Firewatch team’s next game ‘on hold’ as it works on other Valve projects

Campo Santo/Valve

In 2017, Firewatch developer Campo Santo unveiled In the Valley of Gods, a promising-looking first-person adventure set in Egypt. The following year, Valve, the maker of Counter-Strike, Steam, and Dota 2, snapped up Campo Santo. Some Firewatch fans worried that Campo Santo had been swallowed by a company notorious for not shipping games.

Just last month, Firewatch fans freaked out a little bit more when multiple Campo Santo developers who had joined Valve removed any and all mention of In the Valley of Gods from their Twitter bios. It was a worrying sign.

But then Valve announced Half-Life: Alyx, a VR-only prequel to Half-Life 2. Several Campo Santo developers were confirmed to be working on the project. Still, the fate of In the Valley of Gods was uncertain.

But no longer. Campo Santo co-founder Jake Rodkin confirms that “In the Valley of Gods development is on hold,” but not outright canceled. In a statement to Polygon, Rodkin says that former Campo Santo developers are busy working on not just Half-Life: Alyx, but Dota Underlords, Steam, and other Valve projects as well. Here’s his full statement:

To fans looking forward to In the Valley of Gods, it’s probably clear that the optimistic “2019” at the end of the announcement trailer isn’t going to be accurate. In the end, Valve Time makes fools of us all. But yes, developers from the former Campo Santo team have joined other projects at Valve, including Half-Life: Alyx. As you can imagine, our experience in the first-person adventure genre is pretty relevant. You hear a lot about how at Valve you can work on what you want. It turns out that’s true, and there’s a lot of work available. As we integrated ourselves into Valve it became clear there was a lot of valuable work to be done on Half-Life: Alyx. Some of us starting lending a hand, and have since become full-time on the project as it approaches launch. Similarly, some ex-Campos are working on Dota Underlords, some are on Steam, and so on. So to answer your question as of today, In the Valley of Gods development is on hold—but it certainly feels like a project people can and may return to. And when that happens, we’ll find an exciting way to let fans know.

Half-Life: Alyx is scheduled to be released on Steam in March 2020. In the Valley of Gods’ release date on Steam is now listed as “TBD.”


I think it is pretty telling if the devs who were working on it are no longer excited about working on it, it is probably for the best to put it on hold.

Valve: "Hey do you guys wanna work on Firewatch 2 or the new Half-Life?"

Team: Are….are you serious?

As someone who doesn’t have any interest in Half Life, I would much rather work on In The Valley Of The Gods because it seems more unique

Or they couldn’t keep Gaben’s interest on the project so it was join the popular cliques or be fired.

That’s how Valve works. It’s a bunch of cliques you either join or they get rid of you.

That’s a gross over-simplification meant to paint the methodology used at valve in bad light. The alternative is one in which the company decides what you are working on directly, regardless of your level of interest, and when that project bears no real fruit, you don’t get to take anything with you when they downsize.

No, it’s a pretty honest read of the unintentional flaws of their methodology.

The company still decides what folks work on at Valve. It’s just that the company is just Gabe Newell. He 100% controls who gets funding so every project group has to appease him.

HL Alyx and Dota Underlords are the two cliques getting his attention so everyone flocks to them for job security. That’s how Valve works.

Read the stuff released by former employees. The Valve structure has good intentions but isn’t great when it meets the real world.

Like Valley of the Gods is probably never seeing the light of day now as there’s no incentive for Valve to finish it.

Dota is constant income through microtransactions. HL Alyx only exists because Gaben is very interested in VR and needed a killer app to push the Index (and VR as a whole because the Index is the premium level, not entry.)

Well at least we got one hell of a promising game… trailer…

This is awful. In the Valley of Gods looks 1000000x more interesting than the VR Half-Life game or anything else Valve is doing that I know about.

Indeed, the fact that valve had to lean on a small company they picked up a year ago to release their flagship game shows how much valve has changed from a game company to…. whatever they are now. This gives hl:alyx a chance of being better, but i would much rather have a real campo santo game.

whatever they are now

I believe the term is ‘retailer’.

They’re like Walmart. Except when Walmart bought ModCloth, they at least kind of kept their identity. So they’re, like, worse than Walmart.

well, fuck

That’s depressing. Seems a lot like all those Activision devs that used to make their own games and now just do support work on annual Call Of Duty releases.

Not buying HLVR, was going to buy valley of gods. Meh.

I had kinda figured this would happen as soon as they were bought. Valve isn’t really that interested in making something new. They just buy out the people who do want to make something new or copy things completely while also somehow making them even scummier.

I was already wondering how long it would be before Campo Santo did the Turtle Rock and split/left Valve. They’re about at the half as far as Turtle Rock got before they left.

I am so-so on Firewatch, I loved the art direction but I hated the dialogue and the characters. I was still excited for Valley of the Gods. I have… a hard time believing they weren’t pressured into giving in to Alyx but I dunno, I guess I would have too if I worked there.
I’m still very irked we’re only getting Half Life games when they have hardware to sell us.

They don’t care if you play on Index, they just want to prove VR can have an amazing AAA game. If it was about the hardware they would’ve simply made it exclusive to the Index

What’s the chances that the game’s Knuckles controller focus won’t be the death of its playability on other systems? Sure, it’s technically compatible with other VR systems but if you can’t interact with things the way you do with the Knuckles controllers then it doesn’t play well will mean that it’s basically DOA on those platforms.

Yeah they don’t care about selling the Index that’s why owning the Index gets you bonus weapons skins in HL Alyx and a free copy of the game

Wow, free weapons skins? Definitely the most compelling reason to spend $999 on a new headset versus the competition which is about half the price.

VR users are only 1% of overall steam users (and only about 5% iirc have fully VR ready systems) and the Index is one of the most expensive VR headsets there.

They pretty much had no choice but to open the game up beyond it or it was a guaranteed bomb (as opposed to a likely bomb if it releases next year.)

Nobody said anything about HL:Alyx being opened up beyond VR, and it is releasing next year.

You misunderstood me. I meant opened up beyond just the Index.

I’m sure they would’ve loved to make it Index only to sell a few more units but that’s not feasible.

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