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‘Firewatch’ Developer Joins Creators of ‘Half-Life,’ Steam

Valve Corporation, the company behind gaming store and platform Steam as well as franchises as diverse as “Portal,” “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” and “Half-Life,” is now also home to “Firewatch” developer Campo Santo, according to a blog post on Campo Santo’s official site this weekend.

“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,'” according to the Saturday evening post. The group goes on to write that they found in Valve a company that shares their values and that the deal is an obvious match.

Campo Santo, which was formed in 2013 by Sean Vanaman, Jake Rodkin, Nels Anderson, and Olly Moss, will continue work on “In the Valley of Gods,” now as a Valve game, as well as continuing its support of “Firewatch” and producing its website “The Quarterly Review.” Besides developing “In the Valley of Gods,” Campo Santo is also working on porting “Firewatch” to the Nintendo Switch. “Firewatch,” which has players take on the role of a lone fire lookout stationed in the Shoeshone National Forest, is also currently in development as an action film that is being financed by Good Universe. Joseph Drake has signed on as producer.

The acquisition of Campo Santo comes at a time when Valve founder Gabe Newell has expressed interest in the company reigniting its game development. Recently Valve unveiled “Artifact,” a digital collectible card game based on its MOBA title “Dota 2.” At the time, Newell told press gathered for the unveiling that “we’re back to making and shipping games.”

You can read the full note below:

SAN FRANCISCO–LOS ANGELES–LONDON–SOMEWHERE IN NORTHERN ENGLAND—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.

If you’re the type of person who gives two flips about this news, we can elaborate a little bit on this big decision. First, we really like making video games. Furthermore, and perhaps more accurately, we really like making and producing entertainment. From the day-to-day production of our last game, Firewatch, to the way we run the company, make merchandise, meet players at expos and shows, send out a quarterly literary journal, throw open-to-the-public game demos in the middle of an artificial forest—all of it is geared towards surprising, delighting, and entertaining the customers who have shared in our success.

In Valve we found a group of folks who, to their core, feel the same way about the work that they do (this, you may be surprised to learn, doesn’t happen every day). In us, they found a group with unique experience and valuable, diverse perspectives. It quickly became an obvious match.

Second, while visiting IGN’s headquarters in early 2015 to talk about Firewatch, we came across an undelivered 2011 Game of the Year Award for Portal 2. It happened to be engraved on an unopened bottle of champagne. Never ones to pass up free alcohol, we stole it and drank it to celebrate the launch of Firewatch a year later. So in some sense, this is a return home for us. Well, for that bottle of champagne.

Third, and last, we had a series of long conversations with the people at Valve and everyone shared the satisfaction we take in working with people whose talents dwarf our own to make things we never thought possible. Both sides spoke about our values and how, when you get right down to it, we, as human beings, are hard-limited by the time we have left when it comes to making the things we care about and believe in. They asked us if we’d all be interested in coming up to Bellevue and doing that there and we said yes.

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.

—Campo Santo  

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