Far Cry 2 and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory creative director Clint Hocking has left his job as designer and level designer at Valve. During his tenure at the Seattle studio from 2012 to date, he is suspected of having played a key role in the rumoured development of Left 4 Dead 3.
Hocking first cryptically announced his association with Valve in July 2012, when he tweeted a picture of his young son climbing a lobby ornament. In the time since, none of his work at the studio has emerged in the public eye - but his name was listed as part of Left 4 Dead 3’s supposed team in a leaked internal database.
Hocking had always seemed like a perfect fit for Valve’s self-directed studio culture. First hired at Ubisoft Montreal as a level designer on the original Splinter Cell, he became the most visible proponent of the publisher’s flagship studio by the time he’d shipped his third game - Far Cry 2. Hocking preached an emergent design philosophy, solidified in a series of GDC talks, at odds with industry reliance on scripted entertainment.
Since leaving Ubisoft in 2010, however, Hocking has worked exclusively on mystery projects. He laboured at LucasArts for more than two years as creative director on an unannounced game, before moving to Seattle to join Valve.
Hocking’s is one of the more exciting minds in games-making, and we can only hope that whatever he worked on at Valve makes it to market with his stamp still visible on the box. And that wherever he lands next - with the support of a new publisher or in a new indie endeavour - we'll finally be privy to the results of his labour.
It’s often said that Chaos Theory is the best Splinter Cell, and Far Cry 2 the finest example of its own series. That’s up for debate, though. Care to disagree?