As part of the promotional cycle for the imminent release of Half-Life Alyx, Valve Founder Gabe Newell, and senior developer Robin Walker sat down for a meandering conversation that covers all sorts of areas about where Valve are at with regards to game development, game distribution, technology and business. It’s a wide-ranging interview that covers a lot of interesting subjects, and well worth checking out if you want to get a better insight into where Valve are at in 2020.
We get to hear some frank discussion about past Valve failures, like their Steam Machine initiative not landing as they hoped, and Artifact’s inability to maintain a solid player base. It sounds like their attitude is that it’s not the end of the world to have these failures, but that they hope to learn something from each of them and avoid repeating mistakes in the future.
They also tell stories of how their recruitment process has shifted somewhat in recent times. In the past, much of their crucial developer recruitment was focused on modders, people who had taken existing games and created something new within them. In contrast, now they tend to find these kinds of staff from the independent development community, where they look for people making entirely original games as small or even solo teams.
Gabe reveals his obsession with the future of game interfaces, and how he’s dreaming of making the sci-fi concept of a direct neural interface, a computer connecting directly to your brain, a reality. He sees present-day VR as one step on the path towards his dream of connecting directly with player’s minds.
It’s not often we get to hear this kind of open and relaxed conversation from the head of one of the biggest companies in gaming. While there’s a good chunk of the interview focused on promoting the upcoming release of Half-Life Alyx, there’s plenty of other topics covered too.