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Evolve studio Turtle Rock eyes Early Access development

Turtle Rock Studios' creative director and studio cofounder Phil Robb sees the benefits in pulling the veil back on game development.
Turtle Rock Studios, creators of Left 4 Dead and the upcoming four vs. one online game Evolve, have developed its games rather traditionally -- mostly behind closed doors, without the input from a broad audience. But creative director and studio cofounder Phil Robb told Gamasutra at E3 that the studio would like to change that, if the opportunity was right. Asked if the independently-owned Turtle Rock would like to release a Steam Early Access game at some point, Robb replied enthusiastically, "Dude, I would love to do that, and Chris [Ashton, cofounder and design director] feels the same way. Who knows, I won't say 'never,' but I can't say 'yes' for sure." Steam Early Access has been a driving factor in the popularization of paid alphas -- selling games well before they're done, and taking player feedback into consideration during development. Robb said it would be fun to break down that barrier between developer and player, letting the community take part in and inform the way a game is developed and designed. "Even on [Evolve], as we were playing it all these years, the game changed a lot, and there'd be features that'd go in, features that'd come out. We always kind of lamented the fact that we couldn't take the community along on that ride. "On Left 4 Dead it was the same thing," he added. "We had weird Infected in the game that we ended up yanking out -- we'd have fun with them for maybe a month or so, but ultimately they weren't right for the game. But even then, we think about those instances, remembering how they were messed up, but fun to play around with." And that's what's appealing to Robb about Early Access -- the enjoyment of the game transcends the "final" version of the game. He admitted that changes to an Early Access game -- like removing, adding or tweaking features -- might annoy or upset players, but that'd be part of the deal when a community of players takes part in development of a game. We'll have more from Robb in the near future.

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