It’s at all times grand to get a peek behind the gamedev curtain at issues which may have been. Former Half-Life stage designer Brett Johnson has been digging by his previous work, and his recollections, to share some early Half-Life prototypes and a few concepts that by no means got here to be. Would Half-Life have been a traditional if it had gotten the identify “Belly Of The Beast”? I dunno, does not roll off the tongue fairly as effectively, does it?
Johnson is now with ArenaNet engaged on Guild Wars 2, however has been just lately sharing some recollections from his time at Valve over on TikTok.
In one video, Johnson rapidly talks about titles. He explains that the working title for Half-Life was by no means going to be its closing identify, however apparently a couple of of the opposite candidates had been fairly completely different. “Trip Hammer” was one. That’s alright, I suppose. Not all that memorable however not horrible. “Belly Of The Beast” certain would have set a completely completely different tone although.
In one other video, Johnson shows off a mockup image of what turned Half-Life’s locker rooms. Johnson explains that he was an enormous fan of the GoldenEye 007 sport. He remembers making an attempt to chase down scientists, discovering they disappeared round corners and pondering they need to actually have someplace to truly go. In this picture of Half-Life’s eventual locker rooms, there is a heck of plenty of blood splattered all around the partitions as Gordon chases down a scientist together with his trusty crowbar.
“In this particular picture, I made this to send out to the team in order to spur the conversation about ‘how violent do we really want our game to be?’ and, as you know, we ended up pulling it back quite a bit.” No kidding. It appears to be like like somebody hooked a hose as much as a keg of tomato soup to spray the locker rooms down.
Johnson additionally shares a little background on prototyping and designing Xen and an early prototype level by which he says he was “searching for a style, using some of the first photo references textures”. It’s all relatively neat stuff, seeing early iterations and selections that had been thought of however scrapped.
Oh, and it is TikTok so there are, inevitably, memes.