PC gamers often wonder what Valve's working on in its Bellevue, Washington headquarters. Half-Life 3? Left 4 Dead 3? A new version of the Source engine? All of the above, apparently. The roots of this story go back a ways, but let's start with the most recent development. A couple of days ago, a Dota 2 fan posted pictures taken during a recent tour of Valve's offices. Among them was a shot of a staffer's on-screen changelog, which mentioned both L4D3 and Source 2.
According to Rock, Paper, Shotgun's sources, the changelog is legit. Those sources didn't provide additional details, but one pointed the site toward information revealed by ValveTime in June. A bug in Jira's online project managment software briefly exposed the names of Valve's internal projects. Access to the database was quickly cut off, but ValveTime got its hands on a partial copy that confirms the existence of Half-Life 3, L4D3, and the Source 2 engine.
Interestingly, the Jira database revealed three project mailing lists associated with Left 4 Dead 3 but only one for Half-Life 3. ValveTime's sources claim the developer has nearly 70 people working on the zombie shooter, while the limited Jira data suggested Valve had 42 people collaborating on HL3. I wasn't expecting to see a new Left 4 Dead game before the next Half-Life adventure, but Valve seems to have more resources devoted to cashing in on the recent zombie craze.
None of this information has been confirmed by Valve, of course. The privately held company has long been secretive. It's also been known to drop subtle hints and engage fans in alternate reality games. That doesn't appear to be what's happening here, though. Unlike with the L4D3.ru countdown, which was confirmed on Twitter to be a hoax, there's been no official denial from Bellevue, either.
In any case, the information is hardly a revelation. Of course Valve is working on new Half-Life and Left 4 Dead games internally. And Valve would be foolish to not have a new Source engine in development. The real questions we want answered are when those projects—and the other curious entries in the Jira logs—will result in games we can actually play. And how long we'll have to wait to play them on a Steam console. Knowing how Valve Time usually works, it'll probably be a while.