Dota 2’s mysterious developer, IceFrog, has apparently returned to the game after reportedly departing in late 2020.
IceFrog, the notorious and mysterious developer behind Dota 2 has reportedly returned to developing the game after a two year absence. News of the developer’s return was first reported in an interview with Tundra Esports’ Oliver “skiter” Lepko, who explained that the entire team is set to meet IceFrog at some point in the future after their TI11 victory.
In an interview with Peter “c1RcA” Trávnik Skiter implied that Tundra is set to meet IceFrog in the future. Skiter cited rumors that IceFrog departed the Dota 2 dev team sometime in late 2020 or early 2021, and was only now as of last patch. Now, the iconic Dota 2 dev is back and in charge of Dota once again.
IceFrog is back on Dota 2 and Valve’s unusual corporate structure
IceFrog leaving the development of Dota 2 before many months later fits both with the mysterious nature of the developer and the unusual business structure of Valve. Valve famously follows a non-standard business model that allows workers to work on the projects they believe will create the most value. In return, some employees will take a share in the profits from those projects.
It’s also frequently discussed by Valve employees that moving desks, or swapping departments entirely is not uncommon. IceFrog, by now a senior developer at Valve might just have swapped projects to something more interesting, perhaps the Steam Deck, before now returning Dota 2.
However, Valve’s non-standard business model also likely explains why we have terms such as “Valve Time” and memes like “Valve can’t count to three” as the company famously has not released a sequel numbered higher than two.
Still with successes like the Steam Deck, the incredibly ambitious Half Life: Alyx, and Valve’s VR controller the Valve Index show that letting developers work on what they feel will create the most value is definitely lucrative. Especially if you’re president of Valve, Gabe Newell, who is reportedly worth around $4 billion USD.
But, leaving behind the staggering wealth of Valve’s upper echelons, the fact IceFrog is reportedly back is a huge source of relief for fans who have questioned some of the recent design decisions (*cough* Wraith Pact *cough*). So is the IceFrog back? We can only hope so!