When Team Fortress 2 first launched back in 2007, the gaming world had not yet moved toward more inclusive experiences, as evidenced by the fact that almost the entire roster is a bunch of white dudes. But it turns out that there was at least an internal push to introduce female characters to the game, as evidenced by the portfolio of one of Valve's former artists.
The folks at Kotaku recently stumbled upon the online portfolio of Drew Wolf, an artist who worked at Valve for about six years. Based on some info and artwork provided in this portfolio, there was an internal pitch project to have female characters join the cast of Team Fortress 2. It's not clear if these talks took place before the game's launch or after, but we can't help but feel Valve really dropped the ball on this one. Whether or not they felt like offering a more diverse cast 10 years ago, we can't help but wonder why these ladies have not been made playable at some point during the past decade. I mean, you can don plenty of hats at this point, but you can't make your avatar female?
All of that aside, Wolf offered some nice insight into the project, as well as their design choices. You'll notice that the characters in the portfolio are far more varied than what eventually made it into the game, with characters of different ethnicities and ages. I'm particularly fond of the grandma with the grenade launcher. Here's what he had to say about his work on the project:
I was responsible for story, character development and visual design. With the exception of their class function, it was important that each design presented an entirely new character. I wanted these characters to live on their own and add dimension to the current roster of in-game characters. The goal of the project was to dive deep into possibilities and facilitate creative discussion.
Sadly, it seems like that creative discussion may have gone from "let's add women into the game" to "wouldn't it be cool if you could wear a sombrero?" Well, you win some and you lose some, I suppose.
Team Fortress 2 is still going strong, so we're hopeful that Wolf's images will rekindle the talk of adding female characters into the game. Or, if maybe Team Fortress 3 is secretly in the works, maybe some women will be included from the word go this time around?
If you've got some time, we recommend perusing even more of Drew Wolf's portfolio. There's a lot of cool stuff in there, including some DOTA 2 concepts for a potential cartoon that, again, never happened.
We'd be interested in hearing what our readers think about the female Team Fortress 2 designs, though. Share your thoughts in the comments below.