Yes, Valve Software, (now known as Valve Corporation), made great games. They made Half-Life, Portal and Team Fortress. They made CS:GO and Dota 2. But their corporate structure shot them into the foot. Let’s break it down. They never finished the Half-Life series. Their SteamOS flopped, the Steam Machine flopped, the Steam Controller flopped, VR flopped.. The only succesful thing they now have are Steam Sales. (Of which I am an avid customer of.)
I know, due to a page on their new website, that they are working on new games. And their corporate structure may be their greatest achievement, yet is is ineffcient, slow and, for my part, rather stupid. For those who don’t know. Here’S the deal: They do not have a boss. (GabeN is not the boss. Or others.) They work on what their employees desire. And they have tables with wheels to come and go and work and try new projects as they, well, desire.
Okay, okay. It may work. At least for Valve and their employees. Yet, it defies the thing the customer wants: Finished stories. (Or at least a sequel.) Their, or rather GabeN’s obession, with trying to make multiplayer games viable, cost them at least, (not money though), respect and credits of the industry and the gamers. Okay, okay. You may think: Who cares? But as an avid and vocal member of the community, I must say: No.
There is a rift we have to look at. One one hand: Do what the customers wants. One the other hand: Do what the studio wants. You can do it like EA or Ubisoft and flood the market with sequels and spin-off, or do it like Nintendo who do a new installment each four or five years to their respected franchises like Zelda or Mario. Whatever you may prefer: People at least get a finished product. People may not get what they want, (because Nintendo has their own mind and corporate structure), but the customer at least can be happily waiting for a new installment.
Yes, there is the elephant in the room: Episode 3. I don’t want to go into a rant of how and when and who and why. Let’s just say two things: Why start with episodes to ‘release faster’ but then cancelling the end? Second: Why not talking about in more than 11 years? Why not say: We are working on it. (But slow.) Or: We are not working on it. You won’t blow anyone away with it today. Half-Life 2 was a game of its time and era. Times have changed and so did the customer. Episode 3 is joke people make nowaways. It has become the new Duke Nukem: Forever. It may be released. But people will only care due to its ‘infamous’ status. Or maybe it will be a success. (I can’t predict the future.)
You managed to make multiplayer games a service. Good for you. Could you go back to making new games now? You are talented, smart and creative. You have unique and original ideas. Why waste all that? Why waste you employees life on things that won’t come into fruition? I am not here asking or ‘demanding’ new games. I am a gamer, and fan, and since all the other studios let me down as a gamer and fan; I hope you will release new games that will challenge the parameters and push the envelope on gaming.