AusGamers breifly catches up with Valve's Gabe Newell during his whirlwind visit to Australia...
As promised, AusGamers went down to check out what was happening at the Park Hyatt in Sydney, where renowned Valve head, Gabe Newell, was hanging out, apparently to catch up with a Brisbane native now attending RMIT in Melbourne to study game design.
The whole scenario, to be bluntly honest, was really quite weird. If you aren't aware of how it all happened, Gabe was asked by a local modder by the name of Joe W-A to check out his mod. Gabe jokingly responded that he would if Joe could fly him to Australia. Joe rallied the gaming community and managed to raise 3K to bring Gabe out, at which point the Valve head was forced to call the young man's bluff.
This all lead us to the event today, which saw Joe and Gabe meeting in person for the first time, alongside a little spiel from Gabe regarding the strength of the PC gaming community, Valve's continued support of modders and their creativity and freedom finishing with a final touch on the state-of-play for Left 4 Dead 2.
So ultimately Gabe gave us info and just how and why he was standing before us, but threw up some stats for us to eat up, such as Valve having some 170,000 servers worldwide, apparently generating more internet traffic than all of Italy and continually pointed out the strength and foundation of PC gaming and its legions of communities. Valve wouldn't exist without them, and Counter-Strike, arguably the most played action title in history, began its life as a community-created game based on what gamers wanted to play.
In support of this, Valve are working on a community funding mechanism to empower young people like Joe with monetary incentive or help (the model is still being worked out) so they can get their creative juices flowing and maintained, through a bit of a Q&A with the media on-hand, that consoles simply can't support community the same way PC can.
Left 4 Dead 2 came up on the cards, and we were told the situation here in Australia will see Valve continuing their appeal of the Refused Classification the game recently received. But a modified version of the game, he and Valve believe is in line with what the ratings board are after has also been submitted, as the ultimate goal will be to ensure Australia does not miss the November 17 launch of the game.
The question was raised as to what the situation would be if the appeal were eventually successful after the modified version had been released to which Gabe responded PC owners of the game would simply get a free update which would convert the game back to its original form, but couldn't specify how it would work for the console version because of all the red-tape and lengthy approval processes involved with each release and update console games go through.
I mentioned how shitty they must be after including the cricket bat and Australia jersey-wearing zombie and Gabe said he'd be looking at doing something special in the Australian release related to that because of this whole debacle. But ultimately, their goal is to have the original version released, it's simply that the appeal process is lengthy and drawn out and they don't want to mess with their launch plans, but even asked we refrain from asking what has been changed for the modified version, because the more media attention it grabs the worse it is for them, and he seemed confident we'd be seeing the game as it was intended to be released in Australia.
After all of this, we got some hands-on time with the "Parish" section of the game, which I'll go into detail about later with a full hands-on report.
So there you have it - Gabe's whirlwind visit to Australia solidified his and Valve's commitment to their community, the continued and elevated support of the PC platform and their overall desire to ensure Aussies are playing Left 4 Dead 2 the way it was meant to be played.