Update, 10 a.m. PT: In a statement given to Polygon, Wolpaw notes that he's only working with Valve on a contractual basis. His current gig at Valve consists of helping writers Jay Pinkerton, Steve Jaros, and Sean Vanaman with their respective projects, which Wolpaw notes has been "busier" lately than usual.
"I've had a contractor 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,” Wolpaw told the site over email before affirming that he is not "currently a full-time employee."
You can find the original story published in its entirety below.
It's a new year, which means it's a time for new beginnings. Or in Valve's case, familiar beginnings, as famed writer Erik Wolpaw (of Half-Life 2's episodes, Portal, and Left 4 Dead fame) has returned to the company after leaving back in 2017.
Wolpaw left Valve to co-write Double Fine's upcoming adventure game Psychonauts 2, a sequel to Psychonauts, which he also co-wrote. Psychonauts 2, as we saw at The Game Awards in 2018, is in its final stretch of development with a target release window of 2019. Seemingly free from Raz's mind control, Wolpaw has ducked back into Valve, a company that has recently been inching back to game development with the release of Artifact and the upcoming In the Valley of Gods (as per the acquisition of Firewatch developers Campo Santo).
Wolpaw's return to Valve may have not been a New Year's-recent celebration though, as spotted by Reddit user Trenchman. Wolpaw's name was spotted recently in the credits of Artifact (though not credited directly as a writer, but as an employee). To confirm, the Redditor emailed Valve co-founder Gabe Newell himself to inquire about the mysterious credits, to which Newell affirmed Wolpaw's return. (The email's legitimacy was later confirmed by Valve News Network).
With Artifact, the Campo Santo acquisition, and now the return of Erik Wolpaw, it seems that Valve is looking at game development as a focus for the company again. Half-Life 3, here we come?