Concept art highlights the strong links between Half-Life and CSGO

By Nick Johnson


Feb 14, 2020

Reading time: 3 min

As the release of Half-Life: Alyx nears, old Counter-Strike: Global Offensive files highlight just how closely the two universes are connected and give a fun look at just how the two influential games are tied to one another.

Images uploaded in early 2016 show prototype models for two unused Counter-Terrorist factions, the KSK and the Georgian Police force. They’re labeled as early concept art for Valve’s multiplayer shooter, but they also resemble another one of Valve’s character models.

The models bear a strong resemblance to the Combine, Half-Life 2’s main enemy that players face in the famous sequel. Characterized by their mechanical voices and futuristic gas masks, the Combine were a fearsome enemy.

Interestingly, according to Geoff Keighley’s documentary “The Final Hours of Half-Life: Alyx,” 2016 was also the year that Valve began development on Alyx.

Another image from 2016, titled simply “CSGO-GRP,” is more than just concept art. The image contains rendered models that look even more like the Combine than the concept art.

The white face masks with oversized filters and large eye coverings might look familiar to anyone who has jumped into CSGO with the games recent Shattered Web Operation. Below is the custom SAS model released alongside Counter-Strike’s recent operation, and the facemask is quite close to that of the City 17 police officer concept art that found its way onto the internet after Half-Life 2’s release.

Many know that Valve used much of Half-Life 2’s assets and code for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive during its original development, but in light of Valve’s announcement of exclusive CSGO content packaged with Half-Life: Alyx, it’s possible that some of this early artwork will make its way into CSGO in some form.

There are several possibilities for what the exclusive content could be, including new Agent models. Many of Counter-Strike’s current offerings, which include weapon and glove skins, seem prime territory for Valve to showcase its upcoming continuation of the Half-Life universe.

Slated to release March 23, Half-Life: Alyx is the next installment of Valve’s groundbreaking series. Many in the industry credit the franchise as the genesis of today’s modern first-person shooters.

CSGO and Half-Life are linked, even if Half-Life Alyx isn’t CSGO 2

Counter-Strike and Half-Life have always been like long lost siblings. Counter-Strike was initially created as a mod for the original Half-Life.

If you take the time to look, you’ll find that CSGO is still full of files referencing Half-Life and Half-Life 2. It’s an odd trip down memory lane as references to the Combine and Half-Life: Alyx’s titular character Alyx litter CSGO’s files.

In fact, there is one example of this shared history that players see every day but don’t typically notice.

Knifing a wall in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive leaves a mark, as one would expect. In fact, it can leave a whole different bunch of marks. What many don’t know is that these marks are the same ones left on the walls when a robot enemy armed with spinning blades from HL2 bumps into a wall.

The file for the texture is still called “Manhack,” as well. That’s a fun memory for those old enough to have watched and played both Counter-Strike and Half-Life as they’ve grown.

With CSGO’s booming popularity and Valve’s increased update frequency, there’s still room for more aboard the Counter-Strike hype train as the developer seemed to take a renewed interest in the game. It’s a great time for new players to jump in, as it seems as though more CSGO content is right around the corner.


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