You could probably fill up a landfill with all of the video game concepts, prototypes, and slices that ultimately failed to make it to final release over the years. Even the best ideas can fall apart once the game reaches a playable state. For a studio as storied and secretive as Valve Software, any news on projects, whether in active development or long-canceled, is certain to draw interest. Some recently uncovered concept art for a previously-canceled Valve game known internally as Stars of Blood made the rounds on social media over the weekend, letting imaginations run wild, even though Valve head honcho Gabe Newell confirmed the project’s demise way back in 2012.
Newell's first and only comment on the game came from a 2012 Q+A session where a fan asked about a game then known as SOB. "We kind of had an internal project that was called Stars of Blood, which was a space pirate game and it never saw the light of day," Newell explained. Since concept art and other assets from the game have leaked online over the years.
Over the weekend, the Obscure Game Aesthetics Twitter account posted a new group of concept art shots of Stars of Blood, renewing fan interest in the project. The account also posted a video from 2012 of a tech demo purportedly made for use with the Stars of Blood project. The clip offers a glimpse at a swarm technology test running within Valve’s Source Engine. The swarming bat-like creatures move dynamically around the environment looking like an advanced version of the Locust swarms from the Gears of War series.
No other information about Stars of Blood or the concept art was offered, but it is always interesting to see what has been kicking around in the minds of the employees over at Valve. After last year’s stunning Half-Life: Alyx, we’d be eager to see anything new from the Washington-based studio dreams up.