Erik Wolpaw, after a small stint elsewhere, returns to Gabe Newell‘s team (who has stated returning to game development).
Wolpaw moved over to Double Fine in 2017 to work on Psychonauts 2, but it seems to be over. On Reddit, it was noted that in the newest card collecting Valve game called Artifact, his name is in the credits. The Reddit user by the name of Trenchman then contacted Gabe Newell, the head of Valve, who then responded with a small but to-the-point reply: „He’s back.”
We don’t know why Wolpaw left Valve in the first place (possibly due to lack of game development?), but they have since expanded, as Campo Santo, the makers of Firewatch who are currently working on Valley of the Gods, has been acquired by Newell. Wolpaw, the co-writer of the Half-Life episodes, as well as the two Portal games, told Polygon the following: „I’ve had a contractual agreement with Valve since the day I stormed out and then immediately timidly stormed back in to ask could I please have my old job back and they said no and I was like good because I’m too busy to work for you anyway and they said but you can be a contractor and I said oh thank god okay I’ll do that. I’ve been helping Pinkerton and Jaros and Vanaman whenever they need it. It’s been busier on that front lately, but I’m not currently a full-time employee. My main gig is still delivering juice for my niece Jodi’s vegan juice shop plus an unpaid internship playing Slay the Spire three hours a day.” (Jay Pinkerton was Wolpaw’s colleague writer at Valve, Steve Jaros was the creative director of Volition before joining Valve, and Sean Vanaman was the co-project lead on Telltale’s The Walking Dead before founding Campo Santo.)
Gabe Newell seems to be serious… except for his weird ways of avoiding the number three.