After leaving in 2017, Half-Life 2 co-writer Erik Wolpaw has returned to Valve.
For the past decade or so, Valve's interest appeared to be focused on very specific ventures. Cementing Steam as the top PC store was one such, with the Vive, Steam Link, their controller and other various side projects filling out their time. Dota 2, Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike have been in live development, but in terms of new games, the studio had moved away. However, things have been changing. While not the single player experience the studio built its name on, Artifact shows that Valve is looking to start making games again. Hell, CEO Gabe Newell even said so.
Supporting that, Half-Life 2 writer Erik Wolpaw has apparently returned to the company. As pointed out by Shacknews, Wolpaw's name appears in the credits of Artifact, which then prompted a fan to contact Newell's publicly available email address about if the writer had returned. Surprisingly enough, Newell responded (which was verified by Valve News Network) saying the writer is indeed back.
There is no real indication of what Wolpaw is doing at the company and if his writing is being expanded past Artifact, but it certainly sets the mind wondering. Valve is talking more openly about game development and it looks like they want to get back into releasing new games. Bringing back an old writer who was responsible for games like Half-Life 2 and Portal certainly makes things interesting in terms of what the future might hold. I'm not going to say we should get excited for Portal 3 or, god forbid, Half-Life 3… but they certainly feel just a little bit closer now.