Now don’t get carried away with yourselves but Valve is gradually getting the old team back together. Half-Life 2 Episode 1 and Episode 2 writer Erik Wolpaw is now allegedly back at Valve having originally left in February 2017 to write for Psychonauts 2.
A mobile screencap of an email conversation with Gabe Newell appears to confirm as much. In the email, Newell is asked “Erik Wolpaw back at Valve?”, to which he succinctly replies “He’s back.”
On its own, there’s the whiff of bullshit to this one, but Shacknews spotted that Erik Wolpaw’s name actually appears in the credits for Artifact, indicating he may even have been back at Valve for some time.
But why is all this potentially exciting? Well, these are some strong indications that Valve is getting back into story-based games. Fellow Valve writer Jay Pinkerton, who co-wrote Portal 2 with Wolpaw, also returned to Valve in July 2018 having departed in 2017.
Of Valve’s chief writers still in work, this leaves just Chet Faliszek yet to return. There’s a core of Valve’s writing team that is now back and hopefully working on games though, which spells potentially positive news for the future.
Adrian Final, chief programmer on Dota 2, also left Blizzard in September 2018 and returned to Valve.
The obvious question at this point would be what could they be working on. There are a handful of obvious wants, although we wouldn’t be surprised to see Valve attempt some sort of story-mode for Artifact in order to rescue it from the doldrums. Aside from this, Jon’s prediction of Half-life VR could have a shred of truth to it. We doubt it, but he’s got to be right sometime.