Gabe Newell is a hard guy to nail down for an interview, so when the Nerdist Podcast managed to snag an hour of his time, they had our complete attention. Sadly Half Life 3 wasn’t on the agenda, but several questions with regards to the company’s upcoming steam box were answered, including what they have in mind as an input device.
According to Newell several patents have been filed on the controllers design, and they are still hard at work finding a form factor they are happy with. Going with a unique controller design is a curious and bold design choice, especially when you consider how many PC games were optimized for the Xbox 360 gamepad. It was probably unrealistic to assume they would bundle a Microsoft gamepad with a Linux small form factor PC, but it still leads to an interesting dilemma. Will a Valve designed PC Gamepad rally support from game designers? Or will it simply splinter the market and hurt compatibility in the long run.
Nintendo has proved with the Wii U that innovation is still possible when it comes to gaming input devices, however developer support for controllers is at an all-time high on the PC, and the Xbox 360 Games for Windows Controller is largely to thank. We can certainly appreciate that the majority of PC gamers wouldn’t pick a controller over a mouse and keyboard nine times out of ten, but it still has a place for platformers or lean back single player experiences.
Gabe Newell also mentioned that Valve had received pitches from Hollywood studios to produce Half Life and Left for Dead inspired movies, but they declined due to creative differences (i'm being diplomatic).
"There really were people who came to us with proposals of: ‘Okay, it's Half-Life 1, and there are horses, and it's a cavalry charge, and it's high-tech carbon armor on the horses. We were like, ‘What the fuck are you talking about? Have you even played this?'"