Half-Life 2 writer Erik Wolpaw is back at Valve

It appears that Valve might be getting the Half-Life gang back together with the return of Episode 1 and 2's writer, Erik Wolpaw.

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Valve has been under fire lately as the PC Launcher Wars rage on, but one secret weapon they have at their disposal is their ability to make video games. We saw this just last year with the release of Artifact, and we have heard rumors of other games in development. The latest tidbit of news that has some fans excited is that Erik Wolpaw, writer of Half-Life Episodes One and Two, Portal, and Left 4 Dead, has returned to Valve software.

Wolpaw left Valve in February of 2017, joining several other writers including Marc Laidlaw, but a screencap of an email conversation with Gabe Newell has been circulating on social media.

Wolpaw confirmed?
Wolpaw confirmed?

We did some more digging and found that Erik Wolpaw is featured in the credits for Artifact. That game was released in November of last year, which means Wolpaw was working for Valve Software as early as the fourth quarter of 2018. 

Before our readers start confirming Half-Life 3 or Left 4 Dead 3 or Portal 3, it is important to remember that Valve recently demonstrated the ability to count to three. It may take some time for the creative juices to start flowing at the company. Valve's boss man Gabe Newell is on the record saying that "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." Wolpaw's return along with the acquisiton of Firewatch developer Campo Santo definitely adds some credibility to Gabe's claims.

It also makes sense that Valve Software is going to get back to making games as they face increasing competition in the PC digital software storefront landscape. Epic Games Store, Discord, and many other companies are coming for Steam, and Valve can help their own storefront out by creating some of the high quality game experiences that they are known for. We can only hope some of the other Hal-Life writers will consider rejoining the team, but there may be some bad blood out there. Marc Laidlaw shared a potential plot for Half-Life: Episode Three in 2017, and several other members of the team have gone onto other projects in the industry. Either way, Erik Wolpaw's return to Valve Software is a good thing for fans of their games, and we look forward to hearing about what they have up their sleeves.

Shout out to shirif for bringing this to our attention with his Chatty post.

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Asif Khan is the CEO and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 3, 2019 10:20 PM

    Asif Khan posted a new article, Half-Life 2 writer Erik Wolpaw is back at Valve

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      January 3, 2019 10:22 PM

      Yay!

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      January 3, 2019 10:55 PM

      That's encouraging!

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      January 3, 2019 10:59 PM

      [deleted]

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        January 4, 2019 4:05 AM

        I think they see their monopoly on distribution is going away. Making games again will keep people entrenched on steam.

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      January 3, 2019 11:03 PM

      Fantastic and exciting news.

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      January 4, 2019 12:52 AM

      something something confirmed

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      January 4, 2019 12:52 AM

      That's good!

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        January 4, 2019 8:07 AM

        he's writing for a new card game.

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          January 4, 2019 8:16 AM

          He's already credited in Artefact, and Gabe already said they're working on more games.

          Is this news too positive to fit the anti-valve viewpoint?

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      January 4, 2019 1:00 AM

      That restores some faith in the company, also glad that they loaned him out on psychonauts 2.

      Maybe he wanted to find out the question to this:

      "Since I’m talking to myself now, I’m just going to transcribe the internal monologue that occupies a big portion of my average work day. The topic: Could I beat up my employer? First up: Boss emeritus, Gabe Newell. He has the size and strength, but I’ve got speed. If he manages to get a hold of me and take it to the ground, I’m dead. But if I can keep my distance and harass him with jabs to the lower back, I have a chance. He may be a genius bear-sized billionaire, but he’s still got human kidneys. After thirteen years of speculating about it, I put the odds of beating up Gabe Newell at 30/70. Not great, but not totally out of the question. The problem is, even if I win, he’s rich enough to buy his way out of a couple of murders. Has he used up his murder allotment already? Unknown. Would me beating him in a fight antagonize him enough to waste one of his murders on me? Unknown. As much as it pains me to admit it, one way or another, I lose this matchup all day long."

      https://www.giantbomb.com/articles/erik-wolpaws-top-10-games-of-2017/1100-5658/

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      January 4, 2019 3:06 AM

      I will cling on to any ray of hope they throw at us.

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      January 4, 2019 3:52 AM

      Wonder if this has anything to do with Epic cutting into their digital market.

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        January 4, 2019 4:57 AM

        Why would it?

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          January 4, 2019 5:08 AM

          Because they’re looking to the future and realizing that they, like netflix ounce upon yesteryear, are going to need more than distribution to incentivize customers to peruse your platform.

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            January 4, 2019 9:44 AM

            And rehiring Wolpaw is going to address that? It seems like a very strange connection to make. They hired him again because he's a good writer, not as some tactical move against a competing digital game store.

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        January 4, 2019 9:56 AM

        Based on the timing of the hire, no. He joined the company before Epic Games Store was publicly announced.

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      January 4, 2019 4:05 AM

      Excellent, working on content for the Valve's next game.... VR only!!!!

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      January 4, 2019 4:22 AM

      I don't even care if it's a new or existing IP, I'm just stopped at the possibility of a new single player narrative driven Valve game.

      Small typo in the article "screencap of an emai conversation"

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      January 4, 2019 5:04 AM

      "Before our readers start confirming Half-Life 3 or Left 4 Dead 3 or Portal 3..."

      ...all 3, confirmed?!

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      January 4, 2019 5:06 AM

      Maybe he is just going to do punchup on Artifact card descriptions.

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      January 4, 2019 5:10 AM

      Whoa, I got a mention, this is humbling.

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      January 4, 2019 7:38 AM

      I got linked to this article from the [H] which was both a surprise and a joy.
      https://www.hardocp.com/news/2019/01/04/half_life_portal_writer_back_at_valve/

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      January 4, 2019 8:21 AM

      Artefact cards could use some more flavor text

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        January 4, 2019 9:51 AM

        The blood wrought by this battle axe tastes of virgin semen and oregano after being dipped in a smooth parmesean and basil flavored gaspatcho.

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      January 4, 2019 9:47 AM

      [deleted]

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      January 4, 2019 9:55 AM

      Shrif is credit to team.

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