After working for almost 18 years at the well-known game company, Half-Life’s co-creator and writer Mark Laidlaw has retired from Valve. As stated in an e-mail sent to a fan, he is no longer employed at the company and he does not take part in anything related to the inner workings of Valve anymore.
From this point onward, Mark states that he will return to writing sci-fi, leaving game production and everything associated with that process behind him. In regards to the reason behind his decision, he states that he no longer wished to take part in the chaos of game production, because it truly is a chaotic environment, in order to focus more on independent writing and self-directed projects.
It’s safe to say that the first things that pop into mind when hearing this news will be questions about the future of Half-Life 3, a game that has most assuredly become an internet meme by this point. Mark has claimed that he doesn’t know about the company’s plans in regards to the franchise’s future, having left the game behind him.
Half-Life 3 is viewed by many as a sort of ideal game, although no information regarding its features, launch date, character, story, gameplay elements, basically anything, has been released. It has become more of a joke in present times, especially if one would take into account that even the man behind it all, Gabe Newell, has actually claimed that he postpones the game’s launch every time he sees or hears “Half-Life 3 Confirmed!”.
Of course, Newell said that as a joke, but one has to bear in mind that even if the game will eventually release, its reception will be skewed massively by the staggering amount of hype the idea has gained since the last installment in the franchise. Half-Life 3 could very well be the best game of the year, receiving a perfect rating on all boards from game critics, although that is impossible, and fans will still complain about it.
In regards to Valve as a whole, it can be easily seen by anyone that the company no longer focuses of developing games. The last two games created and released by them were Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in 2012 and DOTA 2 in 2013. Valve’s focus has shifted from being a game developer towards maintaining their gaming platform, Steam, and creating new pieces of hardware and software, like the Steam Controller and Stem OS.
Although Half-Life’s co-creator and writer Mark Laidlaw has retired from Valve, the impact of this retirement on an alleged Half-Life 3 production cycle will be minimal to say the least. This is due to the fact that the writing side of game development, especially in regards to massive companies like Valve, is done by more than just one person. An additional factor would be that Half-Life’s story is not widely considered to be something exceptional that could rival, for instance, The Elder Scrolls or The Witcher series’ writing.