Erik Wolpaw

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 Psychonauts, Portal, and Portal 2.

Erik Wolpaw
Erik Wolpaw in 2012.
United States
OccupationVideo game writer


As a high-school student Wolpaw wrote two type-in program games for the Atari 8-bit family that Antic published 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 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.[4] In 2005, 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.[5] In January 2019, he confirmed that he had returned to Valve as a part-time contractor on games such as Artifact[6] and Half-Life: Alyx.[7]

Personal life

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."[8]


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 Psychonauts 2 Co-writer
2020 Half-Life: Alyx Co-writer

See also


  1. "Index of Antic articles by Erik Wolpaw". Retrieved March 14, 2011.
  2. Walker, John (March 4, 2011). "The Remarkable Notability Of Old Man Murray". Rock Paper Shotgun. 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. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  4. "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.
  5. Graft, Kris (February 17, 2017). "Report: Longtime Valve writer Erik Wolpaw leaves company". Gamasutra. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  6. McWhertor, Michael. "Portal writer Erik Wolpaw still works for Valve, sort of". Polygon. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  7. Keighley, Geoff (November 21, 2019). "The Final Hours of Half-Life: Alyx". Retrieved November 21, 2019 via YouTube.
  8. Keighley, Geoff. The Final Hours of Portal 2. e-book. 2011.

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