Mystery of Valve's bald mascot revealed (mostly)

Valve is a studio rich with secrets, but one of the longest enduring mysteries has been the identities of the two dudes with red hardware sticking out of their heads in the opening credits of every game. Thankfully, one fan saw fit to ask the developer straight up for an answer, and though the names remain lost to time, we now at least know how Valve found its mascots.

In response to an email inquiry from Reddit user vism, Valve's Ray Ueno said that he was part of the original 1995 team who developed the off-beat visuals, recalling:

"Interesting that you should ask about the bald guy. Back then, the casting agencies we were using to find models only had 'supermodel'-type talent. We kept requesting 'heavy-set', 'normal' models, and they kept sending us 'beautiful', 'thin', 'perfect' headshots to review. So, we finally asked them to just go out on the street and pull 'everyday Joes' who were more 'interesting', 'common', and for the bald guy, 'kinda big, heavy-set, and bald.'"

As Ueno remembers it, the search required Valve staffers to hit the streets of Seattle and take photos of the specific type of bald people they were after. Eventually, they found the perfect specimen and invited him to the studio to shoot the iconic image that now graces Valve's opening screen. Ueno noted the same process was used to put together the second shot of a guy with a valve protruding from his eye, rounding out the studio's 'Open Your Mind. Open Your Eyes' brand campaign.

Thinking back on the model's actual identities, Ueno admits, “It's been very long since we did that work, so we don't know who the models were. And the fact that they weren't professional models would make it very difficult to find them - if not impossible for the bald guy (not facing camera).”

We may never know specific names, but at least we have a spiffy piece of videogame history to tell over a few drinks.

[Source: Kotaku]

Apr 21, 2011



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  • Baron164 - April 22, 2011 8:20 p.m.

    That's cool, never really throught about who they were.
  • ViolentLee - April 22, 2011 7:38 p.m.

    C'mon! We all know the fat bald dude is Cee-Lo Green!
  • TheSplund - April 22, 2011 10:17 a.m.

    @D0CCON - Not so much a Matrix spoof but possibly a Pulp fiction reference
  • e1337prodigy - April 22, 2011 9:54 a.m.

    Those guys should so get in contact with Valve again. How cool woul that be to say "I'm the guy on Valves intro; however I don't paid squat"
  • Vitreosity - April 22, 2011 5:57 a.m.

    Fuzunga, that would be depending on the contract they may or may not have signed when they shot the pictures.
  • Fuzunga - April 22, 2011 4:53 a.m.

    Shouldn't they be getting paid every time Valve uses their pictures or something?
  • md1292 - April 22, 2011 3:27 a.m.

    As I keep playing The Orange Box, I always wonder where the bald guy came from. I've never seen the eye picture before.
  • icantbelieveitsnutbutter - April 22, 2011 3:16 a.m.

    Lmao, I was trolling a guy named vism on Combat Arms today, who knew he's responsible for this sweet find!
  • kingdom - April 22, 2011 2:28 a.m.

    @Sy87 - How do you reckon it isn't revealed? The images go with the motto (that I don't remember hearing before) of "Open Your Mind. Open Your Eyes."
  • D0CCON - April 22, 2011 2:07 a.m.

    I thought the bald guy was a Matrix spoof (Morpheus with the valve replacing the weird thing in the back of his neck in the non-computer world)
  • Spybreak8 - April 22, 2011 1:05 a.m.

    Yeah was reading this over at Kotaku, that's super awesome.
  • mockraven - April 22, 2011 12:32 a.m.

    That's pretty cool. I wonder if the big guy ever sees his kids or other relatives playing a Valve game and brags that it's *his* bald plate they're looking at.
  • Ivolt - April 22, 2011 12:22 a.m.

    I'd totally be willing to have a valve portruding from like, my ear or something. Valve is a weird developer man XD
  • Sy87 - April 22, 2011 12:20 a.m.

    Still kinda not revealed as the title says. Anyway for the real truth its up on youtube some kinda of explosion.

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