Campo Santo Joins Valve

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#1 Edited by CupOfDoom (95 posts) -

This seems like an odd move for Valve. They haven't put out a single player game since game since Portal 2 and have seemed uninterested in making games that are not in VR. This might mean that Valve is serious about making narrative games again but, the timing seems odd considering that all of the dedicated writers left last year. Also, the side effect of this is that valve now has an announced single player game that will probably release this year.

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#2 Posted by Ascardon (93 posts) -

i just have to leave it here "Half Life 3 Confirmed?" . LOL

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#3 Edited by deactivated-5b85a38d6c493 (1990 posts) -

Well that is certainly unexpected. Huh. I honestly don't even know what to think of this.

I mean that is pretty cool and congratulations to the team at Campo Santo.

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#4 Posted by clush (707 posts) -

To me it reads more like Valve will be acting as a publisher for what is now an in-house studio. With Campo Santo being only twelve people it seems like a minor move for Valve. I guess they saw something they liked.

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#5 Posted by conmulligan (1961 posts) -

Huh. I guess that's one way to reassert their commitment to in-house game development.

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#6 Posted by BabyChooChoo (7093 posts) -

Valve is so secretive that I don't know how to take this. For all I know, Campo Santo will continue to largely do their own thing while one of their writers goes off to work on a Valve game we won't hear about for four years and won't see another two or three. The implications are certainly exciting, but sadly it's somewhat dampened by the nature of this industry.

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#7 Posted by nutter (2394 posts) -

I’ve enjoyed games made by Campo Santo and the folks who make up Campo Santo. It’s a bummer to hear that they’ll no longer be making games.


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#8 Posted by Monkeyman04 (2803 posts) -

So, does that mean that they're gonna be making a story mode for DOTA? =P

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#9 Edited by Seikenfreak (1543 posts) -

Saw this earlier on Kotaku. So.. has Valve ever bought a studio before? I can't seem to think of one, at least in recent memory. Only one I'd associate with them is Gearbox? Because I think I saw their logo at the start of some old Half Life stuff? Maybe I'm thinking of something else.

This seems very odd. I did listen to the Idle Thumbs podcast for a bit until they kinda stopped and said they were doing it less frequently. Doesn't the one guy already work for Valve who used to work for them? I'm guessing thats where the social connection is.

Fun way to think of this: Valve is actually going to build their own hardware.. and now they want to get some first party, in-house, exclusive developers.. Eeeeeeee this could be interesting.

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#10 Posted by beligerent_beard (55 posts) -

@seikenfreak: I'm pretty sure Valve also bought Turtle Rock Studios. They don't own them anymore.

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#11 Posted by meteora3255 (681 posts) -

@seikenfreak: Gearbox made an expansion pack for Half-Life 1 (Blue Shift I believe). As far as acquiring talent, it bought Turtle Rock before Left 4 Dead. It also acquired IceFrog (Dota) and Kim Swift and the Narbacular Drop team (Portal).

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#12 Posted by forteexe21 (2035 posts) -

Cool. More people to not make games, just dota hats.

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#13 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4583 posts) -

weird how defeatist people react. They have been saying they were going to make games, they announced a new game, now they hire people that make games.. Why would that all mean that they're just looking for new artists to design dota hats? They have a community full with people that are willing to do that, they are not buying a company known for their writing chops to not utilize that aspect in some product that requires a solid storyline.

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#14 Posted by cmblasko (2951 posts) -

My idea of how this came together was that somebody from Valve probably knew somebody from Campo Santo and the Valve person said "Hey, you are talented, come work for us at Valve" then the Campo Santo person said "I would like to but I am working on this game that means a lot to me with a team that I enjoy working with" so the Valve person said "fine, the game is good and your team is talented, how about we hire all of you so you can finish your game (which you probably don't have the budget for) and then you all can work on DOTA afterward" then the Campo Santo person said "OK" and they shook hands.

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#15 Posted by DodoBasse (114 posts) -

@seikenfreak: This was my thought as well. Brad Muir (sp?) was apparently the architect behind Valve's new game, and he has pretty close connections to some of the Campo Santo/Idle Thumbs guys.

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#16 Edited by Sweep (10610 posts) -

Honestly I'm not really excited by this at all. Campo Santo was a pretty interesting indie developer and Valve does seem to like microtransactions quite a lot... I'm not sure if I'm going to like the influence Valve imposes on their upcoming projects.

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#17 Posted by MattGiersoni (587 posts) -

Remember that In The Valley of Gods, Campo Santo's new game is still happening, just as a Valve game. I think this move will enable them bigger funding and safety net. So at first glance it may have seem like bad news but actually seems pretty positive. Personally I can't wait, been following the dev cycle and it makes me super excited.

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#18 Posted by dudeglove (13790 posts) -

"Indie". Yeah, right.

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#19 Posted by MiniPato (3019 posts) -

Hard to get excited or mad either way. Campo Santo only released one game and I wish I liked Firewatch as much as I love Olly Moss.

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#20 Posted by Brackstone (958 posts) -

I'm guessing Valve is putting a team together for a specific project and somebody knew somebody at Campo Santo and there was mutual benefit to be had. Maybe some kind of story based VR thing that Valve wanted the Campo Santo team on.

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#21 Posted by berniesbc (253 posts) -

@dudeglove: In what way were they not indie? Its a handful of people that started a studio and I'm pretty sure they self published. What a strange reaction!

Based on what the Idle Thumbs guys said, it sounds like they're moving to Seattle to continue working on Valley of the Gods. In the near future I don't think much is going to change for these guys other than the amount of funding they have and that they'll be working in a big ol office.

Really, this is what Valve did to get Counter Strike, Portal, Left 4 Dead and Dota 2 going. All their biggest stuff outside of Half Life came from acquired talent.

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#22 Posted by Shindig (4984 posts) -


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#23 Edited by Do_The_Manta_Ray (1651 posts) -

Weird. I don't remember any hats in Firewatch. Just boomboxes... Haaaaang oooon. DOTA 2 equippable boomboxes? And I swore to never play that game again...

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#24 Posted by SSully (5639 posts) -

@brackstone: You don't need to buy a studio to collaborate on a specific project - especially when you have the coin that Valve does. This is probably a case of Valve wanting to buff their singleplayer/narrative driven development efforts for the long term.

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#25 Edited by DharmaBum (1747 posts) -

If it gives that team more funding, then I'm all for it. Firewatch was a special experience and Idle Thumbs has been a joy to listen to over the years. Will they still retain the Campo Santo name? Haven't bought a new Valve game since Portal 2.

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#26 Posted by chaser324 (8718 posts) -

I'm sure the folks at Campo Santo spent a lot of time considering the ramifications of joining Valve, and I'm willing to trust that they made the best decision for them. It's pretty easy to dunk on Valve for not making games and the general lack of direction they seem to have, but their lack of a formal management structure may allow a team like Campo Santo to continue to operate with a lot of autonomy even within Valve.

With the volatility and risk involved in indie game development, it's not hard to see the appeal of the safety and security that could come with being part of a big company like Valve.

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#27 Edited by sparky_buzzsaw (8956 posts) -

I hope their writers get a chance to make something more interesting than Team Fortress 2 videos.

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#28 Posted by druv (247 posts) -

I guess there will be an opening at Campo Santo for Head of Kremlinology who will be in charge of getting their projects vetted for publishing at Valve.

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#29 Edited by soulcake (2827 posts) -

"Go write a story for this card game we made !" Slams the door.

Also does this means valve would be copyright striking certain YouTubers ?

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#30 Edited by ll_Exile_ll (3017 posts) -

@onemanarmyy said:

weird how defeatist people react. They have been saying they were going to make games, they announced a new game, now they hire people that make games.. Why would that all mean that they're just looking for new artists to design dota hats? They have a community full with people that are willing to do that, they are not buying a company known for their writing chops to not utilize that aspect in some product that requires a solid storyline.

I think people are mostly joking around with the comments about Campo Santo no longer making games. I don't think anyone honestly believes Valve just bought an independent studio to make Dota hats.

However, Valve can talk all they want but until they actually start releasing new games, particularly single player games, they don't get off the hook. It's been years since they've been committed to in-house game game production, the assurances that they have a bunch of stuff of in development are nice, but until that stuff actually releases as real products they don't deserve the benefit of the doubt. Half Life 2 Episode 3 was also "in development" 11 years ago and nothing ever came of that.

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#31 Posted by soimadeanaccount (635 posts) -

Campo Santo dabbled with VR, which Valve has interest in, and they are also pretty good story tellers, which Valve seems to need. This sounds ok on paper.

I thought the analyst story is that DOTA is pretty much in maintenance phase. Valve probably wants/needs something new, Artifact alone probably isn't going to do it.

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#32 Edited by mellotronrules (2629 posts) -

[insert joke about knives, 3s, hats, paid mods, VR, ill-fated hardware and dota-tie-ins]

this actually makes a lot of sense to me. campo santo is a small team doing interesting games, and seeing as valve has shed a lot of their narrative/writing talent (and campo games are almost exclusively that)- it seems like it could be a fruitful arrangement!

excited to see what comes from it!


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