Valve, when said that they were going to get back into the business of designing games, it turns out that they meant business. Heading into the weekend, Campo Santo, the developer of the Firewatch announced that they had officially been acquired by the publishing giant.
Hence it turns out that the phrase “we are going to start making games again” loosely translates into being “we are going to buy studios to start making games for us.” At least that is what can be interpreted following the news of this weekend that the 12 members of Campo Santo games have agreed on joining Valve. They all would be keeping their same jobs and continuing to work on their latest project, which is In the Valley of the Gods. Since Valve has not stated that they plan only to develop games for their own Steam PC platform, it cannot quite be readily assumed that this means that Valley no longer would be launching on consoles.
The thing that is interesting about the move is that Campo Santo appears to be one of those indie studios who could have continued on quite nicely without getting absorbed into a major publisher’s stable. The Firewatch was a great success for the small team and Valley already was getting a lot of positive attention. Then again, the indie scene could be tough and nobody could predict the future, so it could be surely told that Campo Santo had their reasons.
They, thankfully, dove into a few additional details in their announcement blog post. In accordance with the blog, the developer receives a huge deal of enjoyment out of all the fringe stuff that comes around with the developing their games, involving attending expos, putting out a quarterly literary journal, meeting fans, etc. The post stated that Valve, in that regard, was on the same page, making them an “obvious match.”
It turns out, on a more humorous note, that the Campo team was visiting IGN back in the year 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 the year 2011. The team stole it and consumed it a year later in the celebration of launching the Firewatch and, of course, they have got the pictures to prove it. Hence, in a way, it could be told, they kind of owed Valve one.
The final tidbit from the blog post is sort of more standard, giving an explanation that the two groups met and talked, decided they shared a lot of the same values, etc. and they are now all set to head to Bellevue in order to join Valve. Valley of the Gods still is on the way, only now as a Valve game and Firewatch would continue to receive support.
But now the question that remains is, whether following Valley of the Gods, Valve wants them to keep doing their own thing, or whether they brought them on with a particular project of their own in mind. All that is left to be done is to wait and watch what comes up next.