In 2011, a photo of a mysterious Combine Soldier artwork appeared on the internet. The photo was taken by an unknown person when he or she visited Valve's office. Some fans claimed that the image was created for a possible new Half-Life title in development even though it contradicted with style rules set for Half-Life 2 by former company artist Ted Backman.
In reality, it was part of a series of fan images created by artist Manny Llamas, who also worked at the company many years ago. It was placed on walls with other fan creations in the company's office. Llamas published two of these images on his personal website for a short time. The other images were also available on unlisted pages of his website.
The images were done when Llamas was employed at LucasArts Entertainment, so it is possible that he created them to apply for a job at the company the second time. We tried to reach him for a comment, but he did not (or could not) respond to our email.
In today's news post, we're going to talk about Left 4 Dead 3 characters. In July of 2015, Steam Database received an early version of Aperture Robot Repair, a virtual reality demo that was created by Valve. Our former site contributor Nick worked with them to document all the findings, which were published after the demo's release in February of 2016.
The demo features numerous references to Left 4 Dead 3 and other projects. In the files, there are textures for a character called "adult_01". This character is referenced in the map "vr_l4d_characters" but the model for it is missing. It should be noted that some of these files are not included in the final release of the demo.
• npc/adult_01/materials/boots (missing)
In February of 2013, three years before the release of Aperture Robot Repair, artist Moby Francke left the company. After his departure, he published concept art for two characters on his personal website in June.
These images depict two middle aged Middle Eastern men armed with weapons. They appear to be created for "adult_01" from the leak. When we were working on the Aperture Robot Repair article, we saw these similarities but we had no evidence to support our speculation.
Shortly after we published the article, one of our contacts who wishes to remain anonymous revealed that the original filenames for these concept images bear the prefix "npc_adult", which confirms the connection. We'd like to thank Martin Benjamins of Steam Database and our former site contributor Nick for their help.
Some of our followers on our social media profiles requested a list of developers who either left or joined Valve in recent history. The following list covers staff changes between 2016 and 2017. For more detailed descriptions, you can click on associated links under names (if they're available).
Click here to view the list.
Sometimes our research and investigation for proposed articles can lead nowhere. We consider these "Cold Cases" that have reached a dead end and are subsequently canned as articles. Sometimes, these investigations can hinge on us contacting individuals who may be associated with the subject matter of the article. Some can refuse to speak to us, while others may have signed a legally binding contract that prevents them from disclosing information.
Cold Case #1 surrounds October Moore, an actress and voice actress who is perhaps best known as the voice of the female Wii Fit Trainer in the US localization of Nintendo's titles. In 2013, our researchers came across posts from May of 2010 made by Moore's brother on a public forum where he claims that his sister may be the face and voice of an in-development Valve title.
He went on to say that she was legally not allowed to say what game it was, but speculated that she might be in Portal 2 (which had previously been announced just a few short months before his earliest posts) as that was being actively developed at the time.
Some further research unearthed that October Moore had had public connections with Valve developers as far back as January of 2010. We reached out to her for comment, but she did not (or could not) respond to our email. Despite our best efforts, we couldn't find out what the project was and the decision came to archive the research.
What role in Portal 2 was she to take, if Portal was even the game? Tell us your thoughts or theories or help us fill in the gaps if you know more on Cold Case #1.
The latest issue of Retro Gamer magazine features "The Making of Half-Life 2" - an article by Paul Walker-Emig, including interviews from Valve veterans, David Speyrer and Viktor Antonov. The piece includes exclusive screenshots from the game's development and it is a fantastic insight for any Half-Life fan. You can buy the magazine from My Favourite Magazine.
We've been in touch with Paul who has provided us with the original screenshots from the magazine, along with two other unpublished screenshots. We'd like to thank Paul and Retro Gamer for their help.
Screenshot #1 (borealis_full_010000)
The engine room of the famous icebreaker Borealis when it was present in the game. The player is equipped with an ice axe, a cut melee weapon.
Screenshot #2 (Danger Ted)
During the game's development, there was a time when the player was able to glue physics objects together. This gave birth to the "Danger Ted Construction Set". They had the Citizen model based on former Valve artist Ted Backman in the middle of a desert level, and there was nothing but cars, canisters, and other miscellaneous objects. The developers used Backman's body in humorous physics experiments. This map can be found in the leaked WC map pack, inside David Sawyer's folder. David Speyrer uses a cropped version of the screenshot as his profile picture on Steam Community.
Screenshot #3 (d1_town_040062)
The church area in Ravenholm with the early incarnation of Fast Zombies. The background looks different.
Screenshot #4 (seafloor0000)
You may remember this map from the E3 2003 demonstration Coastline. The demo begins near a wreck of a submarine, a railway, and a lighthouse on a dried up seafloor. They appear to be taken from the wasteland themed map with the Depot, as seen in "Danger Ted" above. The player drives the buggy through the docks area from the final game.
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