Portal writer Erik Wolpaw has returned to Valve.
Wolpaw announced his departure back in February 2017 via a post on his Facebook, stating simply that he’d left Valve software but without indicating where he was going next. His departure followed other high profile exits by Chet Felizak and Marc Laidlaw.
Wolpaw had been at Valve for over a decade, joining the company in 2005 before working on several of their hit franchises including Portal, Left 4 Dead, and Half Life 2: Episode One and Episode Two. Before working at Valve, Wolpaw co-created gaming site Old Man Murray and was a senior writer at GameSpot, before serving as the writer for Double Fine Productions’ Psychonauts.
Rumours of his return surfaced when his name was reportedly spotted on the credits on Artifact, which traditionally consists of all Valve employees at the time of publication. Next, an allegedly leaked email from Valve’s Gabe Newell stated "He’s back" in reply to an email with the header: "Erik Wolpaw back at Valve?"
I’m trying to confirm the legitimacy of this email, however according to it, Erik Wolpaw is back at Valve. The co-writer of the Half Life episodes, Portal and Portal 2. pic.twitter.com/Jy1WSIw3ZS
— Tyler McVicker (@ValveNewsNetwor) January 4, 2019
Wolpaw has since confirmed to Polygon that he’s helping Valve on a contractual basis, working with primarily with writers Jay Pinkerton, Steve Jaros, and Sean Vanaman.
“I’ve had a contractor agreement with Valve since the day I stormed out and then immediately timidly stormed back in to ask could I please have my old job back and they said no and I was like good because I’m too busy to work for you anyway and they said but you can be a contractor and I said oh thank god okay I’ll do that,” Wolpaw said via email. "I’ve been helping Pinkerton and Jaros and Vanaman whenever they need it. It’s been busier on that front lately, but I’m not currently a full time employee. My main gig is still delivering juice for my niece Jodi’s vegan juice shop plus an unpaid internship playing Slay the Spire three hours a day."