Now, more than ever, Valve Software seems to be getting serious about competitive gaming. The Team Fortress and Portal developer snapped up DotA: All-Stars developer "IceFrog" to create a sequel to that intensely competitive MOBA game. It's also focusing on the competitive side of the next Counter-Strike and adding new Steam features tailored to e-sports.
But there's one competitive arena Valve is not yet focusing its internal efforts on -- at least as far as co-founder Gabe Newell knows: fighting games.
I'll admit that asking Newell whether the company was directing any of its energies into the fighting game space may have been an odd choice of question. But Newell has spoken about interest in developing Dota 2 growing from within, based on an internal "fan impulse".
"[Dota 2]really grew out of the fact that a bunch of people at Valve were fans of Icefrog's," Newell told Kotaku at Gamescom, with the company's developers reaching out to the man maintaining DotA: All-Stars in an attempt to bring him on board and create a sequel with fewer restraints.
Newell himself is a convert. He says he's played more than 800 hours' worth of Valve's Dota 2 already.
So if Valve is now more serious about competitive first-person shooters, as development of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive would indicate, and Defense of the Ancients-style games, why not explore another burgeoning competitive gaming scene? After all, the most recent EVO Championship Series drew more than 2 million viewers, people from around the globe who tuned in to watch the best Super Street Fighter IV, Mortal Kombat and Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 players fight for fame and riches.
"We don't have anything that we're doing in the fighting game space," Newell said of the idea. "That's not to say that somebody... well, we really do expect [our employees]to make their own decisions about where we want to go. We may find out that [Valve employees]Yasser and Martin are huge fighting game fans and that they've started a secret fighting game project."
"But I don't know about it yet."
It seems that the most likely way that Valve would join the likes of Capcom, Namco and NetherRealm Studios in developing a fighting game would be to welcome some modders into the fold. Perhaps there's a great Team Fortress 2 Vs. Left 4 Dead fighting game mod out there or a very impressive Valve Fighting Jam on some kid's hard drive that will blow Newell and company away. Perhaps not.
At least we know the development of Half-Life 2: Episode Three isn't being held up by one more thing...
Image: Jirloen at Digital Jedi