Last month, it was revealed that Valve plans to launch a brand-new game in 2018 — its first major release since Dota 2 in 2013, other than virtual reality minigame collection The Lab. Now, we’ve been given a glimpse at another recent project — one that never saw the light of day.
Drew Wolf is an artist who has been employed by Valve since 2009. His personal website states that he’s now independent, although it’s not completely clear whether he’s still affiliated with the studio or not, according to a report from Eurogamer.
Wolf’s online portfolio features artwork produced for Dota 2, The Lab, and various other Valve projects. It also features a multitude of drawings produced for an untitled fantasy game, which seems to have been in the early stages of development at the studio in recent years.
“The project was a fantasy adventure game centered around cooperative combat and driven by story,” reads a description accompanying a set of images. It seems that players would have formed teams of four, choosing from a selection of ten archetypal characters.
This certainly seems to be in line with Valve’s output in recent years. Dota 2 has proven to be an enormous hit for the company thanks to its roster of clearly defined characters, and its capacity for endless additions of new content. It’s easy to see how this project could have been an attempt to offer up a slightly different take on co-operative multiplayer.
Ultimately, it seems that Valve chose not to pursue the idea. Based on the timing of both projects, it seems like next year’s collectible card game Artifact simply took precedence. However, it shouldn’t be too surprising for anyone who keeps up with the studio to find that an idea for a new game never made it past the prototyping phase.
Earlier this year, former Valve writer Mark Laidlaw released what seemed to be a version of his story treatment for Half-Life: Episode 3, one of the biggest ‘what-ifs’ in all of gaming. It’s impossible to understate what the company has done for PC gaming as a whole, but it’s easy to see why longtime fans have their frustrations with the studio’s intermittent output.