Speculation around Valve quietly registering a trademark for something called NEON PRIME was already at a fever pitch, but now it seems like we can narrow down just what kind of project it might end up becoming.
According to sources from Tyler McVicker, formerly known as Valve News Network (VNN), NEON PRIME could be an expansion to the Dota universe, taking the franchise more into the Sci-Fi realm to explore the lore scattered throughout the MOBA.
No specifics about the game were shared beyond that concept, but it does appear that if this is true, it is being helmed by Dota creator IceFrog and will explore various dimensions and elements like the ever-growing importance of the Continuum and the general location of Ultoria.
McVicker’s sources point to NEON PRIME not being an FPS, which makes sense if it is taking place in the universe of Dota. Additionally, this title is entirely unrelated to another project that has been in the works at Valve called Half-Life: Citadel.
These sources sharing information with McVicker are also likely to be reputable since he accurately shared information about Valve’s VR title Half-Life: Alyx years before it was officially revealed and has done the same for a number of other titles across different developers—though occasionally to mixed success.
This, however, detracts from some of McVicker’s earlier speculation about the game, which brought up IceFrog’s involvement but noted that NEON PRIME would most likely be unaffiliated with existing Valve IP, including Dota. It appears that he received much more concrete information after posting his last update on the game to YouTube on Oct. 19, and it points to IceFrog going back on plans to try something new and sticking to his original creation.
IceFrog is the original lead developer for Dota 2 and the among the leads from the original Defense of the Ancients (DotA) that started as a Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos custom game. He has been working with Valve since 2009 on what would eventually become Dota 2, where he remains working as an anonymous figure behind the scenes to this day—as far as fans are aware.
There might be some kind of reveal shared at the climax of the Dota 2 competitive season on Oct. 30 as The International 2022 draws to a close.
There is also a chance Valve could save the reveal or more news for The Game Awards in December if the company thinks it is more important to connect with the non-Dota audience. And considering how fans reacted to the now-defunct Artifact’s reveal at TI7, this might be what ends up happening.
Dota Underlords is still going strong, though. Right?