Veteran Valve Half-Life Writer Marc Laidlaw Rides Off Into The Sunset Of Retirement

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.” Yes, something truly terrible has happened; famed Valve veteran Marc Laidlaw has left Valve after an incredible 18 years with the company.

If Laidlaw’s name isn’t instantly familiar to you, we’re sure you’ve heard of the games that he has been involved in during his illustrious career at Valve -- his mark on the gaming industry has been profound. Laidlaw served as the “sole writer” of both Half-Life and Half-Life 2, and as the “lead writer” for the follow-up Half-Life episodes. Given Laidlaw’s undeniable importance to the Half-Life franchise, his departure definitely doesn’t give us warm and fuzzy feelings about the mythical Half-Life 3 when and if it ever does materialize.

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redditor TeddyWolf first revealed the news of Laidlaw’s retirement from Valve, and posted screenshots of his email exchange on reddit. In the email, Laidlaw explained:

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. Imagine how much older I am! I had the unbelievable luck to fall in with the kids at Valve when they could have just dismissed me as an old fogey who didn’t know shit about video games.

Just for the record, Marc Laidlaw is 55 years old and is by no means past his prime.

As he no longer works for Valve, he can’t give out any information on what internal projects are cooking in the oven — **cough**, Half-Life 3 — and he honestly explained that “it would be inappropriate for me to answer questions of speculate openly on the fate of franchise.”

So what is a middle-aged Laidlaw going to do now that his time at Valve is now behind him? “I will almost certainly get back to writing more stories of my own; that’s simply my default setting,” said Laidlaw. “[It] feels like the time is right to return to my roots and see where that takes me.”