Alex Schwartz expected robes. His development studio, Owlchemy Labs, received a cryptic email from Valve, one of the largest and most mysterious companies in the gaming industry, on an otherwise normal day in October: The message contained a secrecy agreement, plane tickets and the vague assertion that this was all about something related to virtual reality. Owlchemy responded with suspicion and intrigue. "What the hell is this? Who's coming? What is this all about?" Valve responded, "We can't say anything more. Just come."