Valve + Looking Glass’ Doug Church = !!!!!!!!!!

By Alec Meer on March 17th, 2011 at 10:50 am.

He even plays Arkham Horror! Wuv you, Doug

Here’s some news for you. And not just news. NEWS. Valve Software have just hired a new employee. And not just a new employee. A NEW EMPLOYEE.

Doug Church. Doug ‘Thief’ Church. Doug ‘System Shock’ Church. Doug ‘Ultima Underworld’ Church. Doug ‘Deus Ex’ Church. Doug ‘helped (to varying degrees) design a good dozen of the most beloved PC games of all time’ Church.

And now he’s at Valve, who have themselves made several more of the most beloved PC games of all time. To don my Hat of Supreme Hyperbole for a moment, Elvis* has joined the Beatles.

Actually, Elvis is a pretty poor comparison, as Church famously shuns becoming a gaming celebrity (sorry, Doug). “Brian Eno has joined the Beatles” would be far more accurate, I suspect.

Alas, we have no idea what he’s working on there – Valve retain their favourite, famous habit of keeping cards glued firmly to chests.

Gamasutra found this scoop of scoops, with the only additional information being Valve talky-man Doug Lombardi confirming that Church has been with the studio for “a couple weeks,” but claiming he did not yet know which specific project he was on.

The only definitely confirmed Valve project at the moment (outside of the surely near-finished Portal 2) is DOTA 2, which doesn’t exactly fit with Church’s CV. Theoretically still in the works, though, is HL2: Episode 3, or HL3, or whatever it turns out to be. That could be a natural fit. Ideally though, I’d like to see Church able to run wild with his own world and ideas, much as applying his not inconsiderable PC gaming expertise to another beloved franchise is hugely appealing. Maybe he can do both! Cross-project collobaration does seem to be the Valve way, after all.

If you’re feeling worried that you’ve not heard of this Church egg before, don’t. While enormously respected, he has tended to shy from the limelight afforded to contemporaries and sometime colleagues such as Spector, Garriott, Levine, Smith et al. “Quietly getting on with great things” is probably the best way to describe his general stature. Here’s the full list of games he’s worked on, in case you’re not familiar with him. Try to pretend “Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This at Home” isn’t on it.

We’ve not seen much from him for a while, however – primarily because his last project, a Spielberg collobaration at EA, got tragically axed last year. Here’s what it might have looked like:

Boo. Grand to hear he’s landed somewhere excellent in the wake of its demise, and cannot wait to see what it results in.

*Coincidentally, while googling for images of Doug Church, the results were swamped by images of another man called Doug, who works in a church… as an Elvis impersonator. Spooks!

Creative Commons-tagged image above via Justin on Flickr.

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146 Comments »

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  1. Hoaxfish says:

    I hope he designs some really nice hats

  2. l1ddl3monkey says:

    This would be more enormous news if every statement Valve makes wasn’t overshadowed by that niggling doubt that they’re just stalling for time on Ep 3 (or more likely Half Life 3, by now).
    Basically my thought process went: That’s awesome, I’m a huge fan of stuff Doug has worked on. Bet this means Episode 3 will be even later now as they’re going to want Doug to work on it too.

    Or maybe he could take over flogging the Team Fortress horse for a bit.

    • coldvvvave says:

      I’m actually glad they are not rushing with HL3 or ep3 or whatever. By now HL2 gameplay is obsolete. I replayed it with Graphic update mod and it was boring, seriously boring, far less fresh than HL1. Still there is time left to improve, Valve did a great job rebuilding Team Fortress, hope they are still able to do something new. But they’ll have to do better than just adding iron sights.

    • iHavePants says:

      @coldvvvave

      Having replayed Half-Life 2 recently, I’ll have to respectively disagree with your opinion. There are a few control kinks that could be worked out, such as not having to select your grenades and crowbar separately before using them. Arguably they should add aiming down the sight controls as well, but those kinds of issues aren’t something that takes much development time to change.

      Where Half-Life 2(and Episode 2, not so much Episode 1) really stand out compared to 99% of most current FPS is their pacing. They’re not purely adrenaline soaked Michael Bay styled constant action set pieces one after another. They actually have high and low points, optional exploration even. Not every game needs or should be tailored to the same tune just because it is the current “standard”.

    • kyrieee says:

      I don’t think HL2 holds up well at all. The scripting bores me to death.
      Now, HL1 on the other hand, that one holds up much better.

    • bill says:

      I think it holds up pretty great. A lot better than some of it’s contemporaries. Pacing is awesome.

    • edit says:

      Interesting to hear that angle… I pretty much can’t bring myself to play through HL1 now. I know it too well and to my mind almost everything I love about it is captured and surpassed by HL2. Then again, I’ve played HL2 that many times I have close to the same problem with it. Episode 2 is still quite fresh to me though. The industry is moving so fast though that no matter how good, these things show their age.. My mind boggles thinking about current\next gen HL.

      Whenever a new game\episode is released, or after a long enough break, I tend to set aside some time and play through everything HL chronologically, and every time it reaffirms my belief that they are all fantastic games. Presumably if I hold off playing any of them (with the exception of Portal 2) until the next chapter of Half-Life arrives, I’ll be good for another marathon.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      VALVe have stated many times that the HL2 Episodes are effectively “HL3″ as they didn’t want to have to wait years making a whole new engine to finish telling the story.

      I’d be surprised if we ever see an actual Half-Life 3. I suspect Episode 3 will be the ending of the story. As their other releases show they’re not a one trick pony & probably have new stories they would like to tell & new worlds they’d like to set those stories in.

    • iHavePants says:

      “VALVe have stated many times that the HL2 Episodes are effectively “HL3″ as they didn’t want to have to wait years making a whole new engine to finish telling the story.”

      Yes but they also stated that before we went 3 years and counting in between episodes. Things have changed, and Valve are sure to have realised that. Even if the thing is still titled Episode 3, it will have to be essentially a full sequel to really satisfy their fanbase and validate the wait.

    • Urthman says:

      I’m assuming that Valve are not using all this time to make Episode 3 a Modern Warfare clone. Which means it’s going to be seriously weird to a lot of younger FPS players when it finally comes out:

      “What? You can carry 16 weapons at once? Where’s the cover button? Why does Freeman move so fast? Is he on roller skates? WHY ISN’T MY HEALTH REGENERATING?!!”

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      I replayed HL2 last year. It was brilliant.

      I intend to replay it again later this year. I have expectations it will be brilliant.

  3. Njordsk says:

    Nice curriculum vitae.

    • terry says:

      I’m wondering whether being known as Doug “Thief” Church is a good thing, frankly.

      Actually, I could get behind devs using gangland handles. Peter “Fable” Molyneux, Sid “Pirates” Meier, Ken “Bioshock” Levine.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Oh, come on now. Peter worked on Populus and was the lead design for Dungeon Keeper.

      Give the guy some credit.

    • jeremypeel says:

      In any case, Pete ‘Dungeon Keeper’ Molyneux would be a much more effective gangland handle.

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      Or perfectly fine as an S&M manwhore.

  4. Zinic says:

    It seems likely he might have been putting some finishing touches on Portal 2, though him working on Ep 3 or HL3 seems more likely.

    But who knows, maybe he’s actually really into DoTA?

    • skinlo says:

      Portal 2 is finished, it has already gone gold.

    • limbclock says:

      Yeah, i saw that it’s done, and it’s now been passed to Certification.

  5. DanPryce says:

    That’s a good thing. I look forward to his input on Fart Cops.

  6. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    whatever it (it’s something new btw) it’ll be amazing!

  7. MadTinkerer says:

    “The only definitely confirmed Valve project at the moment (outside of the surely near-finished Portal 2) is DOTA 2, which doesn’t exactly fit with Church’s CV. Theoretically still in the works, though, is HL2: Episode 3, or HL3, or whatever it turns out to be.”

    Actually, Counterstrike 2 has been mentioned in a few interviews, though apparently it’s probably even further off than Ep3/HL3 and definitely not before DOTA2.

    There are also suspicions of some kind of procedurally generated FPS using the Source engine in the works. Nothing concrete, but things like the procedural elements of L4D 1&2, the map generator in Alien Swarm, Valve offering Notch a job last year, etc. WILD GUESS: It would be the best thing ever if Doug Church was on that team.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      Also a big update to L4D2 with the last campaigns for L4D1 added, as well as a selection of the best community created campaigns, which they said will arrive once they have gotten Portal 2 out of the door.

    • markcocjin says:

      They’ve already offered Notch a job and he’s turned it down. Also turned down putting Minecraft on Steam. He no longer needs Valve being a big boss himself. And he’s also rich from all that nerd money.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I think what he’s saying is that the fact they offered him the job shows that they’re interested in procedural technology.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Mmm procedurally-generated FPS with a creamy, atmospheric Doug Church centre. That would be delicious.*

      What a ruddy waste it would be to put creamy Doug Church on something as fixed and uninnovative as Counterstrike 2, though. Not that I’m doubting Valve’s abilities in producing a sequel, far from it – but they’re good enough to know what a Counterstrike game has to be. It’d be like throwing Warren Spector onto the Starcraft 2 team (but somehow not quite like hiring Leonard Boyarsky of Troika to work on Diablo 3 – we’ll see about that one).

      *I suppose cakes are sort of procedurally-generated – all the elements are mixed and placed randomly. It’s just that the elements are usually all similar enough for the effect to be even. In fact, I suspect it’s not even worth bringing up. Sorry.

    • Zogtee says:

      “It’d be like throwing Warren Spector onto the Starcraft 2 team…”

      No, it’d be like having Warren Spector do a Mickey Mouse ga… Hey, wait a minute.

  8. JohnnyMaverik says:

    WHY DID THEY AXE THAT GAME… why? :'(

    Looking forward to seeing what he gets up to with Valve, although I imagine it could well be a couple of years before we ever find out.

  9. gorgol says:

    ZOMG! Nice!

  10. Premium User Badge

    Colthor says:

    Someone who designs interesting games working for someone who makes polished games? Could be awesome.

    You should do a post every time Valve get a new employee. Any employee.
    “Doris Hawthorne, 57, is the new part-time cleaner at Valve HQ. She likes bingo and spending time with her two young grandchildren, and promises not to unplug anything important when hoovering the server room.”

    • nuh uh no way says:

      Yeah! I love stereotyping people and professions!

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Turns out Doris is also in charge of getting Episode 3 done on time… but it’s quite low on her priority list.

    • Bullwinkle says:

      Yes, if there’s one thing we must avoid, it’s stereotyping.

      “Doris Hawthorne, 57, is the new part-time cleaner at Valve HQ. She likes welding sheet metal and annexing the Suedetenland, and promises not to unplug anything important when hoovering the server room.”

      Much more realistic.

    • Berzee says:

      Also she is a buffalo.

    • adonf says:

      “Valve hires British janitor” is an article I would read.

    • Muzman says:

      Don’t forget
      “…and it’s also just a matter of time before she’s writing dialogue for the Heavy, providing additional voice work for the Witch and playtesting Ep 3″

  11. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    On the other hand, the Beatles had a steady stream of semi-annual album releases.

    Zing!

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Actually, 2002 and 2010 were the only years Valve didn’t release any games.

      Just saying.

    • karthink says:

      You forget Alien Swarm (2010).

    • Bhazor says:

      That’s a period of EIGHT YEARS.
      That’s a pretty long period for a developer let alone publisher.

    • markcocjin says:

      So who’s gonna be the Yoko Ono of Valve then?

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      No Bhazor that’s 2 years, 8 years apart.

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      I don’t know what I’m saying!

      Forget what I’m saying!

    • Bhazor says:

      … I knew that.

      Though reading through their release lists it’s notable how many were outsourced or done with a partner (Left 4 Dead and Alien Swarm) . Another healthy batch of their products have been gussied up premium mods ( Counter Strike, Team Fortress, Day of Defeat) made by the people who made the original mod.

      Really I’d argue the only proper Valve releases are those made purely by the actual team and not bought by Valve half way through development. Which is basically just the Half Life series and maybe Portal as Nerbacular Drop was entirely seperate to the final game. So hey it *was* 8 years between the two Half Lifes.

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      frymaster says:

      er, neither tf2 or CSS were “bought half way through development”. The CS and TFC teams became part of Valve long before HL2 came out. (I have no personal knowledge of DOD:S)

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Another healthy batch of their products have been gussied up premium mods ( Counter Strike, Team Fortress, Day of Defeat) made by the people who made the original mod.

      What is this I don’t even

      Newsflash: contrary to popular belief Half-Life wasn’t VALVe’s first game. Guess you never heard of QuakeWorld Team Fortress?

    • Thants says:

      @Malibu Stacey: I don’t understand what you mean. Team Fortress Classic is a gussied-up version made by the people who made the original mod, working for Valve. Just like he said.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      TF2 wasn’t, though…

  12. Dozer says:

    That video – the first fifteen seconds, is the protagonist training the woman how to smell roses? Because that’s what it looks like. ‘Help the extra-terrestrial River Tam assimilate into Earth Human life.’

    • Dozer says:

      And having read the article Alec linked to relating to that game, that is exactly what is going on. Except she’s not extra-terrestrial.

  13. nuh uh no way says:

    reply fail.

    Anyway. It’s a shame whatever game that was got axed. That clip gave me chills! The good kind, even!

  14. Premium User Badge

    VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    He’s only in the “Special Thanks” of Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This at Home. Honestly, I’m not sure if that pleases me or disappoints me :)

    • adonf says:

      The “Backyard” games were not bad, considering that they were aimed at children and published by Infogrames (two good reasons for them to be rubbish)

      edit: wrong “Backyard” series, sorry…

    • kalidanthepalidan says:

      Hahahaha! My siblings played those backyard sports games growing up. The thought of a wrestling game is the greatest thing ever. Quick… what are other sports that would be delightfully bizzare/inappropriate for the backyard sports series? Boxing? Polo?

  15. Item! says:

    I see the marvellous Terra Nova (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_Nova:_Strike_Force_Centauri) is on his CV amongst the other, numerous gems.

    Where is our Terra Nova retrospective eh RPS?

    eh?

    eh?

    • Moraven says:

      yes yes and more yes. Great classic.

    • Weylund The Second says:

      Agreed. One of the best games I’ve played. I still have fond memories of it.

    • yourgrandma says:

      Awesome name and a awesome game.

    • Navagon says:

      Outstanding game! So much more could have been learned from it by the industry. It’s a shame more attention wasn’t paid to it at the time.

      A true to the original remake or at least a high resolution patch would be greatly appreciated.

  16. Navagon says:

    This is awesome news! While I seem to be the only person that was happy the Spielberg project was canned (seriously that is NOT the direction I want the industry to be heading in at all) I’m sure the guy could do wonderful things at Valve given that it’s a company that recognises that games should be bloody games, not barely interactive short films.

  17. karry says:

    “Here’s the full list of games he’s worked on, in case you’re not familiar with him. ”

    And that list tells me what exactly ? Nothing at all. How do you discern who was responsible for what amount of final product without actually being there at the time, ALL the time ? The only way you can be REALLY sure who did what – is when there is a one-man-team which subcontracts assets while not giving subcontractors any possibility of creative input.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      No, it tells you that he has worked on the design elements of some of the greatest games of all time.

    • Alec Meer says:

      It’s amazing that one short link doesn’t provide all the documentation there is about his work, isn’t it? Amazing.

    • Muzman says:

      And the cinematographer might take home the BAFTA for shots from a day when the director was pointing the camera, or second unit work.
      What’s karry’s point, I wonder?

    • Urael says:

      Karry doesn’t have a point. His only purpose for visiting is to snark and Troll. I’ve called him out a couple of times but he’s not one for checking back or responding to folk.

      If you have a Ban-Hammer handy, lads….

    • briktal says:

      Well he has credits for: Programming, Lead Programmer/Design, Project Leader/Lead Programmer, Programming, Programming, Additional Programming Support, Himself, Programming, Engine Programmer, Special Thanks (Additional Programming and Design Input), Synth and Related Playstation®2 Voodoo, Thanks To, Special Thanks, Special Thanks, Special Thanks, Special Thanks, Development Special Thanks, Original Design [in the Audio section], Special Thanks, Discussion and Playtest, Additional Production, Development Team Special Thanks, Student Team Advisor.

      This is according to the credits thing on MobyGames. It’s pretty much been “Special Thanks” since about 2000. How are you supposed to figure out what he did from that?

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      There’s a lot of that going around these parts recently Urael not just from that one poster.. I suspect the reason you don’t get a reply when you call him on it is because he has no valid response.

    • Berzee says:

      However, if he’s never used the term “ban hammer” then he’s still a few steps up the ladder of civilization. o_O

    • Urael says:

      Why do people keep saying “special thanks” like it’s some kind of consolation prize? Doesn’t the word ‘special’ mean, well, special? I’d rank special thanks, being singled out for singular recognition, as above yer basic, regular thanks?

      Yoo guyz’r weerd.

      Agreed, Malibu Stacey. We Must Remain Vigilant.

      Berzee: I do not recognise the validity of your judgement of linguistic superiority. “Ban Hammer” is an awesome phrase than only enriches and esteems those who use it. :)

    • Josh W says:

      I’d love to be the special thanks of a games company; just breeze around with a long empty coffee cup in hand, causually chatting to stressed programmers and designers and turning their ideas upside down, putting in little pieces of advice, and occasionally rushing off to a dark room somwhere to make strange prototypes. It’d be great!

      Also unbelievably hard!

  18. Robert says:

    I’m not too sure what to think of it.

    I see Valve as a company that makes mods into games, whilst abandoning the originals. So I can’t see him working on something new. Here’s hoping for a Thief-ish mod going stand-alone!

    • iHavePants says:

      What about that whole, Half-Life series thing they did a while back?

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      And that “Team Fortress” malarkey they created back in 1996.
      Oh and something called “Left 4 Dead” sounds familiar but I don’t know where from.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      Both Team Fortress and L4D have their roots tied to previous mods. It’s true that the only games Valve have ever put out that isn’t in some way tied to a mod or freeware release has been the games from the Half-Life series.

      Not that there’s anything wrong with that… there isn’t.

    • Robert says:

      “Team Fortress was designed and written by Robin Walker, John Cook and Ian Caughley in 1996. The mod’s gameplay has caught on with a large following of fans, which has spurred many developers to create similar gamemodes on other engines. In August 1999, after the development team was hired by Valve,”

      “Left 4 Dead is a cooperative survival horror first-person shooter video game. It was developed by Turtle Rock Studios, which was purchased by Valve Corporation during development.”

      Half-Life 1, 2, and ep1&2(&3) are their own yes, but I believe my remark was well-grounded.

    • Thants says:

      Valve created Team Fortress? Check your facts, good Sir.

  19. HexagonalBolts says:

    All film makers and game makers seem to have a bizarre and completely out of character “Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This at Home” type work

  20. Alexander Norris says:

    He’s not nearly as dreamy or hunkish as Ken Levine.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Also his eyes appear to be “peering eyes” rather the infamous “staring eyes” of Levine.

    • Premium User Badge

      Man Raised by Puffins says:

      @ Alexander Norris: What are you talking ab… *swoon*

    • terry says:

      Petition to add “strategic peering” to the RPS tag lexicon.

  21. Subject 706 says:

    Great! Now make a new Thief-like game Valve, one that won’t be like that pale shadow my cynical mind tells me EIDOS are making.

    • markcocjin says:

      Ass Creed is the new Thief and Prince of Persia.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      Thief > Prince of Persia > Ass Creed

      Innovation is a lie, please turn off your computers, the revolution has been cancelled.

      Disclaimer: I have no idea what I’m talking about either.

    • Gravy says:

      @markcocjin GTFO right now. Don’t put Assassins Creed in the same sentence. As the Thief series.

    • Subject 706 says:

      @markcocjin
      Kill yourself with a blunt spoon! NOW NOW DO IT NOW!

    • Wulf says:

      Assassin’s Creed lacks a great number of things that made both Prince of Persia and Thief great, though. In Prince of Persia, I couldn’t just spam a button to clamber skillfully everywhere like I found I could in AC, Mirror’s Edge was frankly much better about actually allow enough control to let you fail occasionally than AC was/is. Another important difference was that my favourite aspects about Thief were stealing things from right under someone’s nose without being detected, and finishing the game without killing anyone, and neither of those delights are available in AC.

      So I have to disagree. From a personal perspective at least, AC pales in comparison to both Prince of Persia and the Thief games, for the parts that it tries to replicate. I’d rather have a new Prince of Persia game (done properly), and a new Thief game (done properly).

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      I think the AssCreed series is plenty entertaining. I don’t see why that can’t be enough.

    • Madlukelcm says:

      AssCreed sounds like something I would most certainly not put onto a sandwich. Just saying.

  22. Yor Fizzlebeef says:

    Based on the image presented in the article, I have convinced myself that he must be working on a computer game version of the Arkham Horror boardgame…

    A man can dream… A man can dream.

    • Chris D says:

      I’m hoping I’m not the only one who saw this and thought “Some game guy is working for Valve, that’s nice. OOOH! Arkham Horror!”

    • Deano2099 says:

      Nope, me too :D

    • d32 says:

      Heh, me three.
      Have to play this weekend!

    • Warth0g says:

      Me four… God I’d love a decent PC version of Arkham Horror

    • mbourgon says:

      Ditto to the Arkham Horror comments. And FWIW, there’s an iOS game – not related to FF, but there are gameplay similarities. Necronomicon Horror. There’s an iPhone version out, and they’re currently working on an iPad version. Surprisingly fun, though with less of the emergent story that AH winds up with.

  23. JackShandy says:

    It seems like a really weird choice. Valve’s games are always incredibly focused on delivering a single amazing experience – I can’t see non-linearity ever entering the discussion. Even the multiplayer stuff like left for dead does as much as possible to squash emergent gameplay. How does this fit in? Hm.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      They have in their core titles, perhaps, but most of their associate titles have been a lot less scripted and focused.

      Perhaps they’re looking to diversify their story mechanics.

    • bilharzia says:

      The connection with Valve is the character-interaction work done on the EA project.

  24. starclaws says:

    Commence creating of gaming pr0n for the eyeballs. This may be the next great milestone in gaming.

  25. Muzman says:

    I think he used to be in The Velvet Underground actually. And now he’s joining… Pink Floyd, maybe?

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      Johnny Marr joining Modest Mouse.
      Or Keith Levene joining PIL.
      Or Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joining Fleetwood Mac.

      And that’s all I got. Thanks for playing!

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      It’s Dave Navarro joining the Foo Fighters.

  26. Bhazor says:

    Deus Ex? Huh?
    He only got a “Special thanks to” for that and indeed half the games listed. The only lead roles I can see are for Ultima Underworld 1 and System Shock.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Hence ‘helped to’.

    • Wizardry says:

      Only? Those two games are both better than anything Valve have ever made. Therefore this must certainly be a good thing for Valve.

    • Muzman says:

      That is almost a story in itself isn’t it. How his resume doesn’t exactly paint a meteoric rise to game design majesty (from memory his credit on Thief was ‘…and Doug Church as Himself’). Doesn’t appear to be the major creative force like a writer or project lead. He’s not a gaming celebrity, in other words. But loads of people who’ve worked with him paint him as an utterly instrumental jack of all trades who can’t help but lift a project.

    • John P says:

      Doug Church has been central to the Looking Glass legacy, and people who’ve worked with him often call him a genius and so forth, but there’s no need to exaggerate on top of that. I mean, John “Deus Ex” Romero doesn’t look quite right, yet he got a special thanks on that game too.

    • Muzman says:

      No but it’s a bit easier to guess at Romero’s involvement since he founded the studio that made the game.

      Overstating Church’s legacy probably is a mistake, but we are told that it’s regularly (very) understated so what are ya gonna do

    • HilariousCow says:

      Yep. I’ve heard he really keeps himself to himself as far as publicity goes, and doesn’t really like trying for that power creative thing. So that we’ve heard of him at all, and how well people talk of him is testament to the fact that we should probably care about this, at least a bit.

  27. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Who? Valve? Never heard of ‘em! :P

  28. Freud says:

    Clearly he was hired to make wacky hats for TF2.

  29. markcocjin says:

    I’m not impressed. It seems Valve has failed once again failed to lure Cliff Blezinsky into their offices.
    We’ll just have to settle with this “Poor Man’s Dude Huge”.
    There’s a severe lack of chunky big footed characters in Valve games.

  30. Berzee says:

    I only knew about this guy because that Memory Castle article made me go read a bunch of stuff about Ultimate Underworld 2. Hooray!

  31. adonf says:

    I’m betting on a social game integrated in Facebook, with micropayments. So if I lose I won’t really mind.

  32. Huw_Dawson says:

    This was a triumph.

    (Seriously though, Valve hiring game devs is probably a good thing, because Valve make good games and carrying on making good games means I still am happy to love then unreservedly.)

  33. mod the world says:

    He was hired to make L4D 3 a “completely new game”.

  34. stkaye says:

    Hmm. Someone who has contributed to every ‘free will’ game out there, joining the developers who have perfected the ‘determinist’ genre. I wonder how these fundamentally different gaming traditions will mesh? Does this signal that Valve is looking into more open world, Immersive Sim type stuff?

  35. nemooo says:

    Good NEWS. But which boardgame is he playing on the picture above?

  36. Fumarole says:

    A Valve RPG maybe?

  37. Hoaxfish says:

    Okay, here’s my guess:

    A post-cyberpunk setting in which the player must seek out a conspiracy involving a demon-worship cult, who have managed to summon real demons into the world and are abducting citizen.

    The player will not be able to out-gun most opponents, but must use stealth (true stealth such as hiding behind pillars, and walking softly, not “magic” invisibility) and gadgets to imprison, kill, or knock-out various people (and later demons, culminating in a scenario involving a giant mad AI cyborg Demon hyrbid-thingy)

    Part of the combat system will allow you to bodyslam cultists who you manage to lure into the backyard.

  38. stele says:

    Great! Now all we have to do is wait 3-7 years for his next game to come out! Go Valve!

  39. angrycoder says:

    Half Life: The Facebookening confirmed.

  40. Metonymy says:

    You mentioned four “great” PC games, but lets also be completely honest, these are four games that took a pure fps format, and crippled them with elements that make them no longer easily accessible for the average gamer.

    Thief: ultra slow-paced, arbitrary stealth algorithm
    Ultima Underworld: horrible, unfixable control method
    System Shock: opaque interface
    Deux Ex: story heavy, game itself not that great.

    Now I’m not trying to be negative. I just hope that if they are making a game like this, they also grab someone who knows how to make an accessible game, that most people are able to enjoy. Can an average gamer enjoy the four games listed above? Of course they can, but why would they, when better interfaces are available in games like Fallout 3, WoW, Zelda games, real FPS games, etc.

    • Wizardry says:

      This comment could potentially do its job .

      *grabs popcorn*

    • Alec Meer says:

      You know what he’s doing. Don’t feed him.

    • Premium User Badge

      RQH says:

      But I bought six bags of this stuff at Costco. Now what am I supposed to do with it?

    • Wizardry says:

      It’s not really feeding him when we know who each other are. More of an alert to others who could quite easily be taken in by this, while at the same time achieving the goal of not causing as great a rift in our… “relationship”.

      It’s a very fine balancing act you see. This line of commenting is now, rightfully, dead in the water.

    • Metonymy says:

      I meant what I said.

      It’s kind of like that woman writer who says we should be allowed to skip the action sequences and view only the story elements. It’s such a bizarre view (that the skill test should be ignored, and the completely arbitrary-and usually terrible-story take priority) that it sounds like she’s just trying to stir up trouble.

      Of course she is, because she really believes what she’s saying, and ‘trouble’ or ‘trolling’ is the only way to bring it to people’s attention, after they have become so set in their ways.

      Games like Dragon Age have unacceptably bad control methods. Sure, some people have gotten used to that level of quality. But others, like myself, realize that WoW is now the industry standard for first-person or third-person RPGs. It has to be this good, or your average 16 year old with money to burn isn’t going to bother with it.

      If you don’t want to believe that, or comment on it, then don’t!

    • stele says:

      I was about to offer you a nice snack, then decided against it.

    • Muzman says:

      There’s nothing arbitrary about Thief’s stealth

    • Voxel_Music_Man says:

      Tip:
      Read ‘accessible’ as ‘dumbed down.’

      What a terrible shame that possibly THE best four games of all time zoomed over your head at supersonic speeds. The world must very a very confusing place for you.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      I burst out laughing when he mentioned WoW’s controls, so I had a hard time taking the rest of it seriously.

  41. Harpsichord says:

    It’s obvious from that picture– he’s working on Valve’s co-op FPS adaptation of Arkham Horror.

    In my dreams.

  42. Jambe says:

    Time to fire up the Totally Baseless Speculation Machine.

    *engine can be heard turning over in background*

  43. HilariousCow says:

    Wow, this is great news! Doug has probably been the single most influential designer on me, and I’ve never even met him.

    I guess when he wrote about Formal Abstract Design Tools and notions like perceivable consequence, it caught me at a very impressionable age. It kind of broke the way I thought about game design, and made me really take it seriously.

    Him plus Valve is a huge deal.

    Congrats, Doug! Can’t wait to see what happens!

  44. Soon says:

    Maybe he’ll be able to steer Valve to creating something I want to play now. Which I mean in the nicest possible way, as I do like Valve. Personal game taste.

  45. Ziv says:

    I guess, that from what I read of other guys who work at Valve, that he’s probably not assigned to anything yet, they just wanted the talent and now he’s probably hovering from one place to another (except for the stainless steel locked door that has EP3 concept art).

  46. hocevar says:

    Oh Valve, what would we do without you ?

    * tf2 hats jokes bellow warning *