I had originally posted this the Steam forums, but I wanted to post it here as well. There was a question about Valve being the greatest developer in the world.
Here is my answer:
At this time – maybe so.
In the 1990s – No. Before November 1998, the best software developer was ID software. For those of you that do not know, Half-Life was released in November 1998.
My top 4 FPS games of all time are:
Final Doom (this is really 2 games – The Plutonia Experiment and TNT: Evilution)
Left 4 Dead
Even though the Half-Life series has been great, it’s lacked the dark overbearing atmosphere that Doom had. The one time that Valve came close to capturing the title, was with the original Left 4 Dead. If Doom II Hell on Earth was remade, it hope it would be something very close to L4D.
Valve is a great company, and they come up with some great ideas. But over the past few years I think they have taken a turn towards “fun” games instead of “serious” games. Compare tf2 to L4D. Both games attract a totally different type of player. Valve seems to cater more towards the “fun” player, and less towards the “serious” player.
Why is No Mercy the most played map in L4D2? Because l4d2 players yearn for the return of a dark, serious game with an overbearing atmosphere – like what L4D has.
Now lets go back to the 1990s. Why was Doom so great? Because it created a great atmosphere and attracted a certain type of player. Valve has done a poor job of creating dark games – with the exception of L4D.
When L4D was released, it looked like Valve was going to develop a series of dark games, which would help them become a well rounded company. But instead, they made L4D2, and tried to make it less dark then L4D.
For Valve to take the title of “worlds best developer”, I think they need to offer a wider range of games. The games need to target players looking for “fun” games like tf2, and players that want a serious game with a dark atmosphere like what Left 4 Dead was.