Let’s take a look at this story: Why Half Life 2 art director left Valve.
“I left precisely when they stopped making epic, triple-As, which was Half-Life 2,” Viktor Antonov told Eurogamer. “Since then, they were episodes.”
This tells us that the Valve Corporation is not interested in making epic, triple A titles (like Half-Life 2 which would imply a sequel with Half-Life 3). The ‘just making episodes’ comes across to me that he is disappointed that the Valve Corporation isn’t interested in making games anymore.
“Valve is a great place, but I’m interested in projects, not in companies. I went to Valve specifically for Half-Life 2. I went and I collaborated with Arkane to do The Crossing and Dishonored. I put the project above everything else.”
Interested in projects, not companies. This tells us that the Valve Corporation transformed from a game company into… something else. A platform company? A ‘let’s-leverage-poor-modders-to-make-games-for-usl company? You decide. But a game company makes games. Someone left the Valve Corporation for the expressed reason that they are not interested in making games (no projects, just ‘company’).
“Valve has grown into a much bigger company,” he went on, “and what I really enjoy about the philosophy of Arkane is that it’s a small, core team that does risky creative projects. And when I went to Valve, they were a small company. They’ve grown now, they’re much bigger, and I’m interested in a certain level of creative risk taking and a certain energy that can be compared to jazz, jamming or rock n’ roll, where it’s small, it’s intense and it’s about making revolutions in the media.”
Here, he says the Valve Corporation is ‘much bigger’ and implies they are not interested in creative risks. If Half-Life 3 was ‘revolutionary’, if they are making it (he says Valve Corporation is not interested in making triple A titles), then it sounds like he would have stayed. After all, he adds “all my friends are at Valve”. Why would someone leave their friends? Perhaps he thought this was a better career move.
This guy’s reasons for leaving the Valve Corporation actually remind me of the developers who wanted to leave 3d Realms. 3d Realms was a rich company and could be ‘forever’ in development of Duke Nukem Forever. But the developers realized, even though they were getting paid to ‘play’, their resumes were suffering the lack of making games. At least, 3d Realms put out art and trailers for their game. It’s been eight years since Half-Life 2. Come on! The Valve Corporation won’t even say if Episode 3 has been canceled or is being worked on. This is not even being professional. Episode 2 came out half a decade ago for crying out loud!
The reader suggests, “Perhaps they don’t want to show it off too early like id’s Rage.”
Show it off too early? That would imply the game is in pre-production which is ridiculous considering how long it is has been. And games don’t fail because they are ‘shown off too early’. Games fail because of the games themselves. All marketing can do is lead people to the product. If the product doesn’t satisfy, there is nothing the marketing can do.
The Valve Corporation seems to be more passionate about making ‘stores’ than making games. The Valve Corporation has less in common with Nintendo and more in common with Gamestop.