A datamine found multiple references within the Aperture Desk Job files that refer to four different Valve games.
As reported by Tyler McVicker, a journalist with a specialism in Valve’s work, the recently released Aperture Desk Job (a small game designed for the Steam Deck) contains folders with multiple detailed references to four different games: Citadel, a Source 2 port of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a follow-up to Half-Life: Alyx, and a recreation of a previously cancelled Portal game. These projects were not officially announced by Valve.
Citadel data is contained in the datamine. It runs for over 70 pages. “Citadel appears to be a Combine vs rebels, team-based, squad-based, class-based RTS/FPS hybrid,” McVicker explained. “The game appears to have a campaign, a single-player campaign and two major systems at play.”
McVicker reports on Citadel, which places players in the position of a commander capable of leading squads of AI robots. This can be done from a bird’s eye view, or you can drop down onto the battlefield and take direct control of either your commander or other squad members.
It’s unclear from this leak if Citadel is a game in active development at Valve. This studio often creates prototypes and projects that never make it to the public. This datamine offers a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain. Although some files are hard to understand, there are many notes that can help give a glimpse of what Citadel was/is/could become.
The squad based game features groups of AI bots that have a dynamic behaviour system based on “mood” and “memory”. Both the bots and the player have access to weapons, upgrades and alternate fire systems as well as passive buffs. These are considered “held abilities” that need to be attached to the player’s body, pointing to the fact that Citadel would be a VR game. McVicker’s exploration of the files suggests Citadel would work on “pancake” systems, too (that’s a normal PC to you and I).
Aperture Desk Job Screens
There’s very little detail about the other three games referenced in the datamine. McVickers mentions SteamPal several times. McVickers states that SteamPal was a Steam Deck remake F-Stop. A cancelled sequel to Portal, better known under the name Aperture Camera, McVickers also mentioned it. There’s also references to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive being moved to the updated Source 2 engine, as well as what could be a sequel to Half-Life: Alyx. As with Citadel, it’s unclear if these are projects currently in active development at Valve, things that have been cancelled, or projects built for different reasons entirely. The datamine is not proof that Valve intends to release these games.
That won’t stop many from hoping, though, as almost every Valve game released has been an astonishing success. Last year’s Half-Life: Alyx was a masterpiece of VR design, and demonstrated that the company’s campaign sensibilities still feel as strong as ever more than a decade after the last game in the series.
Matt Purslow is IGN UK News and Entertainment Editor.