Left 4 Dead’s original prototype has leaked online

This early concept was simply called Zombie City.

Someone seems to have leaked a prototype of the game Left 4 Dead, which allows players to explore an early concept of this incredibly influential co-op shooter. The source of the leak is still largely unknown, but speculation about the matter has intensified and rumors have naturally abounded.

The prototype is currently available on the popular platform known as GameBanana, in the form of a mod for Counter-Strike: Source called Zombie City, which was first noticed by the publication GamesRadar. According to the official description, “Zombie City is a map made by Valve (or possibly Turtle Rock Studios) that was part of the map source folder released today. It is likely the starting point of Left 4 Dead, and for those of you who have heard name Terror-Strike before, you’ll love the chance to play this prototype level.”


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Zombie CIty is just the latest in a long line of recent leaks regarding Counter-Strike. The prototype appears to be the concept of Turtle Rock or possibly a later version made by Valve, as suggested by the modder who eventually turned Zombie City into a fully playable experience, Wolfclock.

Turtle Rock who previously worked on Counter-Strike: Condition Zero had two game ideas in development that were presented to Valve back in 2005. The first was a wizard game that never ended up materializing and the second was a mod for Counter-Strike called Terror-Strike, a concept that involved enemies equipped with knives attacking in swarms. This went on to provide the basic idea behind Left 4 Dead. Turtle Rock would eventually be acquired by Valve before creating several other co-op shooters, including Evolve and Back 4 Blood.

“While developing bots for Counter-Strike: Source, we discovered that a few of us armed to the teeth with automatic weapons against 30 knife-wielding enemy bots was a lot of fun,” Turtle Rock founder Michael Booth explained in a recent documentary. “After shipping Counter-Strike: Source in late 2004, we started experimenting with new game prototypes. The basic core of ‘small team of friends against hordes of clawing enemies’ was something we kept coming back to, and we soon realized that the ‘co-op vs the horde game’ had a ton of potential.”

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