Chet Faliszek spent 12 years working at Valve on a variety of projects, but most recently he served as a figurehead for Valve's VR business and a contact point for indie developers. News broke today that Faliszek has left the company, and VR developers have publicly expressed their gratitude for his contributions to their projects and VR as a whole.
While at Valve, Faliszek wrote the stories for two episodes of the Half-Life series, two Portal games, and two Left4Dead games. In recent years, the writer shifted his focus to VR and became “the guy” from Valve’s VR team, where he served as an invaluable resource for the earliest members of the VR development community.
Faliszek doesn’t know what he plans to do next, but one thing’s for sure: his absence from the VR business will leave a void that will be hard to fill.
Faliszek’s passion for VR as a medium helped drive the Steam VR platform forward. Upon news of his departure from Valve, several leading VR developers sent tweets expressing their gratitude for what Faliszek did for them. According to them, we can thank Faliszek for his role in shaping some of the top-selling VR games today.
Dirk Van Welden, the founder of I-Illusions and creator of Space Pirate Trainer, said that “SPT wouldn’t have been the same without Faliszek and his colleagues and Valve.” Alex Schwartz, founder and CEO of Owlchemy Labs, thanked Faliszek “for believing in [them] early on and respecting [them] enough to say when something [they] built sucked.” Owlchemy Labs’ CTO, Devin Reimer, added that Faliszek “has done more for the VR industry than I think anyone can truly understand.” And Denny Ungar, founder of Cloudhead Games, thanked Faliszek for “sacrificing so much for VR and helping little guys like us make an impact on VR’s future.”
We had the pleasure of meeting Faliszek once, and we could tell right away that he would be a big influence on the VR industry. In January 2016, Valve invited us out to Seattle to get an early look at some of the content that would launch with the Vive later that year (including the three games mentioned above). During our time at the Steam VR Developers Showcase, we met at least a half-dozen Valve employees, but Faliszek is the only one we remember. He spoke passionately about the games that we and other journalists were trying out. We remember him describing Space Pirate Trainer to us before we had a chance to play it. The excitement he displayed got us excited to try the game before we had any idea what it was.
Faliszek traveled around the world to promote virtual reality and meet with developers. He made several presentations about virtual reality technology in the last two years, and he hosted a handful of roundtable discussions that encouraged VR developers to share what they’ve learned.
Faliszek told gamesindustry.biz that his departure from Valve was amicable. He didn’t have anything to say about his next chapter.
"[It was]Nothing exciting or drama filled," Faliszek told Gamesindustry.biz. "I worked there 12 years, shipped a bunch of great games and some amazing hardware and wanted to change things up. There's no news on what's next etc.; I will let you know when that happens."
It’s hard to imagine that someone with such passion for the VR industry would step away from it entirely. We don’t think we’ve heard the last from Chet Faliszek about virtual reality.