Valve acquires Firewatch developer, Campo Santo

Campo Santo

Firewatch developer Campo Santo announced today that it’s joining Valve.

A blog post from the team expanded on the deal. Campo Santo’s upcoming game, In The Valley of the Gods, will be released as a Valve game. The decision to join Valve came after a series of long conversations, according to the blog post, and the team will continue to work on the games they want to, but under Valve’s umbrella. The blog post reads:

We had a series of long conversations with the people at Valve and everyone shared the satisfaction we take in working with people whose talents dwarf our own to make things we never thought possible. Both sides spoke about our values and how, when you get right down to it, we, as human beings, are hard-limited by the time we have left when it comes to making the things we care about and believe in. They asked us if we’d all be interested in coming up to Bellevue and doing that there and we said yes.

Acquiring a developer like Campo Santo may be a shortcut to Valve making games again. Valve’s CEO, Gabe Newell, said the company is back in the business of “making and shipping games.” Artifact, a digital card game similar to Blizzard’s Hearthstone, is currently in development at Valve. Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic the Gathering, is helping to produce the game, which Newell called one of “the first of several games that are going to be coming from us.”

Campo Santo’s blog post didn’t include an update on In the Valley of the Gods. Campo Santo’s second game will “explore a remote and ancient valley in the Egyptian desert, uncovering treasure and treachery in pursuit of a discovery that could bring you fame and fortune — or leave you for dead, buried beneath the sands,” according to the game’s Steam page. A Campo Santo representative confirmed that Camp Santo’s games will not become PC exclusive under Valve, and will still be created for all platforms.


Of course they did, because making their own games would be too difficult.

Valve has become a sad shell of it’s former self, and the only thing that makes me happy about this is that Campo Santo will have lots of funding.

What are you on about? Valve has been bringing in outside developers and funding their projects since the company’s inception. This is no different to how Portal, L4D, or Dota 2 came to fruition.

Cough Counter-Strike Cough

But…that’s old Valve with other people helping to run the company and such. It’s been years since that happened. Look what happened after they did that.

After they brought in the developers? We got a bunch of great games! They haven’t done that recently. So hopefully, this is a sign of good things to come!

I think they’re referring to the ____ 1, ____ 2, never heard of again approach.

Ah, that makes more sense, I can understand that fear. Though when looking at the history of Campo Santo, I’m not too worried.

The studio was formed shortly after Jake Rodkin & Sean Vanaman left Telltale. They just finished their work TWD Season 1 and were at the very top of their game, only to leave right after that success to start their own company. Rumors say that they were many fights between Vanaman and the higher-ups during the development of the game. (There are numerous articles about subject regarding Telltale and poor management you could read about)

Something more public was when Vanaman called out Pewdiepie for his racist remarks during a livestream and Campo Santo flagged his videos. Now, while I personally feel that DMCA takedowns should be used as a shield and not a sword. However, this was definitely brave on Vanaman’s part to callout one of YouTube’s biggest videomakers.

Long story short, Campo Santo is filled with numerous talented folk outside of just Jake and Sean. These individuals would be the last people in the industry not afraid to stand up and leave Valve if they feel their artistic integrity is being squandered or infringed upon. While currently, the future seems unknown and grim, I’m confident that under Valve they will still manage to bring us many great games.

Exactly. The only thing that should matter is that good games are being funded and released.

Your list is a few games short.

Valve bought devs that made:

  • Counter-Strike series
  • Team Fortress series
  • Day of Defeat series
  • Portal series
  • Portal 2 – Tag: The Power of Paint devs
  • Left 4 Dead series
  • DOTA2 – Although, this was just a single developer

Which is pretty much every series Valve makes except for Half-Life and Ricochet.

And also Alien Swarm Infested. It was a mod team trying to make their own full Source sequel (kinda like Tripwire Interactive with Killing Floor 2) except they joined Valve and then released their game under Valve.

DOTA2 – Although, this was just a single developer

Interestingly enough, in addition to hiring IceFrog (the guy who made dota what it is), Valve actually also hired Eul, the guy who originally made the very first version of DotA 1 back in 2002.

10 years ago


If I every thought Valve were gonna pick up an indie dev, Campo Santo would never have come to mind. Not that Camp Santo are bad, just didn’t think their kind of adventure games would be something Valve would want to pick up.

Wouldn’t mind Valve picking up some other indie devs, so maybe once a year they actually put something new out.

so maybe once a year they actually put something new out.

Valve releasing more than knife skins and hats? Sign me up!

This came as a surprise definitely but I’m happy that it happened.

Well, that sucks.

Right? 10 years ago I never would have imagined it would be bad news that a company making great games would become part of Valve. It’s a sad thing.

Great, now we’ll never get Firewatch 3 smh

I see what you did there. Or did I? L4D 3 confirmed.

Panic panic?

At least the one game that came about from their arrangement was wildly successful.

Now my favorite devs get to make Half Life 3.

In all seriousness, these are the only people I trust to immediately jump ship as soon as they notice their creative freedom being infringed. I am confident that they will continue to produce top quality games and maintain themselves in an environment where that’s possible.

I mean look at this!

That’s beautiful, I hadn’t seen that yet!

But it makes me flinch every time her hair flies through the flame.

It’s a test light source. You should read the whole blog post about their process on this one (and I should have linked it earlier…).

I have mixed feelings with this, Campo Santo and Fullbright are my favorite indie developers and I hope they’re still making innovative games with creative backgrounds. Don’t sell to the masses

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