Valve's next game rumored to be a 6v6 hero shooter called Deadlock

Valve logo with a man with a steam valve for an eye.
(Image credit: Valve)

Valve might have sprung a leak. A handful of screenshots supposedly from Valve's next big game, allegedly a competitive shooter called Deadlock, appeared on 4Chan and Twitter yesterday. The word from multiple dedicated Valve sleuths on Twitter is that Deadlock is a 6v6 third-person shooter that takes inspiration from Overwatch, Team Fortress 2, and Dota 2.

The most confident descriptions of Deadlock are coming from Gabe Follower, a Valve-focused content creator.

"6 vs 6 battling on huge maps with 4 lanes. Usable abilities and items. Tower defense mechanics," he said of the project yesterday on Twitter. "Fantasy setting mixed with steampunk. Magicians, weird creatures and robots. Fast travel using floating rails, similar to Bioshock Infinite."

Gabe Follower also claims that Deadlock is the up-to-date title for a Valve project we already knew existed: Neon Prime. The name change could be explained by a previous version of Deadlock supposedly having a sci-fi art style, since evolving into fantasy and steampunk.

"Hero design pretty much inspired by Dota universe," he continued. "Main map references modern steampunk European city (little bit like Half-Life). Initially game had sci-fi elements inspired by Half-Life and Portal, but after bad feedback dev team decided to focus on fantasy."

The compressed screenshots making the rounds are unsourced, but they are somewhat convincing. The UI design language, character designs, minimap, and font choices are consistent with Dota. If it's a fabrication, it's a darn good one. Assuming Deadlock is real, the leaks are not getting the most glowing first impressions. Several have been quick to point out that 6v6 shooters with heroes and abilities feels a little old hat in 2024, while others object to its tech fantasy art style that, admittedly, is giving Battleborn.

Predictably, some fans are also disappointed that Valve is making yet another shooter that isn't Team Fortress 3, calling Deadlock a "trend-chasing" effort that doesn't stand out. To be fair, out-of-context screenshots released into the wild from an unfinished game is a surefire way to get negative reactions.

We don't know how long ago these screenshots were taken or how far along the project is now, if it's even real. The whole UI looks like placeholders, and the flat lighting in the depicted maps suggest they're far from complete, too. You only need to glance at Counter-Strike 2 to see how nice a fully-cooked Source 2 game can look these days, so it'd be smart to take these leaks with a grain of salt. What I'm seeing does not inspire joy, but we are potentially talking about the next Valve game. Battleborn vibes and Overwatch comparisons be damned, when the house that Half-Life, Counter-Strike, and Dota 2 built has something cooking, I'm automatically interested.

As Garry's Mod creator Garry Newman put it on Twitter: "Enjoying watching everyone hating on 4 badly compressed screenshots of a closed alpha game, while 100% certain they'll be stepping on each other's throats to play it."

That said, the last decade of Valve's service game focus has produced several high-profile stinkers, too. Artifact, the studio's big swing at Hearthstone, and Dota Underlords, its standalone auto chess spinoff, were total whiffs. We've reached out to Valve for comment and will update this story if we hear more.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.