Sunday, 07 July 2013 18:15

Has Valve Become A Joke in the Development Community?

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Valve as a game development company has been a big hit in the past. Titles like Half--Life (and all the follow-ons) Day of The Ancients, and more have made them a name that still is respected by gamers. At least that was the case until they teased the gaming community with the third installment of Half-Life too many times. Now the consensus is that Valve cares more about getting Steam Working for Linux out of spite for Microsoft than it does about releasing games. In fact the whole thought of seeing Half-Life 3 in the foreseeable future has become something of a joke in the gaming and development community.

What is maddening to most gamers is that Valve continues to hint and tease about the progress. Nothing is ever substantial and most of the rumors and hints get blow (massively) out of proportion, but they are always there. Yet with each new conference or trade show Half-Life 3 is conspicuously absent from the list of new games. In the last few weeks memes have begun to pop up on Facebook explaining that Valve only releases the next number when the millennium changes (Half-Life was released in 1998 and Half-Life 2 in 2007). By this thinking we should not expect Half-Life 3 until the early 3,000s. In more realistic terms it took nine years to develop and build the sequel to Half-Life. I hope that is not the case for the next game as we still have about 2.5 years to go if we hold to that schedule.
Why we have not seen HL3 yet can only be answered by the guys at Valve and right now they are not doing anything more than hinting and making references. Our guess is that HL3 is not a priority to Gabe and the gang right now. Instead they are concentrating on making sure the gaming world has an alternative to the console if things continue to go south with Microsoft. The last thing that they want to see if a game like Half-Life relegated to the boring console world. This is where things could end up if Microsoft and others continue down the cloud OS path. If Microsoft has their way there would be no room for distribution services like Steam (which is Valve’s). As with most companies, ensuring that the lights stay on is a big deal to Valve; anything that could stop that is something to be addresses sooner rather than later.

This means competing in more than just the PC market. Over the last couple of years Valve has pushed further and further into the living room with services like “The Big Picture”. The rumors about a Steam based console are still very much alive and we know that Valve has been working with Canonical (the developers of Ubuntu Linux) to port existing PC games to that OS. This makes for a very busy team and leaves little time to work on projects like Half-Life 3. It does not mean that they are not working on it, but that it is no longer a high-priority project.

Alternatively Half-Life 3 could be the “Hero” product for the rumored Steam Console (Xi3 Piston or other) that could debut at the end of this year. If that was an exclusive to the service it could certainly help to shift some units off of the shelves. Fortunately Gabe Newell is not a fan of making things exclusive so while we might still see Half-Life 3 as the launch product for whatever they have planned for a “console” it is still very likely to launch across as many platform as possible so that no one is left out. We will all have to wait until Valve is ready to satisfy our cravings for Gordon Freeman’s next big adventure. At least we can all enjoy the jokes about how long it might take before that happens.

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Read 3267 times Last modified on Sunday, 07 July 2013 19:28

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