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Dear Esther, Mirror's Edge Artist Goes To Valve

Mirror's Edge 2 confirmed for Half-Life 3

Valve might prefer to be extra super special secret quiet about it, but they do, in fact, still make games. And games, well, they tend to be more enjoyable when they’re easy on the eyes. Now that I have cracked the eons-old mystery of Why Games Have Graphics, let’s get down to business: Valve has scooped up Mirror’s Edge and Dear Esther gorgeous vista warlock Robert Briscoe. Good for Valve, because Briscoe is astoundingly talented. But wait, wasn’t he in the process of moving Dear Esther’s painterly world into Unity’s less-costly frame? What’s going on there?

Briscoe explained his decision to join Gabe Newell’s traveling circus and knife enthusiast club in a blog post:

“I’ve decided I need a break from the solitary life I’ve been living these past years. I think I need to be around people for a while; A lot of my energy and enthusiasm comes from being in the presence of people, sharing different ideas, methods and techniques, different views, outlooks and inspirations, and mostly by just being out of my comfort zone (which I have very much slipped into).

“Over the past 11 months I’ve been in the process of applying for a US work visa, which was successfully approved a couple of months ago, and consequently, as of March 20th, I will taking a break from indie development and moving to Seattle to spend some time working on cool stuff with a company I’ve long since admired: Valve Software.”

The Dear Esther Unity port, meanwhile, is apparently almost done, with just some “backend and scripting stuff” remaining. Briscoe believes that should be doable in his spare time, and if not other folks at developer thechineseroom can handle it.

But what about his other indie endeavors, include an exceedingly enticing “STALKER-like” project? Well, for obvious reasons those are going on the backburner. At least, for now. Briscoe has “no doubt” that he’ll keep tinkering away on his basement project brain children, but for now those can’t be his only focus.

So off to Valve he goes. We wish him the best in whatever capacity he chooses to operate, even if that means turning Half-Life 3 entirely red, blue, white, and orange. And convincing everyone else to add really great first-person free-running. Actually, I kind of hope that happens.

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Nathan Grayson

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