Not many video game houses inspire dedicated fan sites. Fewer still can lay claim to a spy ring all their own. Valve Corporation, it transpires, has both. Part studio, part publisher, part tight-lipped purveyor of mystery, the company that brought us Steam, Half-Life and Portal 2 must now endure a near-Orwellian level of internet surveillance. One website in particular, a certain ‘Valvetime.net,’ delved deeper than most this past Wednesday to uncover an alleged cache of internal company memos. So what do these supposed staff chats reveal?
Stored on project management forum JIRA, the in-house archive recently glitched itself public, disclosing a bounty of company-wide correspondence in the process. While no actual chatter appears to have been unearthed in the leak, the data does include a plethora of ‘tickets’, or topic listings made by employee users.
Hidden in amongst the likes of ‘Pub Trivia’, ‘Racquetball’ and ‘Coffee’ entries are a number of tantalizing and instantly familiar titles, from ‘Half-Life 3’ to ‘SteamBox’ & ‘Source 2’. Further listings include — ‘Return to Havenholm;’ a nod to Half-Life 2’s ghoul-ridden township (and pants-filling terror), ‘Episode 3 movie;’ an unlikely place to kick off HL’s cinematic tie-in and quite possible Jedi-related, ‘SteamMMO;’ perhaps a PS Home-like service to Valve’s popular download service, and ‘Left 4 Dead 3;’ the latest entry in the gore-splattered shooter franchise. Completely unknown entities also appear in the form of ‘Stars of Blood,’ ‘Cries Unheard,’ Microbe Wars,’ and ‘The Grange’.
The archive, updated as recently as March of this year, (new employee Paul Pepera is listed) also appears to go back some way, given the amount of former staff members and completed games it contains. The makeup of these long-since finished titles ought to give us some clue as to the readiness of their long-awaited successors. For example, whereas ‘Left 4 Dead 2’ (listed here as L4D2) receives a myriad of discipline-specific subgroups, its successor only displays three – ‘L4D3,’ ‘Developers’ & ‘Audio’. The situation for Half-Life 3 appears less promising by comparison; with a 42-person strong mailing list confined to just one general discussion thread.
So, has Valve emigrated to a new internal forum? Is the super secret ‘Half-Life 3’ project listed under a clever set of pseudonyms, or is it just confined to development infancy? Where are the third outings for Portal and Team Fortress? Check out the 791 projects for yourself and tell us if you think the list is legit.
Keep your eyes locked on Game Rant for news on Valve‘s upcoming titles.