A new interview with Gabe Newell has revealed that not only is Valve working on new projects, but it is excited about single-player games once again. After an interminable slumber and the muted launches of smaller games like Artifact, the development house behind Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, and Ricochet returned with Half-Life: Alyx, a VR killer app if there ever was one. Despite the game having heavy financial requirements to play, it was praised heavily by critics and fans who could access it and spurred discussion that Valve would return to bigger projects like this sooner rather than later.
Anyone who follows Steam news religiously is well aware that Valve seems to have turned a corner in terms of productivity. This is seemingly in part due to the release of the Epic Games Store and the massive success of Fortnite, which shook Valve off of its assured spot atop the PC gaming industry. Whereas the Steam of yesterday was a marketplace full of unchecked asset flips and decade-old tech, today's PC launcher is making huge strides towards upgrading the experience and focusing player attention on games that deserve it. Steam also has the one thing the Epic Games Store refuses to add (even if it does show up in Fortnite), a shopping cart. Clearly, the competition between the two gaming titans is far from over.
In an interview with New Zealand's 1News, Valve founder Gabe Newell spoke openly about his company's development of future projects. In particular, the long development of Half-Life: Alyx has excited his teams about single-player games again, heavily implying that the next revealed games from the company would go that route over the multiplayer angle that dominated Valve's output throughout the last 15 years.
The reporter did try the old standby of asking about sequels to both Half-Life and Portal, and Newell successfully avoided the topic yet again. More interestingly, the name "Citadel" came up, which Gabe also denied any knowledge of. However, known Valve researcher Tyler McVicker is preparing a report on the game for this week, claiming that it is indeed Valve's next project. The name "Citadel" has come up in reports surrounding the company since mid-2019 and references the final location players visit in Half-Life 2. Whether this means that it's another Half-Life game or something else entirely is up for debate, but it does seem likely that Valve won't go another 8-10 years between major releases this time around.
Whatever Valve does end up announcing in the hopefully not too distant future, it's heartening to see the company behind Steam go back to its single-player roots. Games like Portal 2 and the Half-Life series are instant classics, and their influence on years of games releasing afterward can't be overstated. It's unfortunate that Half-Life: Alyx may not influence as many games in the here and now thanks to the VR market's slow retreat back to niche status. Still, there's no doubt that any VR games that do get made in the intervening years (and even decades) will take heavy influence from Alyx's revolutionary gameplay ideas.
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