See the art from Valve's canceled space pirate game that's going round the internet

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In 2012, Valve's Gabe Newell mentioned a canceled game called Stars of Blood (opens in new tab), saying only that, "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." Concept art by a couple of ex-Valve artists had previously leaked, and more was unearthed later—some from photos taken on tours of the studio. The fans at Valve Archive (opens in new tab) put together a repository of Stars of Blood art (opens in new tab), where it's been sitting ever since.

Over the weekend, the Obscure Game Aesthetics Twitter account (opens in new tab), which posts screenshots and artwork from old or forgotten videogames, posted four concepts for environments from Stars of Blood. It followed with a tech demo of swarm AI (opens in new tab) from one of the ex-Valve employees who worked on Stars of Blood, theorizing that this too might be from the canceled game. It's since been posted to r/LeaksAndRumors (opens in new tab), r/GamingLeaksAndRumours (opens in new tab), r/pcgaming (opens in new tab), r/Games (opens in new tab), r/GamePreservationists (opens in new tab), and r/UnreleasedGames (opens in new tab), as well as doing the rounds of various websites, forums, and social media.

The character designs are a bit Moebius (there's even one called mumbiusSM.jpg (opens in new tab)), and rumor had it that Stars of Blood would involve the Combine, and be part of the Half-Life universe. Not much else about it was known, but "Valve space pirate game" is all you really need to be intrigued. Now it's just another game that will never be, alongside the various Half-Life projects that were canceled before Alyx, Arkane's spin-off Ravenholm, Prospero, and all the rest.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and Playboy.com (opens in new tab), whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.