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Campo Santo's In The Valley Of Gods has a probably meaningless 2029 release date

Digging up old bones

It’s been five whole years since the Firewatch devs announced their tomb-raiding adventure, In The Valley Of Gods, and in that time the idea of the game itself has fossilised. The first-person archaeology game was put on hold in 2019 after Valve acquired Campo Santo and had them support other Valve projects like Half-Life: Alyx. Now Campo's in-limbo game has a December 2029 listing on Steam, which almost certainly means nothing, but it’s fun to dust off some memories.

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It’s highly unlikely that a release window for, checks notes, six years in the future is concrete. What’s happening, then? Previously Steam didn't have any hard and fast rules on how games displayed their release dates, but a fairly recent updateintroduced some new policies that standardises date displays (these policies still allow for a vague “Coming Soon” display, though).

In all likelihood, the updated release date is either an error that wasn't caught or a technical change intended to keep the Steam page live for another six years. The first and only trailer for In The Valley Of Gods gives a 2019 release window, meaning if the game were to release in 2029 it would be ten years late. Maybe it’s weirdly prophetic. Half-Life 3 seems to have perpetually started and restarted development, so it’s never too late for In The Valley Of Gods to make a comeback, I suppose.

When the game was put on hold, Campo's co-founder told Polygon that In The Valley Of Gods “certainly feels like a project people can and may return to.” He continued to say, “when that happens, we’ll find an exciting way to let fans know.” I’m not sure that updating a store page’s release year is an “exciting way” to re-announce a game, but crazier things have happened I guess.

I enjoyed the exploration, map navigation, and hiking-sim elements in Firewatch, and I would’ve liked to see them in another walking sim, especially one with a more complicated, dangerous setting like the ruins of Egypt. Hopefully, Valve excavates this one soon.

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