More Info And Concept Art Surfaces On Valve’s Secret New Game “SOB”

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Early last year, we got to take a look at some… well, some really fancy-looking concept art laid out on the walls inside Valve’s headquarters. There was one thing we all immediately noticed, apart from just how fancy-looking it was – it looked nothing like any existing Valve intellectual property: it had weird spaceships, weird space aliens, and good stuff like that. No one knew what it was all about, and supposedly, Valve didn’t take kindly to this concept art finding its way online at that time. Then a couple of months later, Portal 2 came out, and we were too busy playing that to death to care about whatever Valve’s got cooking in that secret bunker they open by turning the big valve.

Then Dota 2’s beta client got leaked. And among the client’s coding, and among the interesting mentions to “ep3” and “cstrike2” were a number of references to something called “SOB”, including code references for “nebula”; “npc_ship”; “ship_guns”; “client_ship”; “flightplan”; “server_ship”, and quite a bit more, which you can find on this mirror of the code references, provided by Cyborgmatt. Naturally, most of us assumed that this SOB game might just be what that concept art is for.

Now, we have a solid connection between the SOB code and the concept art, and there’s more. Read on!

Meet Peter König, one of Valve’s best 2D and 3D artists (credited in 30 films and numerous games, with a 25-year career), who’s done work on L4D2, Dota 2, and Portal 2. He’s got a really fancy site, showing off most of his work, including his L4D2 stuff. Wait… you know what else was fancy? That weird concept art we saw last year! And, surprise, surprise, quite a few of those unidentified space concepts from last year are on König’s site! But the really interesting one? Check this out:

A starfighter of some sort, which heavily resembles Peter’s other work on the strange space game… and has “SOB” written right on it. And it turns out that right around the same time those images at Valve HQ were first uncovered in early 2011, Peter had this earlier and slightly different version of the very same concept art on his site (in addition, in a May 2011 interview with IdlerMag, Peter divulged that he was working on unannounced projects at Valve).

I believe we might have a winner, people. And I must confess – I am a wee bit excited. Because at this point, I’m a bit skeptical about HL3. Who knows if it’ll live up to the expectations we’ve set for it? What if all that multiplayer development has made Valve lose their touch? But SOB seems like something fresh, something new, and it sounds like one hell of a blast. With no real expectations behind it, I think it might turn out to be a very pleasant surprise for all of us.

Smash, volunteer moderator on the Steam Forums, and writer for, actually e-mailed Peter and asked him if the art is for a new Valve title, or simply his own creations, and he replied:

Some of it is mine, not all. Can’t comment on it either way…. Some of it is on my site now, so it can’t be toooo sensitive, now can it?

It’s good to see Valve devs are still just as cryptic as they’ve always been. Let’s hope we find out more about SOB. I’m hoping it’s a monolithic singleplayer space opera adventure type deal… but a Valve space MMO also sounds very tantalizing. And I can tell you right now that if it is, you’ll be hearing a lot about me, because I am going to be space pirate number 1.

Still, who knows, at this point? Maybe we’ll even see a reveal at E3. At this point, would that really be so surprising? Meanwhile, I’d be looking on Peter’s site, to see what else SOB-related I can find.



  1. I will be space cowboy. YEEHAAAAW!

  2. Has Valve comfirmed that they will appear at E3 this year?

  3. Is Valve going all space now?

  4. Seems exciting , looking forward to it! (and another game , too , like , the one with the £ or something)

  5. Great, another game that will be released before the next Half-Life game/another good reason for Valve to not talking about Half-Life…

  6. SubOrbital Battles?

  7. Someone should start a SOB wiki outside Wikia RIGHT NOW.

  8. Spacial Orbit Batallion?

  9. Can’t wait to play a game called Sons Of Bitches.

  10. Did not Valve choosed between half-life and a submarine game for the their first game to make? I think that this may be more relevant to that then a total new space game 😉

    Yet I have not really read the article completly^^

  11. Just guessing but: Subspace 3

    SOB is probably just an easy code name while sounding similar to Sub.

  12. If Space Cowboy and Space Pirate are taken, I call Space Alien.

  13. “Some of it is mine, not all. Can’t comment on it either way…. Some of it is on my site now, so it can’t be toooo sensitive, now can it? ”


  14. Valve would have a rly hard time getting me to play a space MMO from them… Cuz Star Trek Online is just so much moar fun :3

  15. In the picture where the concept art is hanging on Valve’s wall, you can see a label above the art that has the name Jay Pinkerton on it. I did some research, Jay Pinkerton is currently working at Valve and he worked on Portal 2. On his website he says that he is currently working on an unannounced video game project. Here’s the link:
    Don’t mind the name of the article…

  16. wow i just realized that the article is from 2007
    so nevermind… i guess he’s probably referring to Portal 2, seeing as he is a comedy writer.

  17. I posted this on Reddit! It worked, Vic! It WORKED!


    both seem to me are concepts for this particular game. Looks more like EVE Onlinesque, Space battleship game. Which would disappoint me to be honest.

    Sidenote: He also did a lot of Voxel test with this particular art, that could mean next iteration of Source engine will infact use Voxels rather than Pixels which can actually mean better gfx! This is a pure speculation on my behalf with half arsed knowledge in the area.

    • Sorry, but your links aren’t really working. As for the possibility of voxel use – it doesn’t mean better GFX, but I suppose it could be used for realistic ship destruction.

  19. When you can’t continue a franchise, start a new one!