During a Q&A on Reddit, Valve head Gabe Newell affirmed that the company is continuing development its own first-party VR content, as well as exploring interests in new technologies which could play a part in Valve’s future.

After dodging a flurry of Half-Life 3 related questions, Gabe Newell addressed a question asking what direction the company should take in the future.

“The big thing right now is broadening the range of options we have in creating experiences. We think investing in hardware will give us those options. The knuckles controller is being designed at the same time as we’re designing our own VR games,” he wrote. [The “knuckles controller” is the new VR controller prototype the company showed off at Steam Dev Days in October.]

Valve's Gabe Newell | Photo courtesy Kotaku
Valve’s Gabe Newell. Valve and HTC worked closely together to create the HTC Vive VR system. | Photo courtesy Kotaku

Newell was also asked if Valve was interested in making a “full game experience” for the Vive VR system, to which he responded, “Yes. We think VR is pretty important as a tool for interesting games.”

Valve created The Lab, a package of free VR mini games for the HTC Vive which have been much loved by the VR community. For a time the game was the highest rated title on the entire Steam store (and to this day remains in the top 20). As fun as it was, seemingly each one of the included mini games deserved to be fleshed out in a substantial experience.

Though Valve is known for making some of the best games of all time—including Half-Life 2 (2004) and Portal 2 (2011)—it’s been more than five years since the company released any narrative focused titles, something that’s in serious demand in the VR space. There’s high hopes that Valve is working on a VR game that will be as significant as either of the aforementioned titles.

Valve Confirms New Vive Base Station Coming This Year

Back to the question of where Valve is headed in the future: Newell says the company is exploring both artificial intelligence and the far future of human-computer interaction.

“…some of us are thinking about some of the AI work that is being hyped right now. Simplistically we have lots of data and compute capability that looks like the kinds of areas where machine learning should work well. Personally I’m looking at research in brain-computer interfaces.”

The entire field of Brain-Computer Interfacing (also called BCI) is devoted to understanding how to communicate directly with the human mind. The ultimate goal of BCI, one supposes, is to decode a standardized system of brain ‘language’ and a system of input/output. You can think of the big needle stuck into the back of Neo’s head in The Matrix (1999) as a highly advanced brain-computer interface. Dreams are proof that if you can control the brain’s inputs, you can create any conceivable reality.

The World's Best Virtual Reality -- Your Brain on VR, and the Exciting World of Brain-Computer Interfacing

Exciting stuff indeed, and while BCI technology is extremely rudimentary today, we’re gaining an ever clearer picture into what’s happening inside the brain, to the point that we can reconstruct basic images from thoughts alone.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.

  • NooYawker

    We only care about HL3. I think at this point no matter how good it is i’ts going to disappoint.

    • benz145

      I’m mostly of the same opinion. As much as I want it, the hype is far too great. I think Valve is one of a few companies that doesn’t *need* to do HL3 if they don’t think they can make it a great game. Even if it doesn’t do anything worse than HL2, simply making a sequel to a great game does not create another great game, just like Finding Dory was a decent movie, but not exactly “great;” it was basically a repeat of Finding Nemo, the movie that came before it and was itself a great movie.

      Surely they could continue the story from HL2, but the game was great not just because of its story, but because of its innovative use of physics for new and novel gameplay. While other companies that operate under other business models *need* to pump out the next COD or Halo (even if they don’t have anything new and novel to add), Valve is in a position where they don’t have to do that until they can really make something great. I’m convinced this is why there hasn’t been HL3 yet — because they haven’t found something truly new and compelling that would work as a foundation for the game.

      • DougP

        benz145 – think you’ve just nailed the reason(s).

        They don’t have to & they’re in the position to NOT make it unless it would truly be *great* (often confused as “more of same”/”rehash”).

        Like your Dory analogy – very apt comparison.
        Another movie example, although not quite the same, might be “The Force Awakens” …tho’ in that case they needed to re-start something & were playing it safe.

        • user

          cyberpunk 2077 will be hl3 :)

        • NooYawker

          VR is here! It’s time!

      • Matt R

        Right now I would settle for an official VR version of HL1 and 2.

      • johann jensson

        Oh, they have found. It’s called Virtual Reality, and it’s a real thing nowadays (duh :). But it’s in its baby-phase, still.

        I can’t imagine that Valve would pass on this opportunity, if market & technology are there.

    • JustNiz

      Speak for yourself. I’m just as interested to see a Portal 3, and maybe a Left 4 Dead 3.

    • johann jensson

      Speak for yourself. It can’t disappoint me, because all i need is the same gameplay and a closure for the story. My only extra-wish is automatically granted – the new Source version. :)

  • DougP

    Re: Knuckles controller + Valve IP

    Was following this AMA yesterday ….& have to admit that when this was posted I was very happy to hear this.
    I can imagine Valve knocking it out of the ballpark, bringing out a game utlizing those very cool+innovative controllers!