Gray Newell is the eldest son of Valve founder and CEO Gabe Newell. He’s also apparently the inspiration for the final boss in Half-Life.
The tidbit came out during a recent Valve News Network video featuring snippets from Gray Newell. Newell’s son is currently working on a game of his own, currently titled Fury. It’s in the pre-production stages, so there’s little to talk about, but given who his dad is, Newell has plenty of other stories to tell.
One such story involved the Nihilanth, the last boss in the original Half-Life. It looks like a weird baby monster, and according to Newell, that’s because his parents tried to think of the scariest thing possible when it came to a final boss – and they thought of childbirth.
“The final boss in Half-Life 1 actually, the giant evil baby monster, is supposed to be me,” Newell says after 1m 20s.
“When my mother was in childbirth, they were thinking ‘What’s something really scary?’ And at the time, having a child seemed to be the most scary thing.”
As a random aside, Newell also semi-criticised his dad’s company for not taking enough risks. “They need to reach out and do something scary … do something where they don’t know what the outcome is going to be. They make incredibly smart decisions but sometimes you have to do something stupid, sometimes you have to have a stupid crazy idea and say, ‘Fuck it, go with it.'”
“Valve has a kind of, just mind-boggingly enormous amount of resources at their back. I really hope they find the courage to really start throwing them at something new. And I know what they’re working on and how they’re going to begin pushing things … I want to see them push the envelope again. I want to see Valve be scary again, in a good way.”
Newell mentioned Titanfall as a huge inspiration for what his company is doing with Fury, and the concept art shown on Facebook and Twitter indicates there’s a strong sci-fi element at play:
He also added that he’s considered how to implement esports, saying that the game should be downscalable enough to the point where it could be “an arena shooter”. Fury isn’t just being pitched as an arena shooter, and that the game was being designed for PC first and foremost. Newell later said on a livestream that it would be sold as a premium product up-front, with microtransactions of some sort.
That said, the project is so far off that speculation is pretty unhelpful at this point. But it’s nice to get more detail about inside Valve, especially from someone who has had that inside perspective for that long.