Half-Life 2 fans are convinced one of the game's models is based on some seriously gruesome real-life photos, and they're already modding it out.
Before we go any further, in case the headline of this article wasn't enough of a trigger warning, we'll be discussing what appear to be grisly images of a real-life disfigured human corpse. We won't actually show or link to the image, but there will be a picture of a video game body which seems to be directly lifted from, or at least heavily based on an actual cadaver. If you suffer from thanatophobia or aren't comfortable reading about that sort of stuff, turn back now.
The morbidly curious folks over on the r/eyeblech subreddit were recently poring over "some pretty gnarly forensic photographs," and a couple of days ago a commenter remarked that one of the pictures resembled a model of a badly burnt body in Half-Life 2. The model, referred to as Corpse01.mdl, is also a skin in the popular Garry's Mod, and yes, it sure does look a lot like an image of a dead body from a medical book. YouTuber Richter Overtime shared the Half-Life 2 model on his Twitter account, which in and of itself is pretty disturbing, but it's downright macabre after this revelation.
Did you know?"corpse01.mdl" from Half-Life 2 and GMod is textured using real photos of a dead, burnt body The original picture is from a medical book, and will be in the replies (NSFW warning) pic.twitter.com/iDe3Ia65IdDecember 19, 2022
According to Metrocop (thanks, TheGamer), Half-Life 2's beta was originally designed with a much darker, grittier tone in mind compared to what would eventually be a much more mainstream-appropriate full release, and the Corpse01.mdl model seems to be a relic from that early development period. Compared to the body in the apparent reference photos, the only major change to the in-game model is two burnt-out eye sockets.
Whether or not Corpse01.mdl is based on this actual corpse is still technically unconfirmed, though these findings do seem credible. It's not at all unheard of for game developers, like many artists, to reference disturbing imagery and photos when crafting gory scenes or other gruesome assets. If you want to play Half-Life 2 without having to think about any of that, there's already a PC mod that replaces the model with a composite of Dr. Kleiner and Breen's faces.
Or, if you'd rather play something else altogether, here are the best FPS games available now.