Newell shared that the game's release was delayed by a full year from its original launch date, but they have no regrets about the decision.
Valve has recently released a documentary to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Half-Life, delving into the game's development process. The documentary features interviews with studio employees who candidly discuss the challenges they faced during the creation of the iconic title.
During the interviews, the developers discussed the topic of delays. Originally slated for a November 1997 release, the team realized three months prior that the game lacked the engaging gameplay experience they had envisioned. Moreover, the development process had been inconsistent, resulting in a project that resembled more of a hobbyist endeavor than a polished game. Despite potential complications with their publisher, Sierra, the team made the bold decision to postpone the release by an entire year. They were determined not to be remembered as the creators of a lackluster game and were committed to delivering a quality experience to players.
"Late is just for a little while. Suck is forever. We could try to force this thing out the door, but that's not the company we want to be, that's not the people we want to be. That's not the relationship we want to have with our customers," shared Gabe Newell, the co-founder of Valve.
Image credit: Valve, Half-Life
In addition, Newell shared his perspective on game design. He expressed his preference for a world that reacts to the player's actions, rather than striving for excessive realism. Newell believes that while it is important to create an immersive environment, an overemphasis on realism may hinder gameplay and enjoyment.
"You'd be sitting in a design review and somebody'd say: 'That's not realistic'. "And you're like, 'Okay?' What does that have—like, explain to me why that's interesting. Because in the real world, I have to write up lists of stuff I have to go to the grocery store to buy. And I have never thought to myself that realism is fun. I go play games to have fun," added Newell.
Image credit: Valve, Half-Life
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Half-Life, the developer made the game fully free on Steam until November 20. The creators also released a big update on November 18, 2023, which led to the game's online player count reaching an all-time high of 14,000 users within just one hour after the patch's release.
The update brought several features to Half-Life. It introduced the Half-Life: Uplink mini-campaign, previously available exclusively on CD for game magazines and hardware manufacturers. The game now has 4 new multiplayer maps. It also boasts full support for the Steam Deck, ensuring optimal controller configuration and streamlined multiplayer experiences through Steam networking functions. Additionally, the user interface was redesigned to enhance the visuals on higher-resolution displays, and many more features.
For more information about the patch, you can visit Half-Life's official website and join our 80 Level Talent platform and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.