Valve hire some Kerbal Space Program developers

The big boys at Valve have hired an unknown number of folks behind the space sim Kerbal Space Program [official site], RPS fanzine PC Gamer is reporting. A former Valve developer said as much in an interview on the podcast Game Dev Unchained and a current Valve spokesperson confirmed it to the mag, saying “We’ll be announcing more soon”. Good work, everyone, I’ve had to do absolutely no digging of my own.

“They [Valve] are still buying up mod teams,” said Roger Lundeen of Turtle Rock in the podcast (at the 20 minute mark). “The modders who made… is it Kerbal Space Station [sic]? … They just gave that entire team jobs, if they wanted it.”

We don’t know if that’s exactly what happened, nor do we know how many of the original team from Squad have been employed. It’s also important to clarify that “the whole team” isn’t strictly accurate, since the studio in charge of KSP is still working away. But the lead developer on KSP, Felipe Falanghe, did quit his old project in June last year saying: “I desperately need to have something new, to create more than one game in my life.”

It would certainly be interesting to see what that next game might be. In the mean time, Squad, the development studio in charge of the Kerbals, is still going about its business. “Regarding the developers joining Valve, it is important to note that we have had several people working on our team over the years,” said a community manager on the forums, “and it is common among development studios for team members to come and go. If some of them joined Valve, it is on their own behalf and we wish them good luck and success in their current and future endeavors.”

We thought Kerbal Space Program was rather splendid, and work on it continues, like Squad say. Just last week a mission editor was announced as part of the sim‘s first expansion, along with missions based on real-world space jaunts from history, while an earlier update has also added communications networks.

23 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    DollarOfReactivity says:

    Wow, over the past year as devs/contractors started Squad leaving in waves I thought for no apparent reason: wouldn’t it be cool if they were going to Valve? :o Clearly I should start a psychic hotline.

    KSP is one of my favorite games ever, so I’m excited to see what they might do under (hopefully) better management and with infinite funds.

    • brucethemoose says:

      Well, with this being Valve, we’ll get something good or nothing at all, right?

      From my understanding, they tend to abandon projects that aren’t working out as opposed to pressing on like normal studios.

    • Cvnk says:

      Doesn’t Valve pride itself on its distinct lack of management? A distinction that results in relatively few games?

      • particlese says:

        I think it’s more a lack of official hierarchy and the presence of people who can manage themselves or take on some project lead responsibilities as required. That’s my current vague understanding of such a company structure, at least. (There are other companies run like this, too.)

        But yeah, that hasn’t resulted in many new games recently…

    • KillahMate says:

      “I’m excited to see what they might do under (hopefully) better management and with infinite funds.”

      A Dota2 announcer pack? A Steam sale ARG? The sky’s the limit!

      • demicanadian says:

        My money is on Kerbalizer: it’d be very Valve to add avatar editor to TF2 or Dota

    • Cinek says:

      They’ll likely work on some physics-based VR game. Valve is now focused on VR, so getting people from community-focused physics-based hit game would be a logical move.

  2. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    I can’t wait to see what exciting new games will never get made with these developers on board.

  3. Chillicothe says:

    Good. These folks got worked over during Kerbal’s development.

    • Cinek says:

      At least now they’ll earn some decent money instead of shit Squad have been doing.

  4. wengart says:

    My pet theory has been that they had a relatively open environment with a certain amount of managerial and financial push pre-Steam.

    “Hey guys we need to ship a game by X date or we have no money.”

    This allowed their open system to work. That and the right people who could take advantage of it.

    However, since Steam started printing Valve money their “new games” teams have largely been without that same push.

  5. SaintAn says:

    And in 5 years they’ll leave without making a single game.

  6. MultiVaC says:

    “I desperately need to have something new, to create more than one game in my life.”

    How would working for Valve help him then?

    • pack.wolf says:

      With a burn like that this comment has definitely reached escape velocity :D

  7. JiminyJickers says:

    “RPS fanzine PC Gamer” – classic! Haha.

  8. Teamy says:

    Exciting news, looking forward to seeing the hats and skins they come up with.

  9. ButteringSundays says:

    Have to say, even as a fan of KSP, I’m not sure why this is of any note to anybody.

    I think KSP is fantastic (easily one of my favourite games of all time, and I backed it from very early on), but that’s not because of the god-like coding or design powers of the people that made it – even today it’s still quite clearly an indie project. It’s not even the concept, or the idea, which is pretty unremarkable in itself. What they brought to the table was the gumption to build something that a AAA studio would never fund, they took a risk, they listened to their fans, and they built a thing. A great thing; but a thing that many a game developer could build given the same drive and determination.

    So… what’s positive about transplanting those devs to another studio? What it is that people are excited about them bringing to the table at Valve? And what do they think Valve will empower them to do that they weren’t able to do already?

    • modzero says:

      Well, I’m happy that they’ll get paid properly. I’m not really getting much from it, other than the awareness that a less-than-nice company (remember, Squad didn’t “have the gumption”, the entire thing started as a developer’s side project, allowed only so that he wouldn’t leave) gets taught a lesson. The devs did much of what you said, but I wouldn’t credit Squad for it – I’d credit Harvester and his team.

  10. DoomBroom says:

    Valve is deep in VR. The KSP people likely will be working on something in that regard. Like the 3 announced VR games or working on the already existing VR things. Just a few days ago we got a big SteamVR Beta update (SteamVR Home). Looks like Valve is building a social VR plattform: link to youtube.com

  11. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Aperture Space Program. Go up there and retrieve those lost spheres.