Jess Cliffe, the co-creator of Valve’s popular online shooter series Counter-Strike , was booked into a Seattle jail on Thursday morning over allegations of sexual exploitation of a child.
Seattle ABC affiliate KIRO-7 broke the story on Thursday after discovering Cliffe’s booking record into King County jail. Seattle police detective Patrick Michaud confirmed to Ars that Cliffe was arrested at the jail itself, which public records show happened at 1:17 am Pacific Time, and that no charges had yet been filed.
No bond has yet been set, and a bail hearing is expected to take place later on Friday. Police did not immediately confirm any other details about the arrest to Ars.
KIRO pointed out, according to its sources at the King County Prosecutor’s office, that a booking over such charges “typically indicates” the creation of child porn. The station attempted to interview Cliffe’s girlfriend at the couple’s home in West Seattle; she asked questions about the charges and otherwise offered no comment. Though Cliffe does not have a criminal history, public records confirm that Cliffe pled not guilty to assault charges in 2013, and that those charges were dismissed later that year by a King County court.
The 36-year-old game developer was hired by Valve shortly after he and series co-creator Minh Le began working on the game in 1999, originally a “mod” based on the Half-Life game and
its Source rendering engine its fork of the original Quake
engine. The game quickly became popular as an online, team-based shooter with a stress on military precision and team tactics.
Valve formally released Counter-Strike as a standalone game in the year 2000 and has continued supporting it ever since. Le eventually left Valve in 2006, while Cliffe remained with the company to continue working on Counter-Strike and other Valve game series. Cliffe’s voice can still be heard as a narrator in the game, saying iconic phrases such as “terrorists win” and “the bomb has been planted.”
However, Cliffe’s employment status with Valve is currently “suspended,” according to a statement released by the company.
“We are still learning details of what actually happened,” Valve said to Ars in a statement. “Reports suggest he has been arrested for a felony offense. As such, we have suspended his employment until we know more.”