Gabe Newell is the closest thing the world of games has to a deity. At times he seems more meme than man and his every word is scripture to his fans. He’s the boss of Valve, the company that built Steam, created Portal, Left 4 Dead, Half-Life and Dota 2.
Public appearances or interviews are rare but occasionally he’ll drop into Reddit to answer fan questions directly. We can only imagine he does it from a throne made of the highest of high-end video cards and with a keyboard made of diamonds. (He’s worth around $4 billion, at last count.) In his latest Reddit appearance he answered questions on which, unsurprisingly, were heavy on the Half-Life.
He has regrets about fan favorite (and fan obsession) Half-Life
“The issue with Half-Life for me is that I was involved in a much higher percentage of the decisions about the games, so it’s hard for me to look at them as anything other than a series of things I regret,” he said. The last installment of Half-Life, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, came out in 2007 and fans have been begging for Episode 3 ever since.
“There’s no information in my response about what we’ll do in the future. It’s simply easier for me to be a fan of things that in which I was less directive.”
He explained that when he looks at it, he sees the trade-offs that had to be made during development. “Anything in a game is a sacrifice of things not in the game.”
There could be more Left 4 Dead, the zombie co-op game, on the way
“Products are usually the result of an intersection of technology that we think has traction, a group of people who want to work on that, and one of the game properties that feels like a natural playground for that set of technology and design challenges,” he replied to a question about the series continuing.
“When we decided we needed to work on markets, free to play, and user generated content, Team Fortress seemed like the right place to do that. That work ended up informing everything we did in the multiplayer space. Left 4 Dead is a good place for creating shared narratives.
He has a favorite child
“I think Portal 2 is our best single-player game. I play Dota 2 the most of our multiplayer games.”
Valve is working on new games, and there are hints they could be Half-Life related
“We are are using it as the foundation of some unannounced products. We would like to have everyone working on games here at Valve to eventually be using the same engine,” he said while discussing the company’s Source 2 engine.
Asked about Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2 Episode 3 directly he replied “The number 3 must not be said,” but dismissed recent reports of its cancellation with “I personally believe all unidentified anonymous sources on the internet.”
Finally, when quizzed “any chance of a new IP that takes place in the Half-Life or Portal universe? I feel like there’s a lot of story left to be explored there,” he replied with a simple “yep.”