A few weeks ago, a group of Valve fans got together to sign a petition for a “peaceful protest.” Their complaint was Valve’s refusal to comment on the future of the Half-Life franchise, since it’s been five long years since the release of HL: Episode Two.
Today, Penny Arcade Report published an insightful interview with Valve’s managing director, Gabe Newell, primarily about his interest in new forms of input devices, like tablet computers. But he also responds to the fans who are concerned about Valve’s self-imposed silence about all things Half-Life. Here’s the relevant part of the interview:
We’re acutely aware of how much we annoy our fans and it’s pretty frustrating to us when we put them into that situation. We try to go as fast as we can and we try to pick the things that we think are going to be most valuable to our customers and if there’s some magic way we can get more work done in a day then we’d love to hear about it, but we recognize that it’s been a long time whereas we have so many games that people really love — Counterstrike, Half-Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead, not a whole lot of Ricochetenthusiasts out there — and at the same time we want to be making sure that those games and those stories and those characters are moving forward while also making sure that we don’t just get into terminal sequelitis.
But we’ve always somehow, you know, part of the reason that we backed off talking so much about what was happening in the future is that when we’ve done that in the past, you know, with Half-Life 1 it was a year after we originally said it would be, Half-Life 2 basically if you go and read the forum posts apparently took us fifty or sixty years to get done so we’re trying to be careful not to get people too excited and then have to go and disappoint them. So we’re sort of reacting in the other direction and saying “okay, well let’s have things a little more baked before we start getting people all excited about it.”
Basically, it sounds like Newell is taking the old “we’ll talk about it when we have something to talk about” approach. Which make sense from a developer’s point of view, but is still mighty frustrating to us fans who desperately want to play more Half-Life. If you’re in that camp, then it’s important to note that Newell never said, “there is no Half-Life content currently in development.” He simply said he wasn’t going to talk about it until it was almost done.
But God only knows when that will be.
[Awesome Half-Life 3 logo made by Jesse de la Rosa.]