In a seemingly odd turn of events, Valve has acquired Campo Santo. The creative brains behind the insanely popular and wildly fun game, Firewatch clearly have caught the eye of Valve. While I’m happy for everyone involved — as a gamer, I’m very concerned.
Firewatch is a fucking fantastic game. It was co-produced by Panic (creator of Transmit, among other software). As of writing, Cabel Sasser has been quiet on Twitter in regards to the news of Valve’s acquisition. Which, also concerns me.
Valve hasn’t produced a single game title since 2013. The software company has clearly been far more concerned about Steam and hardware (or lack thereof?) since their last release, Dota 2.
Parsing the press release from Campo Santo is bittersweet:
The twelve of us at Campo Santo have agreed to join Valve, where we will maintain our jobs as video game developers and continue production on our current project, In the Valley of Gods.
Yes, we’re still making In the Valley of Gods (as a Valve game!); yes, we’ll still support Firewatch; and yes, we’ll still produce The Quarterly Review and our regular blog content. Thanks so much for your interest in our games and we’ll see you in Washington. Cheers.
On one hand, it’s great to see Valve making serious creative moves, and poaching some amazing talent. Valve has historically made some of the best games I’ve ever played. No doubt, they’ll produce more games that fall into the same echelon. With cart blanche from Valve, they can produce some insane titles in coming years for Valve. I mean, Valve now has some of the lead developers from the award-winning The Walking Dead S1 title.
But on the other hand, Campo Santo really has some real grit. And, honestly, the gaming community could use more independent studios. As larger studios gobble up talent, everything (from creative, to platform choice) can become a bit incestuous. Which is bad for gamers.
I’m hopeful… but skeptical about this acquisition. Turns out, I’m not alone.
- How Panic got into video games with Campo Santo
- About Valve Games
- About Firewatch
- Valve quietly hides Steam Machine section from its game store after years of neglect
- Before ‘Half-Life,’ Valve was making an ambitious MMO
- Firewatch, One Month Later
- Toxic management cost an award-winning game studio its best developers