Half-Life: Alyx Puts Firewatch Dev's Next Game On Hold
"It certainly feels like a project people can and may return to."
Half-Life: Alyx, the recently announced Half-Life VR game, is being worked on by several former members of Firewatch developer Campo Santo. The developers became a part of Valve last year, bringing their newly announced project, In the Valley of Gods, with them. While the game was initially announced for a 2019 release, it's been over two years since anything was shown off, and shortly before the next Half-Life was shown off, people started to notice that several developers were removing references to In the Valley of Gods from their Twitter profiles. Fans feared that the game has been cancelled outright.
Now, in a statement to Polygon, Campo Santo co-founder Jake Rodkin has confirmed that the game is "on hold" while the team works on other projects. While this means that the game could be returned to, it's not currently in active development, and still might be cancelled in the future.
"Developers from the former Campo Santo team have joined other projects at Valve, including Half-Life: Alyx," Rodkin's statement reads. "You hear a lot about how at Valve you can work on what you want. It turns out that’s true, and there’s a lot of work available. As we integrated ourselves into Valve it became clear there was a lot of valuable work to be done on Half-Life: Alyx. Some of us starting lending a hand, and have since become full-time on the project as it approaches launch."
It's not just Half-Life that the team are working on: several have moved over to Dota Underlords, while others are working on Steam itself. "So to answer your question as of today," Rodkin continues, "In the Valley of Gods development is on hold—but it certainly feels like a project people can and may return to."
In the Valley of the Gods sounded ambitious. If it ever happens, it will cast players as Rashida, an explorer and filmmaker in 1920s Egypt, seeking to document the first unveiling of the tomb of Queen Nefertiti alongside their partner Zora. Half-Life: Alyx, meanwhile, will release in March 2020.
One of In the Valley of the Gods' writers, Duncan Fyfe, has also now spoken out about the project, providing some backstory on how he came to the project and discussing some details about what it would have been like. It sounds as if it would have concerned the whitewashing of history, among other things. You can see the full Twitter thread on Fyfe's account, and we've embedded a few of his tweets below.
I wanted to make myself invaluable to this game and to an amazing team by becoming a person who knew what it meant to tell a mystery adventure story in 1920s in Egypt.— Duncan Fyfe (@DuncanFyfe) December 4, 2019
I went to an Egyptologist conference at the British Museum and learned so much about how stories about ancient Egypt can only be told responsibly with acknowledgement of racial and political context.— Duncan Fyfe (@DuncanFyfe) December 4, 2019
How, rather than credit the beautiful art and advanced technology of ancient Egypt to a black, African race, the white western world of the 19th and 20th centuries twisted race science to assert that the Egyptians who actually created all that good stuff were themselves white.— Duncan Fyfe (@DuncanFyfe) December 4, 2019