Ah. I thought I heard something about the same team or some of the same team being behind it. I was so confused.
Valve picked up a developer from the team, last I checked.
Actually, from wikipedia
"In October 2009, Icefrog was hired by Valve Corporation, leading a team in a project that he has described as 'great news for DotA fans.'"
I am an employee at Valve. I do work on an unrelated project from IceFrog, but I have many friends who work with him on a daily basis. This blog is the culmination of what I have learned about IceFrog, also known as Abdul Ismail, directly from people who are currently working with him. Their names will stay anonymous for their sake and mine. You might want to ask why I am posting this. Why do I risk me and my friends's jobs? The answer is that ever since Abdul has joined Valve, he has been poisonous to the company. He is incredibly hard to work with, absolutely impossible to talk to in person due to a complete lack of social skills, and easily holds the most unpleasantly domineering work personality of anyone I have ever met. This is not just my opinion, but the opinion of almost everyone I know who has come in contact with him. Abdul's project is not only becoming one of the most controversial inside the office, but one of the most controversial outside. He is taking the company in a direction I thought we would never head in because he demanded unparalleled control and for some reason was granted it.
What is most interesting about Abdul is that he is a compulsive liar. When he was hired, none of us knew about his past. In fact, we were all on the assumption that he had made it thus far on his own. Several of us silently questioned how he could've devoted so much time after graduation to a hobby despite there being a giant hole on his resume, but we knew that he was an eccentric character, and assumed that he was being supported by his family. It was not until Riot Games's Steve Mescon, also known as Pendragon, made his infamous blog post on www.dota-allstars.com that the truth began to come out. Everyone here assumed it was a very dirty marketing scheme by the Riot Games guys, or even that S2 Games and Riot Games were making up stories to discredit us. In fact, our legal team had previously sent infringement notifications to S2 Games over their usage of what we believed to be IceFrog's content. I was told that S2 Games was asked to remove all DOTA content altogether, and that because of this, we would have the rights to DOTA content.
A lot of us had sensed that there was something fishy going on from the beginning. We scoured the internet for any evidence that would implicate Abdul. Eventually, we found it on a HON blog. The process is incredibly easy, and you can replicate it yourself.
1. Search for "Abdul Ismail" on Google.
2. The 8th result is for MyLife.com. Click it.
3. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page.
4. Click on Abdul Ismail Bellevue, 27.
Voila. Or in the words of Kudo Tsunoda, BAM, there it is. We found that that Abdul lived in:
1. New Bedford, MA: very close to his alma mater
2. Rohnert Park, CA: where S2 Games is located
3. Bellevue, WA: where we are
As if that were not evidence enough of foul play, a professional DOTA player who claims to be in the know revealed this also replicatable piece of information.
1. Go to http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php, a site that tracks campaign donors.
2. Under employees, search for Marc DeForest, who is the owner of S2 Games.
3. You will find Abdul Ismail employed as a programmer under Marc DeForest.
In a process unrelated to mine, Abdul was eventually confronted about his hidden past by the Valve higher-ups. We found out that not only did he lie about DOTA, but he lied about his involvement with both Riot Games and S2 Games. As I said at the start of this blog, you can go to www.dota-allstars.com to brush up on that history. This is the equivalent of the CEO of McDonald's (DOTA) looking for a job at Burger King (Riot Games), then working for Fatburger (S2 Games), then quitting and going to work for Wendy's (Valve) but outright lying to Wendy's of his involvement with ANY previous employer, despite the fact that he had contributed to a significant chunk of development with each company. In the corporate world, this would be the equivalent of stealing trade secrets. But instead, this is the game development business, and the rules are not so established. What upsets me most, and the ultimate reason I am writing this, is that any ethical company would have dropped Abdul right here and reconsidered their options. We are not doing that, and instead are pushing ahead with full force. Sorry guys, but the truth has to come out sooner or later.
EDIT: Now that the Game Informer article has been released, you can see the extent to which Valve is willing to protect Abdul. Let me ask you this, Gabe. If Abdul were the renaissance man as you claim he is, why is Erik leading the project? Even Erik betrays himself when he says that "our first reaction is to assume that [design elements are] there for a reason". No, your first realization was that Abdul was a poor designer, but because of his bullying personality and his scheming, he managed to convince you to build the game as-is per his instructions. That's what happens when you go from being a shoe salesman to directing a game you didn't play, isn't it?