PC Gamer
Valve Jason Holtman


You love Steam sales. I love Steam sales. EA, however, don't love Steam sales. Just a few weeks ago their senior vice president made his opinion clear, claiming that they "cheapen" intellectual property. A few days ago the Origin Summer Sale kicked off anyway.

We asked Valve's director of business management, Jason Holtman, whether Steam sales have any affect on day-one purchases during last week's Develop conference. He doesn't agree with EA. Not even a little bit.

"If that’s what we thought was happening, or that’s what we saw happening, we wouldn't do it. Actually, all the data is contrary to that. A promotion is not a policy; a promotion is just a feature to give people more value," said Jason, speaking to PC Gamer.

"It’s not as if a 75% offer or a 50% off sale at some point in time cannibalises a sale that would have happened earlier, it’s just not true. We’re actually seeing both of them growing. We don’t see one cannibalising the other. If we did, we wouldn't do it." he continued.

Steam sales go from the sublime to the ridiculous-ly cheap. There's even one going on right now. Check out this real time evidence of a Steam summer sale in progress. It's a wonderful time for bargains.

"We put Left 4 Dead 2 and Portal 2 on sale. If we thought that was killing our franchise, or hurting the value of games, or hurting the revenue we could generate as a company, we wouldn't do it," continues Jason. "We've even gone so far as to give away Portal for free a couple of times. Whole days where it's not free for a day, it's just free."

Valve's sales still weren't dented: "We looked at this amazing data afterwards. The day after the sales were exactly the same, if not more," he says.

"People aren't making a decision thinking 'I'm always going to wait for perfect pricing.' There are time elements to it, there are fan elements to it, there are value elements to it. People sometimes like paying the full amount on the first day because they want to play it now and they want to be a fan.

"Those features you’re talking about - like the sales - we just think of them as customer features. They're not policies or mandates. Things like this are super smart: this would be fun; people would play this game; they’d pick it up if they didn’t have it; they’d tell their friends about it."

For more from Jason, check our story on how TF2 inspired Greenlight. We've also posted his views on Greenlight's rating system.

Thanks to Dan Griliopoulos for the image.
PC Gamer
Left 4 Dead 2 Cold Stream


VG247 are reporting that Valve have finally announced a release date for Left 4 Dead 2's Cold Stream campaign. Now I know what you're thinking, you're thinking "But Tom! Isn't that campaign out already?" To which I reply "How can I hear what you're thinking, am I telepathic now?" But also "Nope, it's just been in beta testing. For a year." Which is a fairly speedy release in Valve time.

Cold Steam has spent the last year in community testing, with Valve gathering data on how the players perform on the map and adjusting it accordingly. But it's technically never been released until now, or rather until July 24th.

Assuming other Valve projects follow this release pattern, we estimate we'll be able to review Dota 2 sometime around 2014. In fact the truth is Half Life: Episode 3 was actually finished in 2009, but Valve feel it needs another six years of testing to be sure they got it right.*

*Probably not the truth.
PC Gamer
Left 4 Dead 2
Shortly after Payday devs, Overkill, announced that they were working on something with Valve, rumours began to pop up suggesting that that something could be a prequel to Left 4 Dead. That might sound like a promising idea, but it isn't happening. Valve developer Chet Faliszek put a swift "woah, nelly!" on those rumours in a chat with PCGamesN.

"I want to make sure that people don't think the prequel is coming," said Faliszeck. "If that happens, then it will make this other thing we're doing feel uncool, when the thing we're doing is really cool."

Chet described Valve and Overkill's new thing as "kind of akin to how in TF2 you might see some other games' weapons get translated and put into that game."

"We're doing something similar to that, but it's a little bit more involved," he explained.

A character crossover perhaps? Criminal clown masks for Left 4 Dead survivors? Tanks in cop hats? Valve are being discreet. "We're trying to be a little coy and a little fun because we want the communities to discover it," said Chet, "but those guys are still making Payday: The Heist, we're still making Left 4 Dead."
PC Gamer
presidents
We'd previously heard that Payday: The Heist developers Overkill are working on a game with Valve, but details were scant - all we knew is that it was Left 4 Dead related. Our megapals over at CVG cite a source as saying that it's going to be a Left 4 Dead prequel which details the genesis of the zombie uprising.

"As perceptive gamers will have noticed, several hints have recently been dropped into Payday: The Heist, which has led to various rumors," the original statement from Overkill read. "We are excited to be able to confirm that an in-depth collaboration between Overkill and Valve is currently in production. We are working on a very cool blend of Payday and Left 4 Dead."

It's a really nice idea for a collaboration. In Left 4 Dead you're the good guys. In Payday, you're the bad guys. Combining of the two, you could be a bunch of morally grey guys. Also, it's a prequel, and everyone loves prequels, right? If not, don't worry: Overkill are also working on a sequel to Payday: The Heist.
PC Gamer
Left 4 Dead 2
In many ways, Payday: The Heist is very similar to Left 4 Dead. You team up with three friends, you fend off hordes of enemies and try to stay alive. But, in a few important ways, they're very different. In Left 4 Dead, a throng of zombies are trying to keep you out of a safe room, in Payday, you rob banks, take hostages and mow down legions of cops. According to a post on the Overkill blog, spotted by VG247, the Payday devs are working with Valve on a collaboration that will bring both concepts together.

"We are excited to be able to confirm that an in-depth collaboration between OVERKILL and Valve is currently in production." says Overkill director Ulf Andersson. "We are working on a very cool blend of PAYDAY and Left 4 Dead."

A "cool blend," eh. Time to indiscriminately mash Left 4 Dead and Payday's premises together until something works. Zombies robbing a bank? Survivors robbing a zombie bank? Tanks robbing a bank? Crims robbing a bank staffed by Tanks? This isn't working. What do you think it'll be?
PC Gamer
Portal Gun 3
We've seen some impressive fan-made Portal guns in the past, but they've been rare, costly one-off projects. Valve are giving us the chance to get hold of our own Aperture Science Handheld Portal Devices without having to burn ourselves horribly putting together an injection mould. Joystiq mention that, at Valve's request, toy manufacturers, NECA have put together a life-sized Portal gun. It'll hit the shops this summer with a $130 price tag attached.

There will be lights and those lights will change colour, but will it make the "pwung" noise? There's only one way to find out, and that's to buy at least five. Perhaps ten. Maybe more. More. MORE.

NECA will also be releasing a line of Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life action figures, a few of which were shown off at the NYC Toy Fair. The Team Fortress 2 wiki has a snap of the new figures, you'll find that below along with a few shots of that Portal gun. Baggsy the Heavy.







PC Gamer



This is the full length version of the Left 4 Dead fan film that was teased two weeks ago. With Bill's tragic demise, the Left 4 Dead crew are a member short. On the way to a safe room three blocks away they find a replacement. And then another one. And then another, until everything's gone a bit mad. Which one would you pick to become the crew's new fourth member?
PC Gamer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBamb_bBhbo

Of the pile of custom L4D2 campaigns I've played, Questionable Ethics has stuck with me most. It's filled with surprise; a white-walled gauntlet of mystery and torture that you must, must, must download. I introduced Tyler and Chris to the four-stage campaign, then we sat down to talk about it.
PC Gamer



This is just a sneak peak of a longer fan film that creators Airsoft GI are planning to release soon, spotted on RPS. It's been a great year for classy fan films, from the Fallout 3 film, Nuka Break, to Beyond Black Mesa and Infectious Designer's recent Half-Life inspired short, Origins. From the looks of the trailer, this Left 4 Dead film could top them all. Look, Zoey's even clutching Bill's discarded beret. Poor Bill :(
PC Gamer
Portal 2 comic - part 2
A 304 page collection Valve comics is set to be released in the US later this year, according to listings on the Dark Horse site, spotted by Kotaku. The tome will be called Valve Presents: The Sacrifice and other Steam-Powered Stories, and will contain all of the promotional comics Valve have released online over the last year or so, including Left 4 Dead comic, The Sacrifice, the recent Portal 2 comic, and the excellent Team Fortress 2 shorts. The collection will cost $29.99 and is out on November 16. You'll find the cover art below, click to view it full size.

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