Head over to “pak01_dir.vpk” within the CS:GO beta’s “csgo” folder, then take a look at the Materials folder. You’ll find a folder for CS_Office, which includes, among other things, two textures for some office whiteboards. Let’s take a look at these:
Let’s start with the first one, of course. Aside from the hilarious “Restrain Fans” joke, what else do you see? A little “PERPS TASED” table (using tally marks, or hash marks, if you prefer), which you might recognize as a reference to one of Barney’s more amusing quotes from HL2: “I’m way behind on my beating quota”. Notice how Gordon has tased precisely 3 perps. You think Valve would realize using this number isn’t exactly inconspicuous regardless of what they use it for.
But what I found really interesting? Let’s take a look at Eli and Breen. Eli is crossed out in red, because he’s dead. But Breen, who died almost 8 years ago in Half-Life 2? He isn’t crossed out. At all. That seems a bit strange, doesn’t it? Could Breen have survived? To be fair, we never did see his body, and since the G-Man has proven he is capable of getting a person out of harm’s way, and since Breen does know who the G-Man is, it makes sense that the G-Man would want to have a little chat with Breen. Perhaps he got him out. Valve wouldn’t have crossed out Eli’s name, but somehow forgotten to cross out Breen. It makes no sense, and it has to have been intentional.
But, hold on, and wait a minute here. Hidden in the background is a sort of drawing of what seems to be a police officer named Carl, attempting to hit the broad side of a barn, and failing. Can you see it? If you can’t, don’t worry. These enhanced… versions of the whiteboard will help. Interestingly, there are only 3 shell casings on the wall. I’m sure we can all agree that a higher number would have made the drawing funnier, but Valve instead went with the number 3. Interesting, to say the least.
Now, moving on to the second whiteboard:
We’ve got an “Absolute Final Shipping Deadline”. Initially June 17th, then moved to June 23rd, then moved to August 20th, then moved to just August. What’s this date for? Well, I reckon it’s for CS:GO. Sure, it could just be a joke targeted at Valve’s uncertainty with shipping dates, but I can’t shake away the feeling that this has some relevance, and that Valve wouldn’t just throw it in there without a good reason. Interestingly, there’s a Post-it note under it saying “19th September”
Then, towards the right, we’ve got a series of tally marks. Again, mysteriously, the only tally mark that is not a five-bar represents the number 3. Right under these tally marks is a date. 17th June, 2010. The last day of E3 2010. To the bottom-right, we have a series of bug-related statistics. Interestingly, it states that only 3 bugs have been fixed. And directly above that, we have a graph, putting hours of tester sleep up against the number of reported bugs. As we can see, the less sleep testers get, the more bugs are reported. But what’s interesting is that it looks a little bit like a Lambda. And just like the Half-Life logo, it’s surrounded by a circle. Let’s look at an enhanced version of the image.
As you can see, it does resemble the Half-Life logo quite a bit. But that ”reported bugs” line, pointing towards “10k+”, does seem a bit out of place, doesn’t it? Actually, take a closer look at it. It seems to point towards the spot where the number 2 is on the Half-Life 2 logo. This enhanced version of the whiteboard has also revealed a drawing of a bespectacled male just to the left of “TESTER SLEEP”. Looks a bit like Gordon, doesn’t he? He’s even got what looks like a beard, but it’s a bit hard to tell.
Well… what can I say? It’s intriguing, I suppose. You can debate all you want about the graph, or about the number 3 references all over the place, but what you can’t toss out is the fact that a character we thought was dead, now appears to be alive and well. Believe it or not, this little tidbit is actually of very high importance to the Half-Life plot. I’m glad to see Valve has decided to throw us a bone. One that might keep us speculating for a while.
Credit to ProgSys for creating enhanced versions of the whiteboard images, and posting them in the forum thread where discovery and speculation first popped up. And credit to Zilchonum, for creating a clearer version of the image showing the Carl drawing, which he posted in a Reddit thread on the subject.