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Interview: Valve's Doug Lombardi

Half-Life 2: Episode 3, Left 4 Dead, Portal: Still Alive and the one feature that didn't make it into The Orange Box...

Valve is quickly becoming one of the major players on Xbox 360.

With The Orange Box one of the acclaimed games of last year, Valve is set for further success in 2008 with its frantic zombie FPS Left 4 Dead shaping up to be chaotic co-op fun.

With Portal: Still Alive just announced and the impossible-to-ignore distant rumblings of Half-Life 2: Episode 3 being felt for the first time, OXM caught up with Valve's Marketing Director Doug Lombardi to check in on the state of affairs with the developers...

So is this the proper Portal sequel we've been waiting for?
No, no, no. It's designed to give Xbox 360 gamers the chance to get Portal, for those who didn't want to go through the Orange Box. It's Portal, the game we all played and loved last year, plus 10-20 new challenges that you'll unlock.

And are those challenges also going to be on PC later on?
Perhaps. They're going to be exclusive to Xbox 360 in 2008.

Where did the new maps come from, the original team or are they inspired by maps the mod community has created?
A little bit of both. We haven't hired anyone from the mod community yet but there are a couple of people out there we're keeping an eye on.

Will there be more DLC to follow for Portal?
We'll see. It's a bit of a first for not just us but the platform to have a game this big that isn't an arcade style game. We're always looking for ways to make interesting new content and get it out there. We'll see if people like it and if it makes sense to do more we'll do more.

Would you think about bringing older Valve games like Counter-Strike to XBLA?
We'll certainly consider it. If you look at what we've done on steam, we try to make all our games available and we're always reviewing the prices to keep them current. We'd love to do that, but this is our first step at doing that beyond the PC.

Is this on Xbox 360 because you're more familiar with developing for it?
Right now, Valve's doing PC and 360 stuff, so anything we would iterate on would be on Xbox. We don't have any immediate plans to do this on PS3 or Nintendo.

Will we see the new Team Fortress 2 updates on Xbox 360?
I think so, it's another pathway to getting new content out there. On 360 there are a few things we have to discuss such as, is it free or is it paid for? Right now we're accumulating a lot of TF2 content for PC and at some point there'll be a sweet amount of stuff that's ready to go and large enough that if people have to pay for it, they'll be happy.

Are you staying quiet on Episode 3 until after Left 4 Dead comes out?
Absolutely. We'll probably be making some new announcements at the end of this year or early next year.

How's the Xbox 360 version of Left 4 Dead coming on?
Great! With Orange Box we made a lot of progress on getting the engine working with Xbox 360 and we're really proud of how the interface translated across. Now we've got split screen in Left 4 Dead, which was something I was really pushing for with the Orange Box. But that was a big chunk of work and didn't happen. Now Left 4 Dead is coming, I'm back on my soap box and I have a reason!

Did you record new lines of dialogue for GLaDOS?
No, this is purely about new challenges. We're not going to extend the narrative until later. We thought about it, but there's kind of an ending to that one and we didn't want to mess with that.

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