In a recent announcement Firewatch developer Campo Santo has declared their move to Valve in a fairly unexpected acquisition. The indie studio made the announcement on Twitter and confirmed the change on their website through a blog post.
The studio has done a good job so far at communicating their intentions to the public. They’ve made it clear that both companies plan to keep the original team of Campo Santo fully intact, and have confirmed that they will continue their work on their new title In the Valley of Gods unhindered. The one change to the game that has been confirmed though is that it will be released as a Valve title, which is quite momentous as this would be Valve’s first release since 2013’s Dota 2.
This huge announcement brings a very prominent question to the forefront of the industry: Is Valve making games again? Lead artist at Campo Santo Jane Ng (@thatJaneNg) tweeted shortly after the announcement that she would be “moving to the Seattle area very soon,” and the studio’s blog post confirms that they will be continuing their work at Valve’s headquarters in Bellevue, Washington. This all points in a positive direction for fans of games from both companies, as the gaming giant probably wouldn’t acquire an entire indie studio and keep it intact if they didn’t intend on utilizing their skills.
Earlier this month Valve also removed all Steam Machines from its store. This acquisition could just be another piece to the puzzle of why that occurred and indicates that the company is heading in a different direction than they have been for the last five years. Campo Santo fans shouldn’t be worried either, as the studio seems genuinely positive about the move, mentioning in their post, “we had a series of long conversations with the people at Valve and everyone shared the satisfaction we take in working with people whose talents dwarf our own to make things we never thought possible.”
Maybe I’m just naively optimistic, but I truly believe this could be a decision that affects the industry positively. Valve might just start giving us fun and lovingly crafted games again, Campo Santo gets to continue work on their current project as a team, and with a significantly higher budget. Obviously, only time can tell if this will turn out well, but one either way you see it this is big news for both companies.