Marc Laidlaw, who helped write the Half-Life series and the original Portal, has announced his departure from Valve after 18 years of service. Reports of Laidlaw leaving the company surfaced on Reddit, which he later verified to several publications. Speaking to Gamasutra, he said that he needed a break from “the collaborative chaos of game production” and wants to work on self-directed writing projects.
I am no longer a full or part-time Valve employee, no longer involved in day to day decisions or operations, no longer a spokesman for the company, no longer privy to most types of confidential information, no longer working on Valve games in any capacity. My nickname when I first started at Valve in 1997 was ‘old man Laidlaw.’ The little baby level designer who gave me that nickname is now older than I was then. I had a good run but lately I have been feeling a need for a break from the collaborative chaos of game production, and a return to more self-directed writing projects. I will almost certainly get back to writing more stories of my own, that’s simply my default setting. Working on games has been an amazing education, a vocation, an entire career I never expected to have.
I found a calling that didn’t even exist when I was a sprout. But it feels like the time is right to return to my roots and see where that takes me. It might take me back into games by other routes, but currently that’s not part of the plan. I’ll be exploring for a while.
We wish Laidlaw the best of luck! As for Half-Life 3, it still remains a mystery.