Valve has made some very big, influential games over the past 25 years, but it hasn't made a lot of games. You can literally count them on the fingers of one hand—and that number is mainly made up of sequels (Dota 2), spinoffs (Dota Underlords), and tech demos for new hardware (Aperture Desk Job). It's not really a problem on the business side of things because Steam is the proverbial money printer go brrr, but an awful lot of gamers sure would like it if Valve would get back to making the games they love, like it used to.
In what's sure to come as good news for those long-suffering fans, Valve's Greg Coomer told Famitsu (via Tweaktown, Google translated), that Valve remains deeply committed to making games, and in fact has multiple projects on the go at this very moment.
"Valve has a lot of games in development. We will continue to release games," Coomer said. "Game development is very important to Valve. I don't know the exact numbers, but the percentage of employees involved in game development is high. A lot of people are involved."
And yes, that commitment extends to Half-Life, although to be clear Coomer said nothing specific about a Half-Life game in development. He did, however, say that Valve loves the setting and wants "to continue exploring the Half-Life universe."
"Half-Life: Alyx was a really fun game to make," Coomer said. "Even for [those of] us who worked on that world, it's still fun to go back there and tell more stories.
"Also, there are many challenges in virtual reality, and it was an interesting task to solve them. Half-Life works are always accompanied by technological innovation, so it was a big step in that sense as well ... Half-Life: Alyx is a sign that Valve has more to say about that world."
Of course, you'll want to take Coomer's statement with, well, whatever quantity of salt you feel appropriate, because this is not the first time that someone from Valve has made this sort of statement while standing amidst a barren wasteland of no actual new games from Valve. Let us review:
- "Yes." - Gabe Newell, when asked during an AMA if Valve is still making singleplayer games. (January 2017)
- "Right now we're building three VR games ... When I say we're building three games, we're building three full games, not experiments." Gabe Newell, strongly implying that these games are bigger and better than The Lab tech demo Valve made for the HTC Vive. (February 2017)
- "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." Gabe Newell, during an Artifact presentation at Valve HQ. (March 2018)
- "Now we're in a place where we're able to, as a company, invest and focus a lot more on games again ... To deliver a bunch of high quality games that show we're actually working really hard." Gabe Newell, refuting the commonly-held presumption that everyone at Valve is just dicking around all day. (August 2018)
- "We definitely have games in development that we're going to be announcing. It's fun to ship games." Gabe Newell, commenting on the impact of Half-Life: Alyx on Valve's interest in making new games. (January 2021)
- "There are multiple games in development right now at Valve, and I think they're pretty exciting ones." Greg Coomer, insisting that Valve has a lot more on the go than just Aperture Desk Job. (March 2022)
To be fair to Valve, it has a lot on the go. Steam is still crushing concurrent user records, and the Steam Deck looks to be the legitimate hardware hit that Valve has been chasing for years. Still, there's no overlooking the fact that we've heard this sizzle without seeing the steak many times before, and I have no doubt that it'll happen again, almost certainly before we get our hands on any new game from Valve.