Well, it’s finally happened. After years of silence (and several very public bouts of fan disappointment that have been embarrassing for the company), Gabe Newell has announced that his company, Valve, will finally return to games in earnest.
The announcement came as part of a presentation for Artifact, the “Dota 2” themed card game that drew fan ire last year when it was announced because it had the gall to not be “Half Life 3.”
It seems that Gabe has heard the fans’ insistent pleas, and he’s ready to oblige. Valve will start making games again, instead of just focusing on the gaming marketplace Steam
“Artifact is the first of several games that are going to be coming from us. So that’s sort of good news. Hooray! Valve’s going to start shipping games again.”
It’s actually kind of hard to get all that excited by this. After so many years of radio silence, it had seemed for a while as if Valve had entirely abandoned video game development entirely.
Steam is a vastly profitable platform for Valve. The marketplace generates a lot of revenue even when the company does nothing, so producing games isn’t all that commercially viable compared to simply sitting back and watching the money roll in.
The only real benefit to making games comes from positive publicity, especially considering just how angry a lot of longstanding Valve fans have become at the company’s abandonment of its core franchises. It’s nice that Valve will now be making more games, but it’s hard to get too excited while there’s still nothing to be seen.
After all, Valve tends to take a long time on their game making even if they’re enthusiastic about their projects, which clearly isn’t currently the case. Sure, that means a solid level of production quality when the game eventually releases, but future releases are probably still at least half a decade a way based on Valve’s standard development speed.
Then, there’s the question of what kind of games Valve is working on. A lot of the company’s most recent endeavors have been centered around the HTC Vive. For example, there’s a couple of “Portal”-esque games on the Vive which bring back the classic Aperture testing facility.
Not that it matters — these games might as well not exist, as they require specialist hardware to be played, and by and large gamers have voted with their wallets and decided that VR is a terrible waste of time.
If future Valve games are intended for release on the Vive, then very few people will bother to play them. Valve would be better off letting Traveller’s Tales and Lego make another “Portal” game instead!
It’s strange to finally come to a time when Gabe’s company is developing more games, and for the news to feel so underwhelming.
Perhaps it’ll be different when these titles finally release, but considering the hype that already circulates around “Half Life 3,” it’ll be very difficult for this game to live up to expectations if it ever does reach store shelves.