Most gamers know him as the guy who helped create the soulful vibe of Gordon Freeman's world in the Half-Life games. However, way before he came to Valve, Marc Laidlaw was an author with a number of published works to his name. He's kept on writing outside of video games, too, but his most recent work plops him right into another video game universe.
Over on Newsarama, Laidlaw talks about working on The Secret Shop: Are We Heroes Yet?, the webcomic that spotlights the Shopkeeper, a.ka. the guy with all the hook-ups in the popular PC franchise. One of the highlights from the interview offers this:
Lore is continually in development, and we try to work it into all aspects of the game. Mostly, so far, that has shown up in the character vignettes that accompany each hero when you view them in the game. These are meant to give a quick verbal impression of the hero in a heroic moment, with just enough evocative imagery behind them to make you want to go deeper into the story, and they are meant to be very short and highly distilled. Creating the comic was the first place where we had a chance to work our way more deeply into the lore, and to lay out some of the concepts we've developed. Ideally, we can keep finding stories that let us flesh out the underpinnings of the DotA universe in compelling ways.
Of course, the main part of the DOTA experience happens in the games and the release of DOTA 2 is one of the most anicpated things anywhere. People really, really want to get into the beta. As it turns out, the final entry of the Secret Shop webcomic holds a survey that could get you into the beta. You'll need Steam, of course, but most anybody who's itching to get in the DOTA 2 beta probably has it already.