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Erik Wolpaw

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Erik Wolpaw
Wolpaw in 2012
United States
OccupationVideo game writer

Erik Wolpaw is an American video game writer. He and Chet Faliszek wrote the pioneering video game website Old Man Murray. He subsequently worked for game developers Double Fine Productions and Valve, and is known for his work on video games including Half-Life 2, Psychonauts, Portal, Portal 2 and Half-Life: Alyx.


As a high-school student, Wolpaw wrote two games for the Atari 8-bit computers published as type-in programs in Antic magazine in 1983 and 1984.[1] From 1997 to 2002, Wolpaw and Chet Faliszek wrote the video game-oriented website Old Man Murray. The site was highly influential in video game writing and game journalism.[2][3] He also wrote for GameSpot.[4]

He subsequently worked at Double Fine Productions as a writer for Psychonauts. In 2006, he won the Game Developers Choice Award for Best Writing for his story and dialogue contributions to Psychonauts.[5] In 2004, Wolpaw joined Valve, where he and Faliszek wrote for games such as Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Portal and Portal 2. He left Valve in February 2017 to write for Psychonauts 2,[6] though he ended up not working on it.[7][8] In January 2019, he confirmed that he had returned to Valve as a part-time contractor on Artifact[9] and Half-Life: Alyx.[10]

Personal life[edit]

In 2004, Wolpaw was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Expecting his condition to require a departure from the company, he spoke with managing director Gabe Newell, who surprised him by offering an extended leave with pay. "Your job is to get better," Newell said. "That is your job description at Valve. So go home to your wife and come back when you are better."[11]


Year Title Credits
2005 Psychonauts Co-writer
2006 Half-Life 2: Episode One Writer
2007 Half-Life 2: Episode Two Writer
2007 Portal Writer
2008 Left 4 Dead Co-writer
2011 Portal 2 Writer
2018 Artifact Writer
2020 Half-Life: Alyx Co-writer
2022 Aperture Desk Job Writer

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Index of Antic articles by Erik Wolpaw". Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
  2. ^ Walker, John (March 4, 2011). "The Remarkable Notability Of Old Man Murray". Rock Paper Shotgun. Archived from the original on October 27, 2017. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  3. ^ Adkins, John (July 12, 2017). "The untold origins of Gamergate — and the gaming legends who spawned the modern culture of abuse". Mic. Archived from the original on August 20, 2017. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  4. ^ "Messiah Review". Archived from the original on 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
  5. ^ "The 6th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards: Nominees & Awards Recipients". Game Developers Choice Awards. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-09-19. Retrieved 2007-09-27.
  6. ^ Graft, Kris (February 17, 2017). "Report: Longtime Valve writer Erik Wolpaw leaves company". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on February 18, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  7. ^ Wolpaw, Erik [@Wolpaw] (2021-08-28). "Erik Wolpaw on Twitter: "@ZekeFreek None! Between the extended production schedule and the ms buyout and then me working on Alyx for 18 months, our schedules never aligned"" (Tweet). Retrieved 2022-05-10 – via Twitter.
  8. ^ Wolpaw, Erik [@Wolpaw] (2021-09-07). "Erik Wolpaw on Twitter: "Even though I didn't end up working on Psychonauts 2, Tim and Pen Ward and I spent a few days locked in a room early on brainstorming. Pregnant Raz was my favorite idea and I guess it made it into the game after all!"" (Tweet). Retrieved 2022-05-10 – via Twitter.
  9. ^ McWhertor, Michael (4 January 2019). "Portal writer Erik Wolpaw still works for Valve, sort of". Polygon. Archived from the original on 4 January 2019. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  10. ^ Keighley, Geoff (November 21, 2019). "The Final Hours of Half-Life: Alyx". Archived from the original on November 21, 2019. Retrieved November 21, 2019 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ Keighley, Geoff (2011). The Final Hours of Portal 2. ASIN B004XMZZKQ.

External links[edit]