Concept art from a cancelled Half-Life project.

#1
Been doing some digging today and found the Coroflot portfolio/profile of R. Humphries. He’s been an illustrator, modeller and concept artist at EA since 2004.

His work portfolio has some interesting concept pieces from cancelled games he has worked on, including Road Rash and Ultima DS. They’re worth a look.

What stood out for me most of all though were these six images, explained by Mr Humphries as being from a cancelled Half-Life project. There are, unfortunately, no further details.













Given that the artist has these listed alongside their other professional resources and works, I don’t have any reason to question their legitimacy. It does beg the question though: How, when and why were EA employees working on a cancelled Half-Life project?

-I considered that perhaps they could have been for a fan-mod, but that doesn’t seem to add up. The images are alongside other professional works and not labelled as being part of a non-professional project. Also Half-Life 2 was released while he was well into his EA career, making me dismiss the idea they were a mod project.

-Since EA ported The Orange Box to the PS3, the thought occurs: Could these have been from console-exclusive additional content, such as an extra level or chapter, that was planned by EA but cancelled early on?

-Interestingly, the Combine guard looks somewhat less advanced than his Half-Life 2’s comrades – perhaps the cancelled project took the form of a prequel?

-The armoured, masked figure makes me think of Opposing Force’s protagonist, but I’m probably reading too much into it.

I'll post more if I find it.
 

TheSeks

Blinded by the luminous glory that is David Bowie's physical manifestation.
#2
C17 = City 17. Half-Life 2. Either an offshoot game in the city before it's destroyed/HL2 happens or the canceled project is actually the game/beta versions of HL2 before the code-leak and a revamp/redo of the story and game happened?
 
#5
TheSeks said:
C17 = City 17. Half-Life 2. Either an offshoot game in the city before it's destroyed/HL2 happens or the canceled project is actually the game/beta versions of HL2 before the code-leak and a revamp/redo of the story and game happened?
This from EA though so the art is probably newer than Episode 1.
 

Drkirby

Corporate Apologist
#6
Looks like a prequel of sorts, maybe EA figured Valve would let others make spin offs of Half Life 2 like with Half Life 1 and got shot down

Haven, is it mentioned anywhere else in the HL saga?
A google search turns up nothing, so I assume not.
 
#10
looks a lot more like a mod than anything else, loads of concept artists do some mod work once in a while, i worked on a HL2 mod also in the same capacity.
 
#14
I wish the real games ended up looking like concept art. 99% of the time the concept art looks amaaazing with incredible gritty atmosphere and all that, then the game comes around and it's great but I really wish the atmosphere was the same.

The technology is there to have some real dark Seven, David Fincher gritty-like stuff ...but why won't they do it? Silent Hill 2/3 are the only games that look like concept art come to life the rest always end up more colorful/bright.
 

Ushojax

Should probably not trust the 7-11 security cameras quite so much
#17
Looks pretty much the same as Half-Life 2. Probably an ODST type spin-off that got canned.
 
#23
Beaulieu said:
Project Haven was ha HL2 mod

http://www.moddb.com/mods/sourceforts/news/project-haven

Dont know if it was ever released, but I think the stuff in the OP might come from there.
I'd never heard of this until now, but looking at the screenshots and materials on their ModDB profile, it looks nothing like this. Their game is a mroe stylised, bold-colours multiplayer shooter. This isn't like that.

I also read the name "Haven" as being a location (town?) with an encounter, rather than a project title.

Arcipello said:
looks a lot more like a mod than anything else, loads of concept artists do some mod work once in a while, i worked on a HL2 mod also in the same capacity.
I suppose its possible, and there are numerous mods that do have concept art and design documents. It just seemed unlikely given that the artist is working full-time at EA, and that they've listed the project in their professional portfolio as "cancelled" - I don't often read about mods referring to their discontinuation as cancellation.

SystemShock2 said:
Maybe it was an expansion along the lines of Opposing Force or Blue Shift. I wish they would do Half Life 2 from an alternate viewpoint.
I know its a leap, but the primitive Combine soldier did make me consider the possibility of a 7 Hour War game starring Colonel Sheppard, outsourced by Valve to EA. Of course, that's all theoretical as there is nothing remotely conclusive.
 
#25
Damn, that is some fascinating stuff. A game set during the rise of the combine would have been cool, but would also have removed some of the mystery.
 
#27
Really interesting material, definitely looks like a cancelled Half-Life 2 expansion (in the vein of Gearbox's HL1 expansions).

http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/halflife2aftermath/preview_6128325.html
June 29th, 2005

GS: We know that Valve has a history of working with outside contractors to provide expansion-pack content for its previous work. Why the decision to make Aftermath in-house at Valve? Will keeping work on new Valve projects become the company's new standard operating procedure, or would Valve consider working with outside studios again in the future?

RW: Building a game like Half-life 2 involves building a lot of tools and technology. As we build them, we learn how to use them. By the end of the development, we know the tools much better than we did at the start, and as a result, we can build much cooler content. After Half-Life finished, we moved on to Half-life 2 immediately, which meant taking on a lot of new problems. This meant we didn't get to build that new Half-Life content we'd just learned to build, and we gave the fun of building it to other companies.

With Half-life 2 we decided to build that extra content ourselves. Right now, we're better than we've ever been at building Half-Life 2-type content, and we'd like to have the fun of doing it for a while.
So if this was indeed for an official cancelled expansion, it might have been made in 2004-2005? Though I could see it being made at any point if it was something internal to EA, part of a portfolio to pitch to Valve.
 

Krev

Unconfirmed Member
#28
Angry Fork said:
I wish the real games ended up looking like concept art. 99% of the time the concept art looks amaaazing with incredible gritty atmosphere and all that, then the game comes around and it's great but I really wish the atmosphere was the same.

The technology is there to have some real dark Seven, David Fincher gritty-like stuff ...but why won't they do it? Silent Hill 2/3 are the only games that look like concept art come to life the rest always end up more colorful/bright.
I like HL-2's brighter palette, and certainly prefer it to a hypothetical 'all grey and brown' version. It would wind up looking like a Dudebro shooter instead of a wintery day in Eastern Europe.
 
#29
Hey i've got some more concept art from another half life canceled project:






hurrr


these is really interesting mama, thanks for sharing as always
 
#32
A prequel where the Combine are less advanced? Doesn't really make sense considering the timeline.

My guess would be that they are simply equipped for a different environment or are of a different rank.
 
#33
Botolf said:
So if this was indeed for an official cancelled expansion, it might have been made in 2004-2005? Though I could see it being made at any point if it was something internal to EA, part of a portfolio to pitch to Valve.
Since the artist seems to be displaying the works in chronological order, 2004-5 seems fair.

Since the art seems so focussed on City 17 still being intact, I think its reasonable to consider the idea of an expansion pack set before/during/immediately after Half-Life 2, outsourced to EA.

If we entertain this possibility, then perhaps the game didn't get far before Valve reigned it in, and took on directly responsibility for the episodes themselves.
 

ahoyhoy

Unconfirmed Member
#35
Pikelet said:
A prequel where the Combine are less advanced? Doesn't really make sense considering the timeline.

My guess would be that they are simply equipped for a different environment or are of a different rank.
It could be set shortly after the conclusion of the Seven Hour war, before the Combine had fully integrated humans to form the genetically altered Combine soldiers.
 

cuyahoga

Dudebro, My Shit is Fucked Up So I Got to Shoot/Slice You II: It's Straight-Up Dawg Time
#37
SpacePirate Ridley said:
And what the fuck, there was going to be a new Road Rash and it was cancelled?
By my count, this would be the fifth attempt to make a new Road Rash met with cancellation, after EA Warrington, EA Canada, Climax and EA Redwood Shores, but there's probably been one or two further revivals scuttled.
 
#39
The material has now spread to the Steam forums, where they're linking it to some quotes Gabe said seven years ago about Half-Life 2: Episode 4 being made by a third-party after Valve complete Episodes 1-3.

Looking at the environments and uniforms (C17), I'm doubtful that this content would represent a timeline after the events of Episodes 1-3 though. To me, it still looks like a prequel, or parallel adventure to Half-Life 2.
 
#40
At least one Half-Life fansite is reporting that I've found concept art for Half-Life 2: Episode 4, and they aren't joking. Its certainly an interesting theory.

SpacePirate Ridley said:
And what the fuck, there was going to be a new Road Rash and it was cancelled?
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
It took a bit of work, but I've managed to find the artist's DeviantArt portfolio, which has a few more pieces from the abandoned Road Rash project. No more on this Half Life project though.
 
#41
The artist has erased his entire Coroflot portfolio and profile. If this was an unofficial mod, then I'd doubt such extreme a response would be needed.

I think an NDA may have been broken here, lending legitimacy to the idea that EA were indeed working on a Half-Life game of some sort.
 

Drkirby

Corporate Apologist
#42
I highly doubt this would be an Episode 4, mainly since the episodes are supposed to be a trilogy. If it is in development, I think it would be a spin off like Opposing Force.
 
#46
I think it's pretty obvious that HL3 will be the next big release after DotA 2, along with another significant source engine update. Oh man, I salivate at the thought of Half-Life 3 in a BF3 caliber engine, oooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOooooooo