Clint Hocking Is Now At Valve And Has Taken A Photo

By Adam Smith on July 12th, 2012 at 10:11 am.

The internet has decided that a picture on Clint Hocking’s twitter feed of his son at Valve’s industrial heart is confirmation that the Far Cry 2 designer is now absolutely definitely working for the Half Life honchos and most probably turning Episode Three into a work of divisive genius that throws out the baby and the bathwater, and then replaces them with something far more awesome than a tiny, dirty human. Maybe he’s just consulting, maybe he’s visiting a friend, but as he left his post at Lucasarts a couple of weeks back for “something new” the internet may well be right on this one. So, Clint Hocking is now lead designer of all development at Valve.

I’m excited by this because I like it when there are lots of brilliant people under one roof and, whatever you might think about Far Cry 2, you’re at least a bit wrong and my view that it’s two shades short of a masterpiece is more accurate.

The concern is, if he didn’t complete a project in his time at Lucasarts, how long will he have to work in Valve time to deliver the goods?

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91 Comments »

  1. mistwolf says:

    Clearly he was hired to work on Half Life Episode 3

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      Seriously unless Valves propaganda was total bs, they didn’t hire him to work on anything, they hired him because he’s good & he’ll work on whatever he wants.

    • Screamer says:

      So endless re-spawning enemies in half-life 3 then….

      also….”So, Clint Hocking is now lead designer of all development at Valve.”

      I thought every Valve employee hums “nobody is the boss of me” while quietly doing their own thing. Who is he going to “lead”?

      • F. Lynx Pardinus says:

        “HL3: The Return to Xen” – Gordon is sent to Xen to kill the G-Man. Xen is in a state of endless war between the Combine and Race-X, each of whom has set up endlessly respawning checkpoints across the open-world, low-gravity planet.

      • zeroskill says:

        “also….”So, Clint Hocking is now lead designer of all development at Valve.”

        I thought every Valve employee hums “nobody is the boss of me” while quietly doing their own thing. Who is he going to “lead”?” -Screamer

        Facepalm’ed so hard, multiple times.

      • roryok says:

        Without those endlessly respawning checkpoints, it would have been a driving game. They needed to throw enemies at the players en-route to objectives in order to make it more interesting. The problem was that the checkpoints were full of completely psychopaths that attacked you for no reason. It didn’t fit with the story of the game. A prime example of LUDONARRATIVE DISSONANCEohsnap

        • Mistabashi says:

          Didn’t you listen to the mission briefing? He couldn’t tell his men not to kill the mercenary he’d just hired and paid up-front with diamonds to carry out a vital task, because it was a secret for some reason…

        • circadianwolf says:

          I realize no one who makes these comments is likely interested in actually discussing it, but it’s not ludonarrative dissonance because the experience of Far Cry 2 is not interested in the logistical realities of being a mercenary in a war-torn African nation but in the emotional sensations of being a mercenary in a war-torn African nation, to wit: everyone constantly tries to kill you, even “your” side; guns and equipment are constantly breaking down; you’re constantly sick and nearly dying; your efforts will only ever result in window-dressing changes; etc. It’s an impressionistic game, driven by the emotional effects (= frustration) of its mechanics, which is something every game should do but very few do (beyond “it should be fun!”).

          Also, the checkpoints aren’t there to make the game interesting by way of the player shooting them (that’s boring and tedious), they’re there to encourage the player to avoid the checkpoints and use alternate routes.

          • Resonance says:

            Funny, for a moment I kinda believed the bullshit – good job.

          • roryok says:

            just because it’s not interested in the ‘logistical realities’ of being a mercenary doesn’t mean it has no story. There is a story in FarCry, and the checkpoints do not fit in with it. Two factions control the country according to the story, but the checkpoints are just a bunch of psychopaths with no affiliation.

            Also, I dispute your thesis that the checkpoints are there to make you find an alternate way around. Although they are a pain, they are never enough of a challenge to warrant going the long way around. They are there simply to make the driving sections less boring. The scenery is wonderful and all that, but you’d tire of it fairly fast.

          • DrGonzo says:

            Those are lazy excuses for a lazy game.

          • Schmitzkater says:

            It even shows you how everyone supposes the checkpoints would work in the game’s fantastic intro sequence in which the taxi driver takes you through one of them, without any unnecessary bloodshed.

          • Josh W says:

            I suspect they’d have got a lot more mileage out of that if you went slow through checkpoints, they’d have a random chance of either letting you through or demanding something you don’t (and can’t) have, thus starting a fight.

            That would keep the feel without dissolving it into the impression of rubbish AI:

            Game designers seeking an impression must first get you to believe in the world, otherwise the impression of playing a game overwhelms it, so any mechanic that seems conspicuously gamey will need something else to ground it.

        • Phantoon says:

          Fucking ludo.

      • HisMastersVoice says:

        We’re good as long as he stays clear of checkpoints and jams…

  2. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Agreed.

  3. nasKo says:

    He was there throw his complaint into Gabe’s face, personally, because he is just as mad about the lack of a Summer Sale (yet) like the rest of us.

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      The rest of us are mad about the “lack” of a sale? The rest of us need some patience.

    • Aemony says:

      If you didn’t hear: summer sale begins this evening.

      A dev on the Steam forums slipped his tongue a week ago, then the post was removed and the thread locked and all kinds of mysterious stuff happened.

      So it’s all but confirmed.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        The developer has not been seen since. Reports that he was disguised as a pile of Australium ingots and smuggled aboard a rocket in a suitcase and fired into space have been firmly denied by Mr. Newell and Mr. Walker.

      • Nevard says:

        Was the developer who let slip Clint Hocking

    • Lowthor says:

      We’re mad? I’m grateful I don’t have that tempting feast of discounts harassing my bank balance.

  4. terry says:

    I am excited for him, Valve is an excellent match for his skills and I can’t wait to see what develops from this.

  5. Lacobus says:

    Far Cry 2 has some amazing bits, but i just wished the enemies WOULDNT TRY AND KILL ME ALL THE TIME FROM FUCKING MILES AWAY. They were totally psycho for an open world game.

  6. HexagonalBolts says:

    I tried as hard as I could to like Far cry 2 but it just never felt like it amounted to anything more than a painfully repetitive awkward hollow-feeling sandbox.

    BUT one man doth not make a AAA game.

    • hello_mr.Trout says:

      also, the storyline was cheesy! after the player character spends the game murdering thousands of people in pursuit of an evil arms-dealing terrorist, you both team up to save a bunch of refugees, and then the game ends with the death of the player! like some kind of retconned ‘heart of darkness: lite’ edition :/

      • phuzz says:

        SPOILERS

        Well, there was a choice of who dies, you or the arms dealer, but yes, they were going for that Heart of Darkness type vibe.

      • Askeladd says:

        A heart of darkness kinda story is really hard to pull off, because you need to feel attached to the story to make it work.
        In a game like Walking Dead it could work.

        • DrGonzo says:

          I’m half enjoying the Walking Dead. But I don’t feel attached to the story at all. Partly because it’s at times mind numbingly slow. But mainly because I’m unable to do what I want to do, and am left out of the loop of the story because of dodgy camera angles. Would have been much improved by being an over the shoulder camera angle.

  7. Mr. Mister says:

    Waiting for half-life euler: doesn’t get to 3, but is more related to the title.

  8. Jimbo says:

    Gaben just really liked the machete in Far Cry 2.

  9. Bharg says:

    Didn’t Far Cry 2 fail and fall flat on its face?

    • Jimbo says:

      No. Imagine the opposite of what you just said – that’s what it did.

    • Dominic White says:

      A massive critical and commercial success, and probably one of my favourite shooters, in terms of pure core gameplay. The open-world stuff was largely just padding and window dressing, but the actual running around and shooting stuff was really, really good.

      So yeah, like Bioshock it’s the worst thing ever and nobody who worked on it will ever be respected again.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Yes and no. It was a bit Molyneux (very ambitious and potentially interesting ideas and features that don’t actually add much to what ends up being a mediocre game at best) but it was hugely successful. So I guess it depends on whether you think Spore was a failure or a success, for example.

  10. Craig Pearson says:

    Who cares about Far Cry 2? Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, people!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aM3Cl5wBgNU

  11. Hypernetic says:

    Dear Adam,

    This is not how Valve time works. Clint shall complete his first project at Valve within one week of being officially hired.

    Signed,

    The God of Space-time.

  12. AmateurScience says:

    Of course, if he has joined valve and he does choose to wheel his desk over to the empty corner of the room where Half Life 3 was being developed, that kinda means we’re looking at 3-4 years before we get anything we can actually play, maybe longer.

  13. Shadrach says:

    Please RPS, less posts about what people in the industry are doing and more posts about games. You don’t want the site to turn into *ugh* … Edge, do you?

    • Wisq says:

      I love it when people want RPS to ignore legit pieces of PC gaming news because they’re tired of seeing that particular news type. Especially when they do it in the article comments for one of the articles they’re tired of seeing.

      Are the headlines misleading? Were you sucked in to reading this article despite your apparent complete lack of interest in it? Do you think that this tiny 3-paragraph article cost RPS so much time that they could’ve reveiewed a game or two in the time it took to toss this online for anyone who might be interested?

      Someday, we’ll have crazy pseudo-AIs that can filter all our news sources down to just the things that are particularly relevant to our specific worldview. Until then … suck it up, buttercup. Skip the article and move on.

    • bill says:

      WTF? Turning into edge would be rather cool. RPS meets edge would be the best thing ever. It’d be all the good crazy articles from RPS mixed in with actual, you know, depth and journalism. And hopefully without all the filler “some game has released something but i haven’t played it and don’t know anything about it” posts.

    • bear912 says:

      I found this news extremely relevant to my interests, and your comment extremely irrelevant. Carry on, Castle Shotgun. Carry on.

    • Phantoon says:

      If making the site into EDGE would make people that’ve been here for a week that complain everything go away, yes.

      I’d be fine with that.

    • bear912 says:

      To be fair, it would have made a better article if it had been confirmed that Hocking was actually hired by Valve, but it seems clear that he’s at least interviewing there.

  14. thegooseking says:

    Clint Hocking should not work on games.

    He should, instead, invent a device that reaches through the internet and punches people who incorrectly use the term “ludonarrative dissonance” (which he coined) in the face.

    Then he can go back to making games, I guess.

    • roryok says:

      perhaps he’s already done this. The only way we’ll know is if you use that phrase incorrectly right now. Go!

      • SanguineAngel says:

        I went to the supermarket and picked up a ludonarrative dissonance from the pharmaceutical counter……

        • thegooseking says:

          When due process fails us, we really do live in a world of ludonarrative dissonance.

          • Luke says:

            My ludonarrative dissonance has been acting up for weeks. I should probably get it checked out.

          • Hodge says:

            And so I said to the judge, “You can’t convict me, your honour! Ludonarrative dissonance!”

            Later on we did acid at a strip club.

          • roryok says:

            I was playing ludo with my sister and she started making up a story for the pieces, but then halfway through she changed her story completely, and I said it’s a good job clint hocking can’t hear you, because he’d be mad.

          • Droopy The Dog says:

            Last time I took a flight there was terrible ludonarrative dissonance, everyone was pretty shook up.

            Ow!

            Well done clint!

    • LionsPhil says:

      I love this thread.

  15. wodin says:

    If he was such a creative genius and overall force in the developing world why then did he produce what appears to be…nothing whatsoever, whilst presumably “working” for LucasArts?

    I expect like in music he may have been a one hit wonder with nothing else left in the tank.

    • The Dark One says:

      Valve’s handbook points out that someone they’d want to hire could easily get more money elsewhere. LucasArts has a pretty lousy reputation, so I’m guessing he decided that a fat pay cheque wasn’t worth the grief of working there.

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      @wodin: Your sarcasm is misplaced.

      Things get cancelled for all sorts of reasons. Many potentially great games have had the plug pulled for no good reason, often very late in production. Whether a game does or doesn’t ship does not automatically reflect badly on the people that worked on it, even the leads and director(s).

      I’d say any given project has about a 1 in 3 chance of shipping (regardless of quality) and that’s being generous. Many developers have worked their asses off for years on a promising project only to have the rug pulled out from under them because the publisher decides to “re-align its portfolio” or “the dollar/euro is too expensive” or whatever.

  16. zeroskill says:

    The fact that Valve hired this guy shows that they do understand a little bit more about game design then the average internet moron/angryman. Good job Valve.

    P.S. I do understand why there is so much hate directed at Farcry 2 by the average FPS consumer of the year 2004+. You don’t have to explain me.

  17. MistyMike says:

    Can’t hockin’ wait.

  18. roryok says:

    People are a little too angry about Far Cry 2. It wasn’t as great a game as it could have been. So fucking what!

  19. Bantros says:

    Ep3 – Gordon Freeman has glaucoma and you have to take off your spectacles and apply eyedrops every 45 mins

  20. deadly.by.design says:

    Someone else who can’t count to 3?

    Nice!


    For the record, I really enjoyed FarCry 2 in spite of its flaws.

  21. RagingLion says:

    Ooh, interesting.

    So I’m thinking Clint had a load of big ideas for what he was doing at Lucas Arts but got shut down on introducing most of them into Star Wars 1313 or maybe on another project and so he just has had enough and decided to go for the safe bet of working somewhere where he knows people are more open to innovation and he can accompplish something.

  22. Real Horrorshow says:

    There were some controversial choices with Far Cry 2 but he’s definitely a competent developer. I look forward to his work.

    Unfortunately Far Cry 2 is a victim of the “if it’s not amazing it’s dog shit” mentality of internet criticism.

  23. Paul says:

    Clint Hocking and Doug Church under one roof.
    Yes.

  24. xaphoo says:

    A few years ago I bought a new computer, my first “modern” machine in a long time, and, having read such great things about Far Cry 2 here, made it my first game.

    Those were some of the most miserable gaming hours I’ve ever spent. I was frustrated with the checkpoints, with the driving, with the game’s pure soullessness, but at the same time I was trying to justify my new purchase to myself and trying to feel like I had made a good choice by buying a new gaming machine.

    I don’t remember how quickly it was before I uninstalled it, or what game I played afterwards. But it was surely an improvement. I’m not excited about this move by Valve but let’s hope for the best.

  25. Fameros says:

    I am eager to use the gravity gun on antilopes.

  26. sgriffee says:

    Designer of one of the best shooters ever, Far Cry 2, joins company that made one of the best shooters ever, Half Life. Good.

  27. sgriffee says:

    Best shooter ever: Far Cry 2 feel, foliage, graphics, animations + Arma2/Dayz world, physics & mechanics + Thief sound, stealth, storyline + Battlefield 3 physics. People who don’t like Far Cry 2 have 0 imagination.

  28. spelvin spugg says:

    FC2 was really amazing.

    It had some borderline-gamebreaking issues that need to be addressed. It was still a very, VERY good game. The respawns were much too quick and the apparent rubberbanding of enemy patrol vehicles and other sleight-of-hand was a little too obvious.

    Played that last year, it’s great.

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