Over 90 Deadlock videos have now leaked, but Valve's still acting like nothing's happened

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(Image credit: Valve)

Over the last week stills and clips of a game called Deadlock, which is claimed to be the next big game from Valve, have been leaking online. The 6v6 hero shooter is either legit or an extremely good fake, and the latter's looking increasingly unlikely with the volume of material that's been released: today, there's more. PC Gamer has contacted Valve for comment but, so far, there's no response. 

In the absence of any official word, we can't say whether Deadlock really is Valve's next game, but what's undeniable is that there's a beta version out there and elements of it do look like a Valve game. The leaks began with screenshots and a description from X user Gabe Follower, who specialises in Valve data-mining: "6 vs 6 battling on huge maps with 4 lanes. Usable abilities and items. Tower defense mechanics. Fantasy setting mixed with steampunk. Magicians, weird creatures and robots. Fast travel using floating rails, similar to Bioshock Infinite."

This was followed by the leak of a Deadlock video by PlayerIGN on X (not affiliated with IGN), which pretty much lines up with that description. The rails are a notable feature of the maps, carrying players quickly between zones and allowing them to drop-down on fights and other players, while I can't alone in detecting the faintest hints of Team Fortress 2's Americana in the city designs.

The above was the start, but the floodgates have finally opened thanks to the message board 4chan, which has a series of threads devoted to Deadlock leaks, and an astonishing 94 individual video clips have been posted (it may well be more by the time of publication). These are all taken from the beta or in-game files (eg, tutorials) so, whatever Deadlock is, it definitely appears to be real and this is a leak on a huge scale for Valve. It's not quite up there with the theft of Half-Life 2's source code, but not far off.

Certain clips from these leaks have begun to spread online, and we'll begin with around three minutes of footage split across two videos and focusing on frag reels. They can be seen below from X user Pixel, alongside the assertion that "Valve is cooked."

Reader: Valve is not cooked. But these leaks are getting somewhat out of hand, and as well as the above there's a YouTube video showcasing all hero abilities (which features some footage from the time when this was known as Neon Prime, and had more of a sci-fi tinge).

The most frequent comparison folk are reaching for is Overwatch, as if that didn't wear its love for Valve's Team Fortress 2 on both shoulders, but there's much more here pointing towards a spiritual continuation of the latter. One leak shows a robot character wearing The Spy's brown suit while, as a Pyro main, the Infernus character (one of the subjects of these latest leaks) looks like Pyro and The Sniper somehow had a baby. Not that this will quell the beating hearts of Team Fortress 2 fans living in the vain hope of a third entry, but then I'm not sure TF2 really left anywhere for a more straightforward sequel to go.

In these latest leaks, among other things, there's a highlight reel of kills focused on a character who can "mesmerise" others, holding them in position for a few seconds, as well as execute a Matrix-style special that sees her move in various flipping animations that prevent any incoming shots landing.

The second clip begins with the Pyro-adjacent Infernus, before moving onto others, but what this really shows is Deadlock's going to succeed or fail on the movement. This is a really fast game, where most characters seem to have a quick dodge of some kind, as well as the ability to slide on their knees, get very vertical very fast, and generally execute cool-looking moves on approach and in fights. If this is Valve's next game, it's not only the studio's first third-person shooter proper (sorry Alien Swarm), but has a fluidity and focus on motion quite distinct from its best-in-class FPS offerings.

Finally it is notable how these clips have been edited, a TikTok-adjacent style with words popping up to match the background beats, quick jump cuts of various styles, and on-screen visual elements. Whether this is a part of the game itself or being added later is unknown, but some sort of feature allowing players to edit and share their clips in a social-ready form could be a clever idea.

Valve moves in mysterious ways after all and, if Deadlock is real, it's a toss-up whether we'll get a quiet blogpost at midnight on a Friday announcing the game, or just never hear about it ever again. It is worth saying that all of this leaked material is claimed to come from a beta version of the game, so Deadlock may not look like this footage anymore, and there may be stuff that doesn't make the final cut. Either way, I didn't have a 6v6 third-person team shooter next up on my Valve bingo card: but having now seen this thing in extended motion, I guess I'll take it.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."