Fans of 2017 indie forest exploration title Firewatch (including us) have been excited for developer Campo Santo’s next project, the Egyptian-influenced In the Valley of Gods, since it was announced in late 2017. Those fans got even more excited when Valve acquired Campo Santo in 2018, suggesting big things were in the works from both companies ahead of the game’s planned 2019 release.
But with 2019 drawing to a close, and with 19 months of radio silence regarding the game’s progress, Campo Santo fans began to worry that In the Valley of Gods had joined a long list of canceled Valve game projects. Those worries heightened when a number of Campo Santo developers removed all mention of In the Valley of the Gods from their Twitter profiles following last month’s announcement of Half-Life: Alyx.
This week, Campo Santo cofounder Jake Rodkin confirmed some of those fears to Polygon, saying that development of In the Valley of Gods is officially “on hold,” but it “certainly feels like a project people can and may return to.” As he put it in a statement:
To fans looking forward to In the Valley of Gods, it’s probably clear that the optimistic “2019” at the end of the announcement trailer isn’t going to be accurate. In the end, Valve Time makes fools of us all. But yes, developers from the former Campo Santo team have joined other projects at Valve, including Half-Life: Alyx.
As you can imagine, our experience in the first-person adventure genre is pretty relevant. You hear a lot about how at Valve you can work on what you want. It turns out that’s true, and there’s a lot of work available. As we integrated ourselves into Valve it became clear there was a lot of valuable work to be done on Half-Life: Alyx. Some of us [started] lending a hand, and have since become full-time on the project as it approaches launch. Similarly, some ex-Campos are working on Dota Underlords, some are on Steam, and so on.
So to answer your question as of today, In the Valley of Gods development is on hold—but it certainly feels like a project people can and may return to. And when that happens, we’ll find an exciting way to let fans know.
While it’s nice to see Valve putting actual resources into new game development again, it’s a bit bittersweet that the effort comes at the apparent expense of an original indie project from a recently acquired developer.
The Steam page for In the Valley of Gods now lists a “TBD” release date, though it also says the game is “currently in development.”