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New Valve studio headed up by former PopCap devs
New Valve studio headed up by former PopCap devs
December 14, 2012 | By Mike Rose

December 14, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Valve has acquired a San Francisco-based start-up founded by former PopCap staffers, and plans to set up a new subsidiary in the area.

Star Filled Studios was founded in September this year by Tod Semple and Jeff Gates. Semple was previously a developer on Plants vs. Zombies at PopCap, and has also worked at LucasArts on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and on Diablo III with Blizzard North.

Meanwhile, Gates previously worked on Spore at Maxis, and also developed Diablo III and worked at PopCap.

In a statement to Edge, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell confirmed, "The guys who did PvZ, down in the Bay Area, we're helping them set up a Valve subsidiary there."

Newell didn't give any hints regarding what the studio will be tasked with over the coming months. Gamasutra has contacted Semple for confirmation.

This is Valve's second acquisition, the first being Left 4 Dead studio Turtle Rock in 2008 -- although Turtle Rock was slowly broken down afterwards, and eventually revealed that it is working on its own new IP.

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Carlo Delallana
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That sound you hear are the cries of agony of many HR departments at SF Bay Area game studios.

Harlan Sumgui
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haha, true dat.

Evan Combs
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I must be missing something cause I don't get this reference?

Joe McGinn
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n short: almost everyone wants to work for Valve.

Few can, in practice. Some people work a lot less well than they imagined they would without someone telling them what to do. And Valve themselves are notoriously picky. But the core idea of game developers just working and making things, unencumbered by anyone not on the dev team, is enormously appealing.

Philip Michael Norris
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I just want to say I like the guy's pic.

Dave Watkins
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I think this article might have been a bit misinformed. For starters, I don't think Jeff Gates worked on Plants vs. Zombies at all. If you look through all the credits on any version of the game, his name doesn't show up anywhere except "special thanks." As far as I know, the people who made PvZ were: George Fan (creator and designer -- basically, he is the brains and heart behind the game. He was working on it independently before PopCap came to him), Tod Semple (programmer), Rich Werner (artist), and Laura Shigihara (audio).

On a side note, it's really weird that Valve would acquire a studio on the basis of "Plants vs. Zombies" without George Fan being part of that.

Ramon Carroll
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Good news on both fronts. I love Valve, and I love seeing devs get jobs. Good luck, guys.

Scott Ridell
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The facts in this article are incorrect.

Jeff Gates had nothing to do with the creation, development, programming, art or music on Plants vs. Zombies. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Why is he getting PR as having anything to do with it? Weird.
I dont think anyone has done their research.