It's Never Been More Confusing Time to Be a Fan of Valve's Games

With another 'Half-Life' writer out the door, it's never been more confusing to figure out Valve's identity as a developer.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I blame this on the hat economy.


Valve’s flat, open structure seems both really interesting as a business philosophy and utterly disastrous to their ability to consistently release anything. Also being richer than Midas means there’s really no pressure on them to do so. They seem happy enough with things as they are and completely unbothered by this trajectory.

I noticed Chet talking about LinkedIn a little bit ago on Twitter and was wondering if that was writing on the wall.

At any rate, I agree with the thrust of the article - they need to shit or get off the pot. Half-Life 3 Confirmed was a funny joke, like, a decade ago, and now it’s almost like a bad punchline to an even worse set-up.

I’m so glad people are talking about this, and Patrick commented on twitter that this sort of back-n-forth dance from Valve is losing its cuteness and is generally just frustrating now. I never cared much for DOTA, I played a bit of CS:S but never got into CS:GO, and rn Valve’s biggest thing that interests me is the fact they run Steam, I guess.

I just wish there would be another Half Life. I know that is like the most basic Gamer Opinion on the web but good lord dudes is the game coming out or no. Just confirm or deny it already


What makes it worse is how Gaben is intentionally vague about it during Q&A sessions or AMAs. It’s as if he actually thinks he’s being cute and that people are being endeared to him when he does it - I honestly can’t imagine, short of being tied down by some ridiculous NDA owned by some other entity, why he (and all of Valve) have to be so goddamn coy about something that people stopped truly caring about years ago.

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Just to confuse it with another analogy, it also feels a little like Alexander - when he saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more lands to conquer.

Given the near universal praise Half Life 2 gets as the best FPS of all time, given the praise doled out to Portal and 2, given the fact that TF2 Is possibly still the best in class (sorry Overwatch), and given that they have a monopoly on the PC scene, what do they need to prove? Would it be perhaps dangerous to release Half Life 3 because the need to impress versus the hype around it is completely untenable?

Or should GabeN just look at his sweet knife collection?

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Part of the reason studios don’t talk about games is how quickly a word here or there can be extrapolated beyond what was intended or even realistic. It doesn’t help that most companies are extremely tight lipped on the actual process of making games.

It’s hard to talk candidly about games in development since so many things are subject to change. They’re expensive to make, easy to break, and generally the product of ~200 people working in concert. Add in the fact that you’ve got a financial incentive only to promote the thing, and it becomes a pretty straight line between tight lips and a game in development.

Managed expectations don’t sell additional copies.

I think thats probably not far from the truth.

I think Newell or someone else internal has previously said that they’d only do HL3 when they had a super interesting mechanic to hang it on (or words to that effect). I assume there’s teams within Valve playing with ideas and nothing’s really solidified.

Fundamentally they’re under no financial pressure to make another hit so why exert themselves.

There was a sort of fan-made rumour that then gained a little traction round about when the Vive came that said “this is it - Half Life 3 is VR only and that’s how they get you to buy one.”

Didn’t come true, but I guarantee there’s a Half Life VR prototype at Valve…

It feels increasingly like Valve is only interested in bringing something to market - whether it be a game or hardware - if they feel like there’s a particular gap that needs filling with a proof of concept, almost like when Google makes a ‘spec’ phone or something. Just in Valve’s case, the ‘spec’ is gameplay mechanics or freemium models or VR tech. They want these specs out there because as the industry succeeds, so do they as a platform holder.

If Valve, internally, could build a novel mechanic in the way they made physics in games such a thing with Half-life 2, and they saw that no one else was doing it, I could see them building a game around that mechanic to push the market forward. Anything short of that, it feels like the motivation just isn’t there.

More than Half Life 3, I really would love to see L4D3; that feels like a game series that was sort of getting into its stride by 2, and really seems ready to go in 2017 - twitch streams alone, or solo speedruns all would be perfect.

So really what I’m saying is can we get L4D3.

It’s an approach I can respect to be honest. A lacklustre HL3 would be worse than no HL3 and Portal 3 would be effectively pointless as 2 explored that space amply. I’d be happy to see them do other things or really just anything as they bring a level of polish and sheen to things that’s up there with the Nintendos and Naughty Dogs of this world.