In carefully chosen words, Gabe Newell, founder of Valve, describes the philosophy that guided them in creating the first Half-Life. Referring to the words of legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo, Newell emphasizes that the belief that a delayed game will eventually be good, while a hastily released game will forever be bad, was one of the key elements in game development at Valve.
In 1997, Valve found itself in a difficult position. The release of their first Half-Life was scheduled for November, but the development team knew that the game wasn’t ready yet. Despite concerns about losing financial support from the publisher, Valve decided to take a risk and not release an unprepared product. As it turned out, it was the right decision.
The delay in the release of Half-Life led the game to achieve legendary status, revolutionizing the gaming industry on many levels. The focus on quality, player comfort, and delivering a product that meets expectations paid off.
Unfortunately, Valve hasn’t always been consistent in its philosophy. An example of this is Artifact, a card game that was poorly thought out in terms of its business model. The game initially required payment, and its gameplay promoted a pay-to-win approach, which met with criticism from players.
Despite this incident, the lesson learned from Half-Life remains relevant. Players are still eagerly awaiting Half-Life 3. Only time will tell if Valve will continue to adhere to its principle and release the game only when it is completely ready in order to deliver an amazing experience and meet fans’ expectations.