Valve has hired a number of developers from Squad, the team behind acclaimed PC sim Kerbal Space Program.
Although the developers were hired around six months ago, the news only surfaced recently. Speaking on the Game Dev Unchained podcast, Roger Lundeen, who worked as an environmental designer at Valve between 2010 and 2013, indicated that Valve is paying close attention to smaller devs and modders.
"[Valve] is still buying up mod teams," he said. "There's the group that made Kerbal Space [Program]–I think that happened four or five, [maybe] six months ago. They just gave that entire team jobs."
During the podcast Lundeed referred to ex-Squad members as "modders," which briefly led to some confusion as to whether Valve had hired people from the main Kerbal Space Program development team or modders that had created content based on the game.
PCGamesN received clarification that Lundeed did indeed mean former Squad developers, not modders. While it's unclear what they're working on, a representative for Valve also told the site that "they joined a little while ago" and there will be "more news about what they are doing soon."
In late 2016, a number of key developers from Squad left the team. The timing seems to match up with the timeframe mentioned by Lundeed regarding when the ex-Kerbal developers joined Valve. These developers were "Mike (Mu), Bill (Taniwha), Nathanael (NathanKell), Sébastien (Sarbian), Jim (Romfarer), Brian (Arsonide), Chris (Porkjet), and Nathan (Claw)."
In GameSpot's Kerbal Space Program review, Justin Clark awarded it a 9/10, saying "you will fail at this game. It will demoralize you and it will stress you out, but, more often than not, it will soothe, quiet, and inspire you."
He continued: "Innovative muscles will be stretched here that aren't stretched very often by games, and more complex moments require a sort of zen beyond being simply twitch-ready for a surprise attack. Even failure imparts a lesson. No matter how big or small the achievement, anything else that can be done is limited only by your imagination.
"Even with its cartoonish humor and quirks, Kerbal Space Program has an almost sacred respect for the tiny miracles involved in space travel, and even at its most difficult, it deserves that respect in return."