The rumor mill has been full of speculation after Valve trademarked NEON PRIME. However, most of the theories revolved around a potential entry to the Half-Life series, possibly the long-fabled Half-Life 3. But, according to Tyler McVicker, formerly known as Valve News Network, everyone's been wrong all along. Instead of a Half-Life spin-off, NEON PRIME is set in the Dota 2 universe and IceFrog is involved.
According to McVicker's sources, NEON PRIME might be a sci-fi take on the Dota universe with IceFrog at the helm.
The Dota universe is deep and diverse. Valve has plenty of avenues it can explore in Dota 2 even if this was technically the goal of Artifact, which failed at launch.
Valve Software's indev game, NEON PRIME, is likely a DOTA-adjacent Sci-Fi game, made by ICEFROG, taking place in other dementions, such as the Continuum or the Moons of Ultoria. It is likely NOT an FPS, and obviously, unrelated to Half-Life: Citadel, Valve's other indev game. pic.twitter.com/6L5PoJ9RT7
— Tyler McVicker (@Tyler_McV) October 26, 2022
Dota 2 finds itself at a crossroads. On one hand, the anime adaptation on Netflix proved to be quite popular and a fourth season could be on its way. However, Dota 2 itself is past its prime. The prize pool for The International 2022 ($17.9 million) currently sits lower than the prize pool of The International 2015 ($18.4 million). After peaking last year at $40 million, there's a genuine concern among the Dota 2 community that the progenitor of the MOBA genre will slowly die out within the decade.
It's a good idea to start expanding Dota 2 so it's not just one massive cesspool of toxicity as a community. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how the reclusive Dota 2 community responds to a spin-off in a different genre.
Of course, you can't help but worry given Dota 2's awful spin-off track record. In addition to Artifact, Dota Underlords' player base is nonexistent. This stands in stark contrast to the Riot Games approach. The handful of League of Legends spin-offs are equally successful in their genres.
If NEON Prime is indeed a Dota 2 spin-off, the closest we'll get to a proper reveal is at the climax of The International 2022, which will be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on October 29 and 30.
In other Valve news, a designer at the company confirmed that the privately-owned video game development studio is working on multiple exciting projects. A later datamining attempt confirmed that this is indeed the case.