabe and [Newell] was like ‘if you look at zombie movies, Night Of The Living Dead is about racism, Dawn Of The Dead is about consumerism'”.
When the Newell then asked Faliszek to explain “what his game was about”, the writer replied: “well it’s about working together, it’s the game itself, it’s a reflection of the game.”
Faliszek continued, “we’d kind of get pushed more and more because I remember [Newell] said ‘well let’s not do zombies, zombies are just cheesy.’ At the time you did not have The Walking Dead TV series and all of this, so it was very cheesy”.
So, as a compromise, Faliszek decided to make the game’s characters more aware of their environment, and less susceptible to the cheesiness Newell was so keen to avoid.
“So, I was just like why don’t we just take the characters and the world, and make some of the characters in the world aware that they’re essentially in a zombie movie.
“Zoe and Lewis understand that like ‘oh my god this is the thing from movies,’ but they play it seriously.”
And thus, the zombies remained to live (or should that be die?) another day.
You can check out the full interview with Faliszek below.