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What’s Gabe Newell Doing In This Kickstarter Promotional Video?

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This quite surprised me when I first spotted it.

What’s Gabe Newell Doing In This Kickstarter Promotional Video?

In the promotional video for the Kickstarter game project CLANG, (being developed by Neal Stephenson‘s Subutai Corporation, CLANG is actually currently being built on the Source engine as a proof-of-concept, although the final product will run on the Unity engine), Gabe Newell makes this amusing cameo appearance:

It’s a pretty meaningful and, perhaps, poignant scene. Gabe is dilligently banging away at the golden crowbar with care and strength alike, stating that “these things, they take time“. No one’s going to rush him into doing it any faster – and, in fact, he does pretty clearly imply, within those five words, that it’s still quite far from completion, even at this time. And, so – fair enough!

So don’t dismiss this as a publicity stunt or a “trolling attempt” (whatever that term may mean, at this point), because this whole scene might have been one of Valve’s most sincere and, perhaps, thoughtful attempts to reconcile the Half-Life community during this very long wait. I don’t know if Neal came up with it, or if Gabe had the idea – but whoever did, it worked out really well, and I’d say it was a win-win for everybody.

In a brief chat with Kotaku, Gabe touched a bit on how this cameo came to be:

“Neal and I met a couple of years ago. We had a couple of friends in common, and they decided they wanted to smash us into each other and see what happened. I am a big fan of what Neal is trying to do with CLANG, so he asked me to put in an appearance in the video. We are happy to help Neal and his team out. They’ve been to our offices a bunch, and several people at Valve attend the sword training they do.”

And if Newell looks like he knows what he’s doing with that anvil and hammer, he does. “I have a forge and a CNC mill in my garage,” he said. “The anvil in the shoot is mine, and is made by Nimba Anvils here in Washington State. The hammer I was using was made by a friend of mine in Arizona: Tai Goo.”

In addition, it does seem that during this video, Gabe is still wearing his Parsifal cap, which he first wore at GDC 2012. Parsifal, just in case you didn’t know, is a three-act opera, which took Richard Wagner 25 years to fully realize and create – from the 29th of April, 1857 to the 26th of July, 1882. Could have been worse – Gabe could have been wearing a SMiLE T-shirt.

CLANG itself, by the way, looks to be pretty amazing. If I were you, I’d take a closer look at it, through this in-depth informational video. If I hadn’t pledged as much as I did for Wasteland 2, I’d be putting something towards this as well. Also, Neal Stephenson is awesome. Just saying.


  1. – Again?

  2. So much conspiracy theories…

  3. It’s funny, how many little “Hints” there are in what Gabe said.

    1) It’s a crowbar.

    2) He strikes the hammer THREE times.

    3) These Things (2 words) *pause* They Take Time (3 Words) [Half-Life TWO: Episode THREE]

    4) If you add up all the letters These (5) Things (6), They (4) Take (4) Time (4). You get 23 letters. [Half-Life *2*: Episode *3*]

    This is either the greatest thing Gabe has done in his not saying anything on HL2:EP3, or coincidence upon coincidence of awesome.

    Its interesting either way..

  4. These things, they take VALVᴱ time.

  5. I don’t think that Gabe is telling us the development stage of Half-Life 3; if he were going to, I don’t think it would be as vague as this. I think he is simply giving a nod to the Half-Life fans to let them know that Half-Life is being worked on and that Valve want to make sure it’s perfect before they release it.

    • Oh, certainly. But the message itself: “these things take time”, does carry that implication that the game is still a fair bit away from us at this point in time. I’m only saying this because some people misinterpreted this very scene as signs of an impending announcement, which is… pretty silly.

      • Yeah, I have to agree on this, it’s just to tell us this: “it is in development, hang in there” nothing else.
        But this is STILL the best news I’ve heard since there last concept art they’ve released for the game years ago, at least there showing something now!! Even if it’s a secret message!
        I actually thought this was bloody clever, but what am I saying, this is Valve, of course it’s clever.

  6. Maybe VRAD ad?

  7. > hammer
    > time
    It’s Hammer time!

  8. This is what he meant to say:

  9. Thats crowbar seems to be almost finished, should it mean something?

    • No, it means nothing. The crowbar had to be recognizable. If Gabe wanted to make it seem like the project was almost ready, he wouldn’t have clearly implied it still requires some time in development, by saying precisely what he said. Don’t get your hopes up.

  10. I’m a giant Neal Stephenson fan – he is one of those writers who seem born for the Internet age. Snow Crash is a work of genius.

    The sight of him and Gabe in the same room is one of the few things I’d value over Half-Life 3.

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