Why the Campo Santo team hung up their indie spurs and joined Valve
"It’s going to be a nice experience to focus on making the video game without having to worry about the super structure surrounding us.”
- Campo Santo co-founder Jake Rodkin discusses the move to Valve
The co-founders of Firewatch dev Campo Santo sat down with Rock Paper Shotgun to dig into the decisions that led the studio to leave indie game development and instead join up with Valve.
Some of the conversations co-founders Sean Vanaman and Jake Rodkin had both with themselves and their team members might sound all too familiar to fellow indie developers that had had their day-to-day development responsibilities overtaken by the obligations that accompany running a studio.
“Last year Jake and I were just doing a lot of talking about the future of the company and the future of our careers and what we wanted from Campo Santo,” explained Vanaman. “We went out in the world and we were talking to a lot of friends and partners about that. We knew we were making the Valley of Gods, we knew we were super excited about it; we knew we had big ambitions for the game.”
“Both of us were doing multiple jobs, and me doing game development and studio direction, we realized the company probably wasn’t going to be like – we were going to have to make some sort of changes.”
During that process, Vanaman and Rodkin spoke with Valve about where to take Campo Santo next, a conversation that would eventually evolve into talks about the Campo Santo team bringing their in-development project In the Valley of Gods to Valve.
And as the duo explains to RPS, joining up with Valve has the benefit of being able to focus on video game development once again rather than the intricacies of running a business. But also, leaving Campo Santo behind to work at Valve has the added bonus of allowing the team to still have a considerable amount of freedom, thanks to Valve’s notably unique internal structure.