The story behind Prospero, the ambitious game Valve killed so that Half-Life may live

After seventeen years, Valve and ValveTime Database give us our first look at screenshots from the unreleased 1996 title Prospero.

By Hayden Dingman, PC World |  Software

Every journey begins with a single step, even if that journey eventually turns you into one of the most powerful game development studios on earth, with the single most iconic storefront in PC gaming, a stable of acclaimed titles, an upcoming PC/console hybrid platform, and an e-sports tournament with a $10 million prize pool.

Yes, even Valve had to start somewhere. In 1996, before Steam Machines, before SteamOS, before Steam itself--heck, before Valve even released a single game--the studio had two projects in development: Quiver and Prospero.

Quiver went on to become the Half-Life we know and love today. Prospero died. It's now, for those interested, the subject of an eleven-minute documentary by ValveTime Database:

According to David Hodgson's Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, Prospero was slated to be "a moody, literary game, drawing on sources ranging from Myst to Borges." Marc Laidlaw, who eventually became lead writer on Half-Life, was originally working on Prospero, a third-person exploration game turned MMO.

The ValveTime documentary claims that many of the features that eventually made their way to Steam were originally planned as part of Prospero: friends lists, server browsers, and user-made maps. All of this would be accessible through in-game libraries, similar to the ill-fated Myst Online or Portal 2's co-op hub. The video points out that some of Prospero's tech and ideas were implemented in Portal 2 an incredible sixteen years after the fact.

There are more details and previously-unreleased screenshots of Prospero in the video--this is the first time Valve has really opened up about the project since its inception seventeen years ago.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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