So Apparently Robin Williams Was a Valve Fan

News & Rumors Valve

As a result of the tragic news about the recent death of Robin Williams, he’s being remembered all over the world as a comedian, actor and visionary.

But what many have forgotten is that he was also an ardent PC gamer, frequently showing up to major gaming events and proclaiming his love for the medium, even to the point of naming his daughter “Zelda”, after Nintendo’s oft-reincarnated princess.

But was he – along with other celebrities like fantasy-literature icon Terry PratchettBritish TV personality Jonathan Ross and nerd-darling director Guillermo del Toro, a Half-Life fan?

So Apparently Robin Williams Was a Valve Fan

For years, a few websites have had an unsourced rumor, saying that Robin Williams was to have been the original voice for the Vortigaunts in Half-Life 2.

In our curiosity, we got in touch with Marc Laidlaw, the series writer for Half-Life, who previously mentioned Williams’ involvement with Valve on Twitter, to see if he could shed any more light on this rumor:

I looked into this after tweeting to someone about it, since I wasn’t directly involved and I don’t trust my memory.
Williams came to the HL2 demo at E3, watched the demo and told Gabe he was a big fan of our games. Gabe thought there might be an opportunity to cast him in HL2, so we reached out to his agent. Clearly it never went further than that. I need to clear up my initial tweet! It makes a nice bit of lore but the changes in details are typical of my fuzzy, lore-inclined memory.

– Marc Laidlaw

Edit: Bill Van Buren, Half-Life 2’s producer further clarified Williams’ role regarding the Vortigaunts in an email to community member and site friend Barnz (with help from Erozbey):

We did talk with Robin Williams about voicing the vortigaunts – we thought he’d be a great choice, given his amazing voice characterization talents, and especially since he played our games and even showed up at our E3 booth for our first reveal of HL2 – but he wasn’t able to do it at that time.

– Bill Van Buren

As well as his potential involvement with the game, he claimed in an interview he did for that Half-Life as well as Blizzard’s Warcraft III were amongst his favorite games. He also talked about his interest for community-made Half-Life content, such as Day of Defeat (back when it was a mod):

 “There are a million games and there are mods with these games, the mods are taking these games and basically redesigning it and doing it on their own thing. There’s a game called Half-Life and these guys made up a total different take on it using the engine to make a World War II engine called Day of Defeat with Germans and Americans doing kind of like a Normandy beach type thing. But these guys made it on their own and the company basically kind of gave them their blessing.”

– Robin Williams

So there you have it, it seems Robin Williams, as well being one of the world’s greatest comedians and actors also appeared to be a lover of all things headcrab.


R.I.P Robin Williams 1951-2014

Article Sources

Thanks to Marc Laidlaw for his response

EngineerDogIta for the Zap2it interview tip

Barnz and Erozbey for sharing Bill Van Buren’s clarification

Co-edited by Alex, Feature image created by Jeff


  1. That’s a fantastic nugget of information. Good work, Lilgreenman.

  2. Wow, I wonder if I ever played on a DoD server with him back in the day.

  3. “Robbin Williams”

  4. So Half-Life was his favorite game (series) but he named his daughter Zelda, after a completely different video game series?