Gabe Newell’s unusual response to Valve layoffs

2 min read


Valve has always been very private about personnel matters; I don’t think I’ve ever seen the words “Valve” and “layoffs” in the same article before. But the impossible has happened and the news-hungry press hounds have gotten wind of the very recent layoffs.

Yesterday’s word of hardware hacker Jeri Ellsworth’s departure from the company was anything but an isolated event. According to an update on PC Gamer there were nine employees let go, most notably people who worked on Team fortress 2, Half-Life 2 and Left 4 Dead. Full list below:

  • Moby Francke, Half-Life 2 character designer and Team Fortress 2 art lead
  • Jason Holtman, director of business development for Steam and Steamworks
  • Keith Huggins, character animator and animator for Team Fortress 2 “Meet the” video series
  • Tom Leonard, software engineer for Half-Life 2 and Left 4 Dead
  • Realm Lovejoy, artist for Half-Life 2, Portal, and Left 4 Dead. She was also part of the original DigiPen-turned-Valve team that created Narbacular Drop, the inspiration for Portal
  • Marc Nagel, test lead for Half-Life, Counter-Strike, and patch updates
  • Bay Raitt, animator for Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, and Portal
  • Elan Ruskin, engine programmer for Left 4 Dead, Portal 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Matthew Russell, animator for Team Fortress 2 “Meet the” video series
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This however does not mean that any projects are being cancelled at Valve or that the company is in trouble. Valve boss man Gabe Newell decided to do the “unusual” thing and address the rumours floating around, here’s what the Master Race Overlord had to say:

“We don’t usually talk about personnel matters for a number of reasons. There seems to be an unusual amount of speculation about some recent changes here, so I thought I’d take the unusual step of addressing them. No, we aren’t canceling any projects. No, we aren’t changing any priorities or projects we’ve been discussing. No, this isn’t about Steam or Linux or hardware or [insert game name here]. We’re not going to discuss why anyone in particular is or isn’t working here.” 

Thanks for the…uh…clarification, Gabe.

Last Updated: February 14, 2013

  • Sir Captain Rincethis

    Well, that clears, erm… Yeah. That’s cleared up.

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    While it’s sad so many people were laid off I do kind of tip my hat to them for keeping all reasons behind employment status private.

    When you are laid off you don’t really always want the world to know. It’s emotional enough enough as it is for the person(s) involved.

    • Admiral Chief Erwin


  • Twakkie

    Looks like times are getting tough even for the Valve powerhouse.

    • Admiral Chief Erwin

      I don’t think so, I sense something else…

      • Twakkie

        Is your Kempff senses tingling again? I thought they gave you an ointment for that 😛 But seriously what do you suspect then? Did they steal Gabes food?

        • AndriyP


        • Admiral Chief Erwin

          They were in his bases, killing his d00ds

          • Twakkie

            Lol 🙂

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew


  • Izzy

    Oh man, whatever caused the lay-offs, I really hope it doesn’t turn out to be a big internal cluster-f*ck at Valve. Casa de Valve is one of the last remaining bastions of quality I can safely return to when the industry disappoints.

    • Admiral Chief Erwin


  • DarthofZA

    If you know how Valve works internally, they do peer reviews once a year. Maybe those guys all got really bad peer reviews and their performance has just not been up to scratch, so they got the axe so to speak.

    • Admiral Chief Erwin

      And big up for them not disclosing why.

      Personally I feel posting on twitter you got fired, when you are somewhat famous, is not a good idea nor is it good practise

  • Uberutang

    Turns out the cake was a not a lie…but some people do not share …

  • matthurstrsa

    Nine is 3×3. That means HL3 is coming!

  • HvR

    Realm Lovejoy -> well there is your problem.

  • HvR

    Heard there was a “Gabe is so fat …” chain mail doing the rounds at Valve

    • HvR

      Gabe is so fat when walks into the Citadel the Combine Overlord starts singing “We – are – family …”

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