This is quite the thing. PC Gamer has caught sight of a photo posted by Team Fortress 2 community member Political Gamer on his recent visit to Valve's offices, which he writes about on the Steam forums here. Most of the images in the thread are idle photography, but one of them- which you'll see in full after the jump- is a wall of sci-fi looking concept art showing space-ships and whole load of headshots of people who might best be described as "incorrect". My unstoppable speculation follows...
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In their own coverage of the story Big Download point out that later in the thread Political Gamer claims that these sketches are "just some art done by people at Valve", a strange sentence where the word "just" has no place whatsoever. The above wall is hundreds of man hours of work! Surely it must have been put together with a game in mind. If you really wanted to downplay the importance of it you could speculate that it showed art belonging to an abandoned project, but that's no fun whatsoever.
Instead, let's assume that this is all concept art for a game they're working on right now. Here's my guess as to what that game might be.
Here's your protagonist, Lick Powder, Intergalactic genius. Powder travels from star system to star system, in his trusty ship the U.G.V. Monstrous Monstrous-
- on a quest to find and kill the elusive Miss. Joanna D'Forehead -
What did D'Forehead ever do to wrong Lick Powder so grievously? Nobody knows. But one thing is certain- these two unimaginable intellects are drawn to one another like two black holes caught in one another's orbit.
The game will be divided into two parts, the first being a free-roaming space exploration, Freelancer-type deal, with Lick Powder pulling off various daring heists and feats of heartless blackmail to fund his continued search, and sections of FPS combat as Lick Powder uses a nanofibre whip of his own design to rip through destructible environments towards targets that might provide information and profit. The whip will also function as a grappling hook.
But Powder's not the only one doing the pursuing! No. In a nod to Jeff Lint, a sinister group of exclusively female space pirates known as The Ladies Of The Belly hunt Powder relentlessly, seeking payback for Lint's daring robbery of Mother Belly, which will be explained in a series of flashbacks that play - in reverse - during the game's loading screens.
I should probably go and do some actual work now, but I reckon you guys should pick apart the rest of the art on that wall an explain what role those characters and ships play in the game.