That early concept was simply called Zombie City.
Someone appears to have leaked a prototype of the Left 4 Dead game, allowing players to explore an early concept of this incredibly influential cooperative shooter. The source of the leak is still largely unknown, but speculation about the matter has intensified and rumors are, of course, rife.
The prototype is currently available on the popular GameBanana platform in the form of a mod for Counter-Strike: Source called Zombie City, which was first noticed by the GamesRadar publication. According to the official description, “Zombie City is a map created by Valve (or possibly Turtle Rock Studios) that was part of the map source folder released today. It’s probably the starting point of Left 4 Dead and those of you who have heard the name Terror-Strike will love getting a chance to play this prototype level.”
Zombie CIty is just the latest in a long line of Counter-Strike leaks. The prototype appears to be Turtle Rock’s concept, or possibly a later version by Valve as suggested by modder Wolfclock, who ultimately made Zombie City a fully playable experience.
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 wizarding game that never came to fruition and the other was a mod for Counter-Strike called Terror-Strike, a concept of knife-equipped enemies attacking in swarms. This provided the basic idea behind Left 4 Dead. Turtle Rock was eventually acquired by Valve before creating several other cooperative shooters, including Evolve and Back 4 Blood.
“While developing bots for Counter-Strike: Source, we found that a bunch of us armed to the teeth with automatic weapons was a lot of fun against 30 knife-wielding enemy bots,” explained the Turtle Rock founder, Michael Booth, in a new documentary. “After the release of Counter-Strike: Source in late 2004, we began experimenting with new game prototypes. That basic core of “small team of friends against hordes of clawing enemies” was something we kept coming back to, and we soon found that the co-op vs. horde game had a lot of potential.”
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