Valve has confirmed that the company is in development of not one, but three “full” VR titles being built in conjunction with their ongoing VR development.

The company behind some of the greatest games ever made—Half-Life, Portal, Counter Strike, Team Fortress, to name a few—is far from done with VR. Having designed the SteamVR Tracking system, and co-created the HTC Vive, there’s now the matter of VR’s missing killer app, which the company seems poised to take a stab at.

Valve's Gabe Newell | Photo courtesy Kotaku
Valve’s Gabe Newell | Photo courtesy Kotaku

Speaking with Eurogamer this week, Valve head Gabe Newell confirmed that development of the three VR games was ongoing in both the company’s own Source 2 engine and Unity.

Newell didn’t confirm any specifics about the games, but did say that they’re being built at the same time as Valve’s ongoing VR hardware development, reports Eurogamer.

“One of the questions you might be asking is ‘Why in the world would you be making hardware?’ What we can do now is we can be designing hardware at the same time that we’re designing software.” said Newell. “This is something that [Nintendo’s] Miyamoto has always had. He’s had the ability to think about what the input device is and design a system while he designs games. Our sense is that this will actually allow us to build much better entertainment experiences for people.”

Photo courtesy Shawn Whiting
Valve’s newest prototype VR controllers | Photo courtesy Shawn Whiting

One of the new pieces of hardware that we know Valve is working on now is a brand new pair of VR controllers that depart significantly from the first-generation which shipped with the Vive. The company showed those ‘knuckles’ controllers off for the first time at the Valve-hosted ‘Steam Dev Days’ conference in late 2016, and based on Newell’s comments, it would see that they could have a lot to do with the company’s forthcoming VR games.

First Look at Valve's New VR Controller Prototype

Newell also said that the world of PC gaming has been relying on the same input devices for a long time now, and that the wave of VR hardware opens up new opportunities for what games can be.

“It feels like we’ve been stuck with mouse and keyboard for a really long time and that the opportunities to build much more interesting kinds of experiences for gamers were there, we just need to sort of expand what we can do. But it’s not about being in hardware, it’s about building better games. It’s about taking bigger leaps forward with the kinds of games that we can do,” Newell told Eurogamer.

In addition to the news of Valve’s development progress on three made-for-VR games, Newell shared part of what he believes is the roadmap for future VR headsets, which he says will see significant advancements in display technology in the next few years.

“We’re actually going to go from this weird position where VR right now is kind of low-res, to being in a place where VR is actually higher res than just about anything else, with much higher refresh rates than you’re going to see on either desktops or phones,” Newell told Eurogamer. “You’ll actually see the VR industry sort of leapfrogging pretty much any other display technology in terms of those characteristics. It’s probably not obvious from the first generation of products, but you’ll start to see that happening like in 2018-2019.”

Given Newell’s forward-looking comments, and those about co-developing the game alongside the hardware, it isn’t entirely clear if Valve intends to ship its VR games on first-generation hardware like the HTC Vive.

Valve Confirms New Vive Base Station Coming This Year

Regardless of when those games hit—if Valve’s stellar pedigree is anything to go by—there’s a lot to look forward to. The company has created a number of genre-defining titles, and has already demonstrated impressive prowess in VR game design with their work on The Lab, a free collection of VR mini games which still stands among the most polished and fun titles available for VR.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Miqa

    Valve develops THREE games?! HL3 confirmed!

    • Brandon Toy

      My thoughts exactly.

    • Sam Illingworth

      It’s actually Portal 3, Team Fortress 3 and DOTA 3.

      • Jukka Muhonen

        Dota should be buried

      • Jukka Muhonen

        I think it will be new half life, if ypu going to inject vr to team fortress 3 it means that they have to inject vr to half life 3

  • MosBen

    Given Valve’s track record, we’ll be lucky if any of these come out in 2018.

    • Raphael

      The release target is Q4 2019. The development team hilariously consists of 3 people for all 3 games.

      • Andrew Mcevoy

        How do you know this? :/

        • Raphael

          I got fired from the development team last week. I was the fourth member of the team. They’re now short of a level designer but I think they have a temporary one.

          • Andrew Mcevoy

            Ah shit man, sorry to hear that :( Hope you get onto something somewhere else soon enough mate. Was it because you smacked Gabe upside his head regarding his stance of full locomotion? ;)

            Ok I’l take that information as gold then. Shame though. I was hoping for something a little more bombastic than described but will see what they’re all about in nearly 3 years time!

          • MacGoose

            I don’t know to much about this but is Gabe not for full locomotion? And they’re trying to make a “killer app”? “Killer app” and no real locomotion is like wings on a train.

          • NooYawker

            Is this a serious post? Were you really on the development team?

          • user

            he is attention whoring

          • Raphael

            Yup, that’s about the size of it.

          • Andrew Mcevoy

            Now why would you do something like that Raphael. Cos its friday I’ll give you a pass this time. But you are now tagged as a bullshit artist ;)

          • Raphael

            Thank you for the bullshit pass. I will use it wisely before it expires.

          • NooYawker

            You’re pulling all sorts of chains today.

          • Simplex

            Nice b8 m8 :)

          • Raphael


      • Andrew Mcevoy

        Why so few people? I though Valve had money to burn.

      • Simplex

        Good bait, 6/10 for effort :)

  • Raphael

    The 3 games: one is a vr version of Dota. Other is a portal spin-off with blink teleport and no option for full locomotion. The third is an incoming wave Shooter based on Half Life so you get to shoot striders, head crab zombies etc without fear of getting dizzy (Gabe hates vr games with full locomotion).

    • Andrew Mcevoy

      Is this confirmed? We dont need another wave shooter. :/

    • Me

      Actually, it’s Chet that hates VR badly done. They’re NOT against locomotion, given they’ve invested in Onward…

      Once thing I agree with, is probably DOTA is among the games pushed to VR. (that spectator mode is awesome, a shame I don’t understand a single thing about how this game actually works….)

      Then, the two others are open. I personally don’t believe in Half Life. That ship has sailed a long time ago. I see more something around CS:Go, and perhaps a brand new IP.

      • Raphael

        I don’t understand DOTA and I don’t want to. CS GO in VR would be great with full locomotion. If teleport only then forget it. Valve will never release HL3… it would only come along as a fan-made creation.

        • Andrew Mcevoy

          Onward has already stolen the CS crown!

          • Raphael

            True! I bought it last month and I have to start playing past the shooting range!

          • Andrew Mcevoy

            All that practice might help you in that moment of blind panic when your clip is empty and you are under fire with bullets pinging off the wall just above your head and you fumble about trying to reload…but probably not..

    • NooYawker

      I refuse to believe Valve is working on a wave shooter. That would be hands down the dumbest thing they’ve ever done.

      • user

        you believe this guy?

        • Andrew Mcevoy

          He has never come across as the type to blag to be fair. I see him commenting here a lot. Could be wrong though. And I see I am indeed. He is the type! :D

  • Jarman

    “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware” (Alan Kay, 1982)

  • Get Schwifty!

    Anyone recall when the new controllers for Vive are due, or has there been no statement?

    • NooYawker

      He never talks about anything anyone wants to actually hear about. I seriously don’t see the point in ever speaking to Newell.

      • Get Schwifty!

        LOL – don’t tell the Cult of Gabe that ;)

  • NooYawker

    Gabe Newell gives the worst interviews. It’s never informative or insightful.

  • Get Schwifty!

    But …. will they support Touch?

    • Caven

      The Lab supports Oculus Touch, so it seems like a reasonable assumption that they’ll support Touch for other games, too. Of course, that’s purely speculation at the moment, but at least there is precedent.

      • Get Schwifty!

        It sort of does – I would like them to complete it and actually show hands with finger action myself to say it “supports Touch”… right now there is this business of saying it supports Touch merely because you can map inputs… this is not full Touch IMNSHO.

    • JustNiz

      They will use OpenVR (as used by SteamVR) which supports both Vive and Rift, so yes. You might not get the best roomscale experience with Rift/Touch though since Rift’s max roomscale size is smaller than Vive.

  • Adam

    It’s half life VR (not hl3, a different game entirely), and the other 2 would be either left for dead 3, a portal game, or something new. The lfd3 game might not be a VR game though, but it’s definitely coming.

    • jimmey dean hiya

      lfd3 already in developement

  • Zerofool

    A recording of the entire interview (on VNN):