Valve CEO, Gabe Newell, spoke with Develop magazine about the future of their Source Engine used in their video games. According to the man in charge himself, Gabe has said Valve has no plans on releasing a brand new Source Engine 2. The current Source Engine has been in development since 2004. Over the years it has been improved upon in what Newell calls an “incremental update model”. The idea behind it is to continually fix, improve, and polish the current game engine instead of rewriting one from the ground up.
So far the Source Engine has been holding its own over the years. Left 4 Dead 1 and Left 4 Dead 2 both used improved versions of the Source Engine and their graphics have been satisfying. Sure the Source Engine will not give us Crysis-like graphics, but not everyone can run Crysis on their computer. Valve uses their Steam software to track what hardware all of their users are using. You can see the latest Steam hardware and software survey here. I can’t see Valve ever releasing a game engine that pushes the latest graphic card limits. It’s not in their business model. They want to appeal to casual gamers because there are more of them than the hardcore gamers who spend big bucks to keep up with the latest hardware.
What does this news mean for Left 4 Dead 3? Should we see L4D3 in the next year or two, you can forget about it being developed on a new Source Engine. Left 4 Dead fans can expect to see L4D 3 on the same Source engine as L4D1 and L4D2, but more polished and improved. Don’t discount Left 4 Dead 3, or any other future Valve game because it uses the same old Source Engine. Maybe their engine is capable of producing Crysis-like graphics but it is held back because not many people can run those settings. Only Valve knows what their game engine is capable of and when it has reached its max potential. Until then, we will continue to fight the zombie hordes on the same Source Engine Gordon Freeman used to fight the Combine.