Polygon analyzes the leaked files to uncover the story.
Leaked Half-Life 2 maps, built with Valve’s Source engine, are all over the internet. Polygon has analyzed the set of maps and the story behind to see if they are legit. It appears that the leak might feature a never-before-seen portion of an unreleased Half-Life 2 episode with some of the assets tied to Half-Life 2: Episode Three.
The original leak from Facepunch Studios community forums features some familiar locations from the Half-Life 2: an uncompiled version of Lost Coast and other places, but there was something quite exciting inside:
It’s a map called “styleguide_ravenholm_o1.vmf” and it’s inside a folder labeled “gautam.”
Gautam Babbar is an artist and designer at Valve. Their LinkedIn page indicates they’ve been with the company for more than 11 years, and their credits include Half-Life 2: Episode One and Episode Two.
Inside that file are a number of strange entities, or game objects, several of which use the prefix “jps.” The community at Facepunch quickly jumped to the conclusion that JPS must stand for Junction Point Studios, an organization founded in 2005 by Warren Spector, the father of the Deus Ex series.
Polygon teamed up with two developers with professional experience working with the Source engine and the Hammer editor to see if the whole thing is the real deal:
The Ravenholm map also shows a unique, snow-covered section of the Half-Life world for the first time. In the files that Polygon reviewed, it appears that the player enters the map from above, crashing through the roof of a building in a “gondola” where they meet two non-player characters named Duncan and Scooter.
Our developer sources found Scooter to be particularly interesting. That character has a series of custom animations attached to them. One of them is called “JPS_GetPick,” which could be a reference to the ice axe weapon that was supposedly part of Half-Life 2’s cut Borealis chapter. The ice axe was also rumored to have been included in at least one abortive attempt at Half-Life 2: Episode Three.
In the end, Polygon and two specialists concluded that the map was most probably created inside Valve. The shape of the map and the way that the objects and NPCs were placed within the environment lead to that conclusion. Make sure to real the full article here.