On 10th October 2007, Valve launched Half Life 2: Episode 2, the continuation of Gordon Freeman’s story as he and his associates fought to free the human race from the oppression of the alien Mix. The ending supplied little or no in the best way of closure, organising a lot of plot factors for a sequel that has by no means arrived. 

Apart from 2011’s Portal 2, the Half Life universe has remained utterly dormant for nearly ten years, which is a disgrace when Half-Life and Half-Life 2 are typically thought-about to be two of one of the best video games each made.  

Valve has been quiet in regards to the franchise’s future, resulting in the favored ‘Half-Life three confirmed’ meme, the place any small trace of the sequel’s existence is rapidly spun out of proportion. 

That mentioned, the corporate hasn’t been utterly silent. Right here’s the whole lot we presently know in regards to the recreation commonly known as Half Life three.

Minimize to the chase

  • What’s it? The long-awaited, and long-absent, continuation of the Half-Life saga
  • When can I play it? With nothing formally introduced it will not be anytime quickly

Half-Life three or Episode three?

Again when Valve introduced Half Life 2 can be getting episodic sequels, it revealed that there have been plans to launch three of them over the course of the following couple of years. They’d collectively type what was primarily a 3rd Half Life recreation. The thought was that improvement on an episode wouldn’t take so long as a full sequel, so followers might proceed Gordon Freeman’s journey sooner – albeit in smaller portions.

Half Life 2: Episode three was by no means launched, and over time folks finally simply began referring to it as Half-Life three – assuming that Valve was engaged on a fully-fledged sequel somewhat than a model new episode. That is tenuously corroborated by leaks and an announcement from Gabe Newell declaring that the developer was

However as one nameless supply, there is no such thing as a such factor as Half Life three. Not in response to Valve anyway. The corporate introduced three further episodes, two of which have been launched, and nothing extra. The supply referred to the fixed speak of ‘Half Life three’ as each a fantasy and wishful considering. 

Whether or not it’s known as Episode three or Half Life three, persons are speaking about the identical factor – a sequel to Episode 2 that can proceed the story and clear up the cliffhanger ending we had been left with.

What Valve has informed us

Whereas Valve has been very quiet the previous a number of years, within the years earlier than (and simply after) the discharge of Episode 2, it was extra forthcoming with data. How a lot of it’s nonetheless related is unclear, however Gabe Newell did verify that . He later acknowledged that Gordon , so he would “largely stay an arm and a crowbar”. Newell additionally confirmed that he won’t ever converse, since his companions are a “extra fruitful avenue to discover”.

Doug Lombardi, Valve’s VP of promoting, that the story wouldn’t return to Metropolis 17, and that the builders had put numerous work into “making a pure progress of topography and local weather”.

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Newell additionally confirmed that Episode three, because it was then identified, would end the story arc that started in Half Life 2. Whereas he spoke of the potential for a fourth episodic instalment, he confirmed that it might be stand-alone and developed outdoors of Valve. It was later revealed to have been in improvement at Dishonored builders Arkane Studios and . Sadly it was cancelled.

Former franchise author Marc Laidlaw additionally that Episode three wouldn’t have had a particular conclusion, very like Half Life and Half Life 2. The plot abstract that he later launched appeared to verify this. 

As a substitute the sport would preserve issues open so new workforce might finally develop sequels. Laidlaw additionally claimed to have “no concept” if the sport would ever get launched or not.

A doable plot abstract

In August 2017, longtime Half-Life author Marc Laidlaw posted a brief story titled ‘Epistle three’ on his private weblog. 

Though the author referred to the publish as a ‘fanfic’ it is fairly clear that the publish is a thinly veiled plot abstract of what would have been Half-Life 2: Episode three, albeit with a lot of the title’s modified and everybody’s gender’s reversed. 

If you would like to learn the publish with the title’s and gender’s corrected then you are able to do so on GitHub, the place somebody has transcribed the entire brief story. 

Though it is value studying the publish in its entirety, it seems the plot of the sport would have adopted Gordon and Alyx as they journeyed to the Borealis, which might have been discovered to be phasing out and in of existence. After a protracted battle they might have finally have rigged the ship to journey to the guts of the Mix empire and explode, thus releasing the human race from their enslavement. 

Like earlier Half-Life video games, Gordon would have been left in limbo, saved from the explosion by the Vortigaunts. 

Leaked Idea Artwork

Even if Valve has seldom spoken about Half Life three, not to mention launched gameplay materials, we’ve had a good bit of idea artwork hit the web over the previous decade. Whereas it’s not fairly the identical as in-game renders of a trailer, it’s nonetheless one thing. Usually it’d give us some hints at what to anticipate, however given the period of time for the reason that artwork first floor, the character of the sport might have drastically modified.

The primary items arrived on-line in 2007 and 2008, showcasing a few of the doable settings:

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Some extra idea artwork arrived in 2012, and if legit reveals off all kinds of environments the gamers can discover.Valve has but to touch upon its validity, and because it’s normally fairly fast to dismiss fakes this has led some to take a position that that is the true deal.

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Counter Strike co-creator Minh Lee has additionally admitted to seeing some idea artwork himself. 

“I do not suppose I can speak about that, to be sincere,” he mentioned. “I feel it is type of public information that folks know that it’s being labored on. And so if I had been to say that, yeah, I’ve seen some photos, like some idea artwork of it, that would not be large information to be sincere. I suppose I might say that I did see one thing that appeared kinda like within the Half-Life universe.

And I imply it would not shock anybody if I mentioned they’re doing it, they’re engaged on it, yeah. So to exit on a limb I might say I did some idea artwork for Half-Life three.”

March 2008 additionally noticed the discharge of what seems to be Alyx Vance idea artwork on the Picasa web page belonging to Valve illustrator Andrea Wicklund. The pictures had been rapidly eliminated, however not earlier than being saved and redistributed elsewhere.

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Richochet 2

Followers have been pestering Gabe Newell and Valve through the years, getting an increasing number of inventive as time goes on. One attention-grabbing technique from the is notable as a result of it really acquired a response from Newell. All they needed to do was ask a few sequel to Ricochet – a recreation typically thought-about Valve’s worst.

“By way of Ricochet 2, we all the time have this downside that once we speak about issues too far prematurely, we find yourself altering our minds as we’re going by and creating stuff, in order we’re considering by the large story arc which is Ricochet 2, you may get to some extent the place you are saying one thing is stunning us in a optimistic method and one thing is stunning us in a detrimental method, and, , we would wish to be super-transparent about the way forward for Ricochet 2. The issue is, we expect that the twists and turns that we’re going by would in all probability drive folks extra loopy than simply being silent about it, till we could be very crisp about what’s taking place subsequent.”

And after he was requested if the challenge had slowed down:

“No, all people who has labored on Ricochet 2 continues to work on Ricochet 2 [laughs].”

Whereas Newell might sincerely be speaking a few sequel to Ricochet, everybody has assumed he performed together with the joke and was really speaking about Half Life three.

Reddit AMA

In January of this 12 months to participate in an AMA (Ask Me Something), which followers naturally used to ask some questions on the way forward for the Half Life/Portal universe. He did reply a number of of them, although he didn’t reveal an entire lot.

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He expanded upon the earlier reply when somebody tried to additional clarify it.

Different Rumours and Hypothesis

One large doable plot level that has popped up over the previous decade is that Valve had been trying into incorporating a deaf character into the collection. It was designed as a function to higher help listening to impaired gamers, with Newell suggesting that Alyx Vance could have had a crush on a deaf resistance member earlier than Half Life 2 and programmed Canine with signal language so she might follow. This character ended up elsewhere, and he instructed Alyx and Canine would proceed to signal to speak in secret.

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Newell additionally hinted that the following Half life recreation would return the franchise to its psychological horror roots, exploiting followers’ darkest fears within the course of.

It was later instructed that Half life three might incorporate components of multiplayer gaming, after Geoff Keighley revealed Portal 2 would be the . Newell later clarified this, saying that it didn’t essentially imply the tip of single-player Valve video games. He intends future video games to contain one thing referred to as , which embrace social elements that Newell believes enhance the worth of leisure.

, who supposedly labored for Valve sooner or later doesn’t consider there will probably be one other Half Life recreation. They declare that each time a Half Life tasks begins gaining any momentum it finally ends up dying off – a course of that makes it tougher for one thing new to take its place. They likened the sport to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, with expectations so excessive that the inevitable response will probably be disappointment. 

In line with them, there are folks inside Valve who wish to use the Half Life IP for varied various things, however they had been contemplations and by no means critically thought-about by Valve as an entire. Not a part of a grand plan, at any fee, since that isn’t how Valve operates.

Recreation Informer stresses that the data is from one unverified supply, so take that data with a wholesome dose of scepticism. However what they revealed does make some sense, even when it’s a pessimistic view of the franchise’s’ future.

Half-Life three stays unconfirmed

The extra time has handed, the extra Valve has stored quiet about the way forward for the Half Life franchise. It’s simple to take a position that Valve is perfecting the sport, and fine-tuning issues as gaming advances, however the actuality is that Valve doesn’t actually need to make a brand new Half Life recreation to achieve success. Steam is the most well-liked digital storefront in PC gaming, and Counter-Strike: International Offensive and DOTA 2 entice tens of millions of gamers who in flip buy in-game objects with actual money. 

Whereas many recreation studios have to preserve making video games to remain afloat, the Steam market implies that finally Valve doesn’t. What this implies for Half Life isn’t very clear. Video video games get cancelled on a regular basis, and it’s uncommon that most people is ever knowledgeable of the information till a number of years have handed. The perfect case situation is that the sport stays in energetic improvement, however with Valve prioritising its sources elsewhere. The worst, and seemingly most certainly situation at this level, is that it’s useless and can by no means see the sunshine of day.

However stranger issues have occurred. Perhaps we’ll see Half Life three in the future, or possibly we gained’t. Like Schrodinger’s cat we exist in a state the place both is feasible. We simply want Valve to open up the field and put our minds at relaxation.