Gabe Newell has been in the news a lot lately, mostly related to Steam and its upcoming console hardware. This time, however, the Valve founder is sharing the spotlight with none other than J.J. Abrams. The two took to the stage together at the DICE Summit yesterday. After a back-and-forth talk touching on the differences in storytelling between games and movies, a topic two men have apparently been discussing with each other for years, it was revealed that Valve is working with Abrams' Bad Robot Productions on several projects, including movie adaptations of Half-Life and Portal, plus a game based on an entirely new intellectual property.
Polygon has extensive coverage of the announcement, including an interview with Abrams himself. While the blockbuster producer, director, and writer avoids revealing many specifics about the projects, he does drop a few details. The prospect of Half-Life and Portal movies actually happening is "as real as anything in Hollywood ever gets," he says, noting that a writer is being brought on board. Abrams goes on to reassure fans of the franchises, promising to treat those properties "with the respect [Valve] treat their games and their players with."
The unnamed game project is apparently in the early stages, with the inspiration coming from Abrams and his Bad Robot studio. Here's a choice snippet from The Verge's interview; good luck trying to decipher what the game is about.
The originating idea for his game, he said, was about a "kind of experience that could be fun and sort of taking elements of things that I know and want to play and combining them into something I hadn't seen before."
"It was less about a specific thing," he said.
Abrams doesn't know how much time he'll have to devote to the game—he has the future of the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises in his hands, after all. Nonetheless, he seems genuinely enthusiastic about not only the medium, but also Valve's work. I suspect interesting things will come from this potential power couple.