Gosh, but isn't Valve busy at the moment? Between the Steam Deck, VR stuff, and even overhauling Steam's long-neglected mobile app (opens in new tab), you'd be forgiven for thinking the company had enough going on that it wouldn't feel the need to spin up new projects. And you'd be wrong, because a new trademark that Valve applied for (opens in new tab) on October 10 has unintentionally announced the existence of something called Neon Prime.
The application, which is still being processed by the US Patent and Trademark Office, identifies Neon Prime as pertaining to "Computer game software, electronic game software, video game software, computer game programs downloadable via the internet". My remarkable deductive powers tell me that this means it has something to do with videogames and videogame software, and the internet seems to agree: there are already rumours (opens in new tab) that Neon Prime could be a new game—or even series—from Valve.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. As tempting as it is to make bold predictions about what Valve is up to, the number of things that could fall under the umbrella of "computer game software" is enormous. It could just be a new tool, some kind of anti-cheat, or a new software doodad for the Steam Deck. But look, you can believe it's Half-Life 3 if that's what makes you happy. I'm not gonna stop you.
It's also worth remembering that trademarks get filed all the time and then don't end up used. Even if it is an embryonic idea for a new game, whatever plans Valve has for Neon Prime might be years in the future, or might never see the light of day. It could even just be that Valve thinks Neon Prime is a really cool name and wants to pin it down before someone else does. The possibilities for being underwhelmed are endless.
Still, it's fun to speculate, right? And Valve has been incredibly active lately. Heck, we got our first Half-Life game in 13 years when Half-Life: Alyx (opens in new tab) released in 2020. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that we could see a new game from Valve in its currently energised state. Maybe a game made first and foremost for the Steam Deck? Hey, now that I think of it, 'Neon Prime' has the same number of characters as 'Half-Life 3'. Let the rumour mills spin.