UPDATE 23/05/2017 5.45pm: Kerbal Space Program’s developer Squad has clarified that Valve only hired certain former members from the rocket simulator’s development team, not the whole team.
“To clarify Valve did not hire ‘the KSP team’ to join them, but rather hired several people who had once been a part of the Squad development team, and have not worked there for nearly a year,” said a Squad spokesperson in an email to Eurogamer.
“They formerly worked at Squad – they were never poached directly from Squad,” the developer noted.
“We want to clarify that Squad is not joining Valve, and we continue to be an independent studio with the core KSP team remaining at Squad, hard at work on the improved KSP for consoles port, Update 1.3 and the Making History Expansion. The KSP community shouldn’t be concerned about this news having any impact on the game,” the developer added in a statement on its forum.
“Regarding the developers joining Valve, it is important to note that we have had several people working on our team over the years, and it is common among development studios for team members to come and go. If some of them joined Valve, it is on their own behalf and we wish them good luck and success in their current and future endeavors.”
ORIGINAL STORY 22/05/2017 10.43pm: Valve has hired the team behind Kerbal Space Program to work on… something.
What the Kerbal developer, Squad, is doing at Valve is anyone’s guess, but one can only speculate that they’re working on a new game with the Half-Life 2 and Portal studio.
News of the Kerbal devs moving from their base of Mexico City to Valve’s Redmond, Washington headquarters came courtesy of the Game Dev Unchained podcast (via PC GamesN) where former Valve environmental designer Roger Lundeen mentioned the acquisition.
“They’re still buying up mod teams,” Lundeen said, unaware that Kerbal Space Program is its own game and not a mod.
“The modders who made Kerbal Space Station [sic]” he continued, “they just gave that entire team jobs.”
He noted that this happened around four to six months ago.
When asked for comment on how many former Squad staffers accepted jobs at Valve, a Valve spokesperson told Eurogamer “I can confirm that they joined Valve a while back. More details soon.”
Valve hiring whole teams at once is nothing new as Portal began as a student project before Valve saw how well the team worked together and decided to buy not just the idea, or the prototype, or cherry pick certain staffers. Instead, it brought the whole crew over as it saw their collaborative spark.
In the meantime, we know Valve is working on three “full” VR games. Perhaps the Kerbal devs are the masterminds behind one of them?
We awarded Kerbal Space Program the highly coveted Eurogamer Essential badge, after all. Thus the team working with Valve sounds very promising indeed.