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So it turns out "we are going to start making games again" loosely translates into "we are going to buy studios to start making games for us." At least that's our interpretation following this weekend's news that the 12 members of Campo Santo games have agreed to join Valve. They'll all be keeping their same jobs and continuing work on their latest project, In the Valley of the Gods. Since Valve hasn't stated they plan to only develop games for their own Steam PC platform, we're not quite ready to assume this means Valley will no longer be launching on consoles.
What's interesting about this move is that Campo Santo seems to be one of those indie studios who could have continued on quite nicely without being absorbed into a major publisher's stable. Firewatch was a huge success for the small team and Valley was already getting lots of positive attention. Then again, the indie scene can be tough and nobody can predict the future, so we're sure Campo Santo had their reasons.
Thankfully, they dove into a few additional details in their announcement blog post. According to the blog, the developer gets a great deal of enjoyment out of all the fringe stuff that comes with developing their games, including attending expos, meeting fans, putting out a quarterly literary journal, etc. The post states that Valve was on the same page in that regard, making them an "obvious match."
On a more humorous note, it turns out the Campo team was visiting IGN back in 2015 when they discovered an unopened bottle of wine that was meant as a "Game of the Year" award to be sent to Valve for Portal 2 back in 2011. The team stole it and drank it a year later in celebration of launching Firewatch and, yes, they have the pictures to prove it. So, in a way, they kind of owed Valve one, I guess.
The final tidbit from the blog post is more standard, explaining that the two groups met and talked, decided they shared a lot of the same values, etc. and now they're ready to head to Bellevue to join Valve. Valley of the Gods is still on the way, only now as a Valve game, and Firewatch will continue to receive support.
But now the question remains: Following Valley of the Gods, does Valve want them to keep doing their own thing, or did they bring them on with a particular project of their own in mind? We'll just have to wait and see what comes next.