“We’re not going to discuss why anyone in particular is or isn’t working here,” says Gabe Newell.
In the wake of an as yet unknown number of firings/layoffs/downsizing at Valve – including the likes of Jeri Ellsworth and possibly also Jason Holtman, though the circumstances of his departure are unclear – Gabe Newell has issued a statement. There’s nothing to worry about, he says, and that’s pretty much all he says.
The full statement reads as follows:
We don’t usually talk about personnel matters for a number of reasons. There seems to be an unusual amount of speculation about some recent changes here, so I thought I’d take the unusual step of addressing them. No, we aren’t cancelling any projects. No, we aren’t changing any priorities or projects we’ve been discussing. No, this isn’t about Steam or Linux or hardware or [insert game name here]. We’re not going to discuss why anyone in particular is or isn’t working here.
Valve isn’t a publicly traded company, and consequently doesn’t have to have the same level of shareholder-reassuring PR that, say, a Blizzard would. That said, Valve is a very high profile operation, and has invested in some pretty interesting hardware projects. It would be unusual if people didn’t speculate when a number of employees, many of whom have excellent resumes – the guy who did Gollum for Weta may have gone, the guy who worked on the original Half Life may have gone, the Team Fortress 2 art lead may have gone – apparently get the boot. It doesn’t help when phrases like “great cleansing” and “large decisions” are being thrown around by departing staff. Newell’s best Officer Krupke impression may not be enough to curb speculation, this time.