VideoGamer.com: Moving away from Left 4 Dead, Valve hasn't released a non-Left 4 Dead game since Orange Box in late 2007...
CF: There was an Xbox LIVE Portal release. And obviously a lot of Team Fortress updates.
VideoGamer.com: I mean in terms of new retail releases.
VideoGamer.com: Is there a desire in Valve to make some other stuff as well as Left 4 Dead, or are you guys happy concentrating on Left 4 Dead now and for the foreseeable future?
CF: There are quite a few teams at Valve. There are people working on other stuff as we speak now, that were working on it during Left 4 Dead. I think there are about 150 to 200 developers. The team of Left 4 Dead is about 60. So there are a lot of things still going on. But definitely as we get near to launch a lot of people pull together and help put the game out.
VideoGamer.com: What's happening with Half Life? Do you have any update on Half Life 2: Episode 3?
CF: No. We hate to ever talk about anything until we're close to releasing it, just because, who knows what will happen? So we'll see.
VideoGamer.com: And Portal, is it a game that will go down as a unique, self-contained experience, or does it have the scope to be fleshed out with other games?
CF: We'll see! I don't know! We'll see!
VideoGamer.com: Can Portal it be more than an FPS puzzle game?
CF: We'll see! I don't know!
VideoGamer.com: Left 4 Dead 2 is a unique co-operative experience. EA UK boss Keith Ramsdale said at the opening of this EA Winter Showcase that "single-player experiences are no longer the future". What do you say to that?
CF: In the world of Left 4 Dead what we love is it's a social thing. It's not a skill thing. It's not a challenge of like, oh my god I got to be such a great player to kill all these zombies. It's this thing you do and hang out with your friends. And that's why I love to play it. That's why I play with a bunch of people in the community. We play with people at work. It's just fun and it's hanging out. So it's definitely a social aspect of games, where they don't have to be what people would think are social games and they don't have to be something that's just some Flash game where you're playing something together. It can be a lot of different games are social. So I love that part. I play a TF2 server where people read from books sometimes or sing songs and it's this whole weird social thing. It's cool, right? That's a neat way to interact with everybody, because you're this group that loves this game and wants to play it. So definitely that's strong.
But there are still, like a good book, games I want to pick up and play by myself. I'm going to pick up Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and I'm going to go play it by myself. I'm going to go experience the single-player game that's there. I think there's room for both. I play a lot of single-player games and I play a lot of multi-player games.
VideoGamer.com: But these days can a single-player only game be successful?
CF: BioShock was single-player only, and I think that was pretty well received. People were pretty excited about it. So it'd be hard to call that a failure.
VideoGamer.com: But the developers are adding multiplayer for the sequel.
CF: They're ruining my point! Who was it that was talking about it once? If you redefine single-player games enough they all become multiplayer. There's definitely a lot of social stuff around games now where you go into forums and you chat about them. And not just hardcore game forums. You go to places like Gamers With Jobs, or even just other more mainstream magazine sites that have a game section, and people talk about them. That way games live outside of that and they are this social thing.
My favourite games right now are social games, but I'll pick up and play single-player games because that's what I like as well. Bad Company I played single-player more than I played multiplayer. Bad Company 2, there's still a single-player portion, right? I'll be playing that. It's always scary when someone says this is the only thing, or this is dead, because it's so fluid in how it changes and what it is. Definitely if people put more hours into playing games being a lone nut in your basement gets scarier if you're playing all by yourself. So in that sense with social games, you have the best of both worlds.
VideoGamer.com: Dedicated servers is this month's hot topic. Infinity Ward hasn't done dedicated servers for the PC version of Modern Warfare 2...
CF: I can't comment on what they're doing there. I don't know the details of anything.
VideoGamer.com: Generally speaking then, is dedicated servers something Valve has an opinion on?
CF: Definitely with Left 4 Dead 2, and we're continuing it with Left 4 Dead, we have dedicated servers for the PC and the 360. It's interesting watching the community and what they do. Often it drives us nuts, because they have some crazy things they do. Sometimes it's interesting things. In the TF world, for instance, the karaoke mode they put in. There are always interesting things that are always cool. The weird thing is, we were having this discussion about something else, modding. If you just anoint three people and tell them make something cool, they're not going to make something cool. But if you anoint 3.5 million people and say, out of the group of you someone make something cool, you're going to get cool stuff. That's just a cool part of releasing a game to our community, and that's why we support the community. But Infinity Ward are smart people. I'm sure they're making it for good reasons.
Left 4 Dead 2 is scheduled for release only for PC and Xbox 360 on November 20.