In November, Valve revealed that it'd finally be returning to the Half-Life franchise this year with Half-Life: Alyx, a PC virtual reality exclusive title. When it was announced, folks remembered a 2017 interview with founder Gabe Newell where he said Valve had three full VR titles in development at the time, and wondered if the either of the other two would see the light of day. At a recent VR industry event, an executive for HTC Vive seemingly confirmed the existence of Left 4 Dead 3 for VR. Now, Valve has emphatically denied it's working on anything of the sort.
The supposed Left 4 Dead 3 leak comes from Alvin Wang Graylin, President for HTC Vive in China. At a VR awards event in Beijing, Graylin gave a presentation with accompanying slides and later posted a few of them to Twitter. In the first slide, titled "2020 VR Trends," Graylin's presentation makes reference to "Valve HL Alyx / LFD3" driving consumer and developer interest in VR. While that breaks the regular convention of shortening Left 4 Dead to "L4D," as a Valve title Left 4 Dead 3 is the only likely candidate for what Graylin's slide could mean.
A few slides from my talk tonight... pic.twitter.com/bHegijjZW1— Alvin Wang Graylin (汪丛青) (@AGraylin) January 17, 2020
In a new statement to IGN, Valve denies having anything related to L4D currently in development. "We've seen rumors to this effect for the last couple months," Valve says. "We did briefly explore some Left 4 Dead next gen opportunities a few years ago. But we are absolutely not working on anything L4D related now, and haven't for years."
While it'd be incredibly odd for a VR executive to mistakenly say a title from a business partner is in development, it's not out of the question. Valve and HTC were once close partners on the HTC Vive line of VR hardware, but don't have the same relationship they used to. Valve now manufactures its own Index headset and controllers, and HTC's newest generation of Vive hardware abandons Valve's preferred external tracking tech for inside-out tracking.
Valve's swift denial of ongoing L4D development is somewhat uncharacteristic for the company, but since the reveal of Half-Life: Alyx the developer has been more forthcoming with what's going on inside the studio. Valve recently confirmed that In the Valley of Gods, a first-person exploration game from the team behind Firewatch, has been placed "on hold" as members of the Campo Santo team have gone to work on other Valve projects, including Half-Life: Alyx.
Whether or not Valve is still developing other full VR titles, it seems likely we won't be hearing about them until after Half-Life: Alyx is released. Perhaps those "next gen opportunities" Valve explored with Left 4 Dead will be covered in Geoff Keighley's Final Hours exploration of Half-Life: Alyx and the past decade at Valve, or maybe this statement is the final nail in their coffin. Valve is planning to release Half-Life: Alyx in March for SteamVR compatible PC hardware.