Long before Half-Life and Prospero, Valve was working on a submarine game.
In a recent episode of Steamcast (#47), developer Valve Software- known for its Half-Life and Left 4 Dead shooters as well as the Steam platform--admitted to prior plans of developing a submarine game long before the ill-fated sci-fi game Prospero and the studio’s first title, Half-Life. Apparently the submarine dream is far from dead.
"Well, a lot of the ideas for Prospero have sort of influenced our other games subsequently," said Valve bossman Gabe Newell. "So, you know, whether or not we actually go back and do that specific game, I don't know. It actually has a lot of appeal to us. We're all sort of fond of it."
He also admitted that nothing truly dies at Valve, indicating that game development may be similar to writing novels. Many authors write a portion of one particular novel, set it aside to write another novel, and then come back later to write a few more chapters. Sometimes it's years before writers return to their a previous work and actually complete the book. Stephen King is a good example.
"It’s just a question how long until we get around to doing it," he added, referring to Prospero. "We just have so many opportunities to do so many different things. I mean, I even get emailed from people saying ‘What about Ricochet 2,' which is kind of astonishing. We actually have twenty-six people who’s first Valve game they ever bought was Ricochet on Steam. So, like I said, nothing ever appears to ever really die, you just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet, so I’d put Propsero into the camp."
He then revealed that the studio originally worked on the unnamed submarine game. "And even further back than Propsero, the other game that Mike [Harrington] and I were talking about before we’d even had anybody other than us working on it was a submarine game," he said. "Mike was absolutely certain there was an opportunity to create fantastic underwater visuals and gameplay. So if people want to know the even furtherest back thing we have haven’t gotten around to shipping yet, it would have to be the unnamed submarine game."
Currently Valve Software is gearing up to kick Portal 2 out the door. Last week Newell announced that the game was complete. "It's pretty much put to bed and we're just waiting for final approvals and to get the discs manufactured," he said.
Portal 2 is slated to hit the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC/Macs in April.