Many years ago, Valve released the Half-Life 2 concept art book, Raising the Bar. Now, images from the publisher’s proof version of the artbook are appearing online, which is sure to please the many of the fans of the series out there.
The version of the book containing this before-unseen artwork is from a very limited production run of the book before the final edits and was made to the 300-page book for its final release and contains as many as 100 additional pages of art and concepts from across the Half-Life series. This highly prized piece of work was purchased online by a US fan of the game for just $45 and since then Russian Half-Life fansite “Half-Life Inside” have been posting small tidbits of the art from the gallery proof online. The new owner of the book also plans to scan and upload the rest, so there is still more to come!
Some of the art is not wholly new, with areas that were cut from the game such as the “Crab Synth” zone from Half-Life 2 had already been discovered by Valve Time, another Half-Life fansite. Outside of the additional art, the changes between the publisher’s proof and release versions of the artbook are minor, with the outstanding modifications including an alternate version of Half-Life 2’s Dr. Breen alongside a photograph of his modelling reference, Roger Guay.
It’s great to see that new secrets and information are still being discovered about the beloved franchise after so long and the art may just have a few “what if” stories to tell. If you’re looking to see the rest of the art for this work, check out Half-Life Inside, where scans will continue to be published and you might just be able to find the next clue for Half-Life 3.