It’s possible that Valve was at one time beginning to collect ideas for a four-player cooperative fantasy game. According to the website of a now former Valve artist, a fair amount of work was poured into crafting characters, worlds, and stories for this untitled game.
Artist Drew Wolf has spent a little more than the past eight years working for Valve as an artist, and since departing, he has updated his personal website with some examples of the work he did there. Such examples include some concept art for DOTA2 and Team Fortress. However, Wolf has also included some work he did on an untitled project that he calls “Untitled Fantasy Game,” and it has some interesting aspects.
According to Wolf’s website, the game was to be a fantasy adventure with a focus on cooperative combat and story. The work that he contributed to the game came in the form of character art, examples of which can be found below.
About the art’s contribution to the game, Wolf writes the following on his website:
“Development of these characters started with a round of loose sketches. The goal was to present as many groups of four adventures as possible in order to establish a diverse cast of archetypal characters. After discussion and feedback the group was paired down to ten characters. They would become the projects main characters.
“During the development I created a mood sketch for each character. They were done in a classic sci-fi/fantasy book cover. Each sketch represents a slice of the world each character came from as well as a hint at who they are and what they do.”
In addition to this character art, Wolf’s website also includes examples of some of the creatures that may have been encountered within the game, some of whom look pretty menacing.
While Wolf doesn’t specifically where this artwork originated, only mentioning that it was part of “an internal R&D project,” it seems safe to assume that it was a project for Valve since his work history doesn’t indicate any other place of employment since 2009.
You can find more iterations of the work, including more character and creature models, in the gallery provided below. For even more artwork by Drew Wolf, you are encouraged to visit his website.