Episode 3? Could It Be? FAKE FAKE!

By John Walker on May 31st, 2010 at 8:39 pm.

Could it be? Will it be? (Announced at E3 that is.)

This may be a hoax, I’ve no idea. But it’s a holiday here today, so that’s the right sort of day for posting suspect things. Thanks to @PaT2090 for linking us to what was allegedly briefly appearing on Ellis Savannah’s Facebook page (L4D’s Ellis, of course). An apparently intro screen for Half-Life 2: Episode 3. See it in full below.

It’s a fake. Of course it is. It’s ages old, too. But, see, all your rude-faced people calling me names – I haven’t seen every image of everything on the internet, and so, you know, can be fallible. I’m sorry to break my non-omnipotence to you this way, but there it is.

Now, obviously no one doubts that Valve must be developing Episode 3, despite their never having officially announced it. And of course this could easily be a fake. But who cares?! Vicious rumours power the internet, like insane mice in a wheel made of crazy.

Click for embiggenment:

Click me!

, , , .

146 Comments »

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  1. Javier-de-Ass says:

    well that’s a way to make it even worse than the previous two episodes

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Hmm? Why, Javier? Do you really hate snow?

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Maybe he just hates Half-Life? Note he said worse, as if the previous two were awful.

      CoD fanboy perhaps?

    • Ed from Brazil says:

      At least no one can accuse Javier of false advertising. (his full nickname)

  2. Frenz0rz says:

    Eye-poppingly interesting, but wont believe a thing until I see more.

  3. anonymous17 says:

    Attaches turbine to internet-mouse crazy wheel.
    Solves human energy crisis.

  4. Tei says:

    Is official. Episode 3 proyect is freeze. hehehehe….

  5. toastmonster says:

    MASSIVE DO WANT.

  6. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    Very good mock up, regardless.
    The only thing that would make me doubt it is the seemily openness of the level above (Assumung they are keeping the tradition of those screens being games)

    Source engine doesnt really do that sort of thing, though who knows how far VALVe can push it.
    I thought that the “forests” of Episode 2 were a push.

    • Lewis says:

      Source can create the illusion of absolutely enormous regions via clever use of 3D skyboxes. Consider the bit in Ep2 where you’re gazing out from the hilltop right over the ruined city on the horizon.

      My suspicion is fake because it used original HL2 props, though. My guess would be a very smart amateur mapper has knocked it up. I’d be horrified to be proven wrong, too, because I have my own theory about Ep3 which I’ve veen sticking to for years

    • Theory says:

      There’s nothing stopping it from actually simulating enormous open areas except the UI limitations of the design tools and, of course, the complete waste of time doing so would be for a game in Half-Life’s style.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      @ Lewis

      “I’d be horrified to be proven wrong, too, because I have my own theory about Ep3 which I’ve been sticking to for years”

      Which is?

    • Lewis says:

      Vandelay: Full-length standalone game either in a new engine or in a massively updated Source, which will bare very little resemblece to HL2.

    • karthik says:

      Lewis: That’s what I’ve been expecting hoping for as well. Especially considering the time that’s passed since Episode 2. I’m guessing Valve is quiet about Ep 3 (Whatever it’s called) because they’ve been busy building tech.

    • Don says:

      @Lewis

      I’d be surprised if you’re far wrong. A company of Valve’s size could easily have brought Ep3 out as a 3/4 hour game in traditional run-gun-loading style. But Valve can never be called unambitious and they don’t seem to have much need to churn product out just to keep the cash flowing. I’d guess that Ep3 will use a better engine for starters, maybe allowing more along the lines of the final battle in Ep2 except with a bigger arenas and L4D style AI direction replacing (most of) the scripted events. And I can’t see any technical reason why they couldn’t roll the first two episodes into it to make a longer game so they could sell it as a complete item to people who aren’t already hooked on the series.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      @Lewis

      Thought as much and it was what I have been thinking for quite a long time too. The fact that it is obviously going to be set in a very different locale to the previous HL2 games would also lend weight to that (although, snowy TF2 levels may detract from that slightly.)

      It has been too quiet for too long for it to be simple another “episode” length game. I think a lot of people would be disappointed with that.

  7. Steelfists says:

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhh

    Please be real

  8. Mudkipz says:

    It’s fake, has been posted multiple times in the past few years.

  9. Paul says:

    @Javier-de-Ass: That implies the previous two episodes weren’t any good. Does not compute?

    Anwyway, this is awfully fake. Old assets, specifically the radio and table, awkwardly placed in a lacklustre plain snow environment? I doubt it. Decent backdrop though.

  10. Sam says:

    I stopped caring about Episode 3 and Half-Life when I realized it had been more than two years since Episode 2 and not a peep out of Valve.

    Sorry, it goes from teasing to being flat out stupid after about two years with nothing to show.

    • Adrian says:

      My guess is they are either planning something huge like a new standalone game with new engine or they just don’t want bad previews. You may wonder why a game like half life would get bad previews but remember that when hl2 was being developed the source code got stolen (leaked?) and that this source code contained a lot of material that was supposed to be in hl2 and then was rewritten to appear in episode 3 (like the huge ship. i seen that in the missing information mod). So maybe they just don’t want people to know more about their game content than they allready knew 10 years ago :)

    • Fumarole says:

      How does one get from not a peep to teasing?

  11. DigitalSignalX says:

    Deep video addict shame: Who is Ellis Savannah? Google only points me to facebook lol.

    -One of the dozen or so people on the planet who don’t have a facebook account.

    • westyfield says:

      Ellis Savannah is the young mechanic in Left 4 Dead 2 – someone’s created a facebook account under his name and posts Valve-related news on it.

  12. Rich says:

    Don’t play with my feelings like this!

  13. N says:

    Terragen mountains ftw lol.

  14. Robert Yang says:

    Professional amateur modder’s opinion: fake, though maybe I’ll end up eating my words.

    The closest mountain in the back doesn’t look like it was rendered in Source, looks more like a matte painting; the shadow from the table was painted in and doesn’t match what the shadow projection would look like in the engine; shadow from the rock outcropping is painted-in; Valve wouldn’t use the old radio model like that; the snow texture is kind of boring; the dark lump on the right isn’t immediately readable as anything — wreckage? a body? — kind of lazy design.

  15. Flamov says:

    This is appalling reporting, RPS.

    http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=843219

    I am really disappointed.

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      hahaha oh dear.

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      Just out of curiousity, why have you linked to your website in your name, that no one else can access?

    • Gunrun says:

      Really RPS? Reaaaaalllyyyy? Even Kotaku hasn’t done this

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Damn, and I was so hoping it was real :(
      It looked the spitting image of “Weather Control” (a level that was cut from the original HL2), which I was sure I’d seen a picture of in Raising the Bar.
      Turns out there is no such picture and I’d just made it up in my head :(

    • Starky says:

      Flamov wins the thread and the internet, so that +2 internets for him.

    • Jayt says:

      Flamov lay off the old John Walker. (a fan of steamcast by the by)

  16. Langman says:

    Slippy-slidey ice level!

  17. Flamov says:

    @Tom OBedlam

    I forgot that I broke it – it’s natural instinct for me to enter it though.

  18. Mike says:

    Ho-lee-shit!

    I believe!

  19. pinapple says:

    This has been around since April ’09. And is fan-made.

    Source:
    http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9677437&postcount=13

  20. Bruce says:

    I must be one of the few individuals who never enjoyed the Half-Life saga; never understood the phenomenon around it; and, to say the truth, never enjoyed much Valve games, either. I’m such an heretic (oh yeah, baby!).

    Valve games always look the same; too polished; with the same kind of design / drawing, etc. Team Fortress 2 is the only one I can swallow.

    I am the only one with these ideas?

    • Kid A says:

      Did I enjoy Half-Life 2 and the Episodes? Yes. Did I see them as anything more than competent corridor shooters? No. They certainly don’t deserve the slavish fanboyism and 90+ reviews they widely receive.
      Team Fortress 2 wore thin eventually too (albeit after over 100 hours, more time than I’ve put into any other game).

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Half-Life 1 was a seminal game that gave a new direction to FPS. A welcomed one at the time, since FPSs were starting to be criticized for their lackluster plots and no much change in mechanics since Doom. I think this game, more than Half-Life 2 deserves a strong praise. Regardless of being or not a fan.

      Half-Life 2… I did like the game very much. It broke away from a few stereotypes (like introducing puzzles and avoiding half-naked hotties) and has superb level design and a few notable areas and characters.

      Episode 1 and especially 2 are really a bunch of crap, in my opinion. Particularly 2. And introduced in me the seeds of suspicion. I think Valve didn’t really knew where they wanted the game to go. Episode 2 is particularly absurd, introduces even more unknowns into the plot elements (which was already crippled by too many of these) and has one of the most stupid end battles I’ve ever seen in a FPS.

      Left 4 Dead is really those seeds blooming into a flower of disbelief. I don’t trust Valve anymore to produce engaging games that will appeal to me. A complete rip-off of a known movie with absolutely 0 value to single-players and a shallow plot. I can appreciate the technical achievements in L4D. But the game is a complete fail in that there was never an effort to produce a single-player version worth its name.

    • Lacunaa says:

      You’re actually the first I hear that thinks episode 2 is worse than their previous efforts. What exactly did you find stupid in the battle at the end? Imo, it was genious and one of the best gaming moments I ever had actually.

    • Zwebbie says:

      I can’t say I understand the praise for HL2 either. The whole game is very solid, but it’s never exceptional or imaginative. The Episodes are rather worse, if you ask me, because they just recycle a ton of the original game. All three of them have you holding out against zombies until an elevator arrives. All three have physics puzzles that were only really fun when they were a novelty. Ep2 does some more vehicle stuff, exactly like HL2. Furthermore Alyx’ compliments are overdone and just obnoxious by Episode 2.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      @lacunna

      More power to you. Personally I find it’s perhaps the most cheated end game battle in gaming history. No one I know personally ever did it without cheating when playing in anything but the easy mode. My favorite, disabling the AI.

      My gripes:

      – The Magnusson Device is an extraordinary inept weapon. The simple addition of a detonator switch would have saved much player grief in that battle, while still giving them enough of a challenge. I’m not even asking for them to detonate on impact. Just save me the added trouble of having to shoot the damn things.

      – Rocket launchers are a no-show. Seems like a cheap way to introduce more challenge into the battle.

      – My companions are useless. When they aren’t dead, they rarely draw enemy fire from me. Quite amazing that the only cat in town with the power to destroy those things can’t count with an effective squad to cover his ass.

      – The Magnusson Device again… really. I felt like I was playing puzzle bobble. I hated the damn things. What an absolutely lame concept. Here am I collecting guns and ammo, all ready to spray mayhem and the end game comes with the same old tiring twist… your weapons are useless. Not too mention how easy it was for hunters to dispose of your stupid egg bomb.

    • Premium User Badge

      jaheira says:

      @ Mario
      I beat it without cheating. On Hard difficulty. Jus’ saying.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      @Mario
      Can’t say I really agree on this. The EP2 final battle was challenging, no doubt, but I only found it impossible until I stopped shooting the Hunters and just rammed them with the car instead. And hey, save often. It’s not exactly cheating, and starting from scratch every time you die is just punishing yourself for no reason. And that it’s arbitrary and unrealistic? Sure it is. But so is every other video game ever made save ArmA II, so this is hardly Valve dropping the ball IMO. If you dislike anything that has arbitrary gameplay constructions and mysterious plot holes you might just need a new hobby. ;)

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I disliked it on general principle. Not just because of logic holes or the difficulty ramping up beyond anything on the series so far. I thought I had made it clear.

    • ughhh says:

      Mario I read your posts all the time, and honestly think they are mostly full of shit covered up by pseudo intellectualism.

    • Vinraith says:

      The Episode 2 finale was, in my opinion, the best part of the game. An open, wide-field assault where I had to choose where to go and what to do, it was intense and free in a way I’d never experienced in a shooter at that point.

      As to difficulty, I have to wonder what you and your friends were doing wrong. I succeeded on the first try on Normal, and managed to beat it in a couple of tries on hard as well. I’m not someone that’s particularly good at shooters, so it’s not a matter of me being some kind of great player. I suspect your crowd must have been missing some fundamental trick. The first one that springs to mind is that the car can mow down just about every hunter you come across, saving you a lot of time and trouble.

    • godwin says:

      @ughhh: Thank you, thank you really.

      Of course, trying to introduce something fresh and innovative gets banged on. Imagine the boos of “boring same old shit” if Valve had stuck to a formula. It’s not impossible to beat that stage, I too did at first find it difficult, but as mentioned, save often. I finished it on my third or so attempt in normal difficulty with adrenalin pumping, and boy was it satisfying.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      @ughhh

      That’s one way to put it. You’ll be sad to know I’ll keep doing it.

      @others

      It never occurred to me to use the car. Thanks. But then episode two remained largely unplayed after the novelty of the game wore of. Whenever I feel like redoing Half-Life 2, I end up getting bored by the time I finish the main game.

    • Sam says:

      I dunno, I have to back up Mario here: I hated the White Forest showdown (and, actually, if you check the wider internets, opinion seems split over it – a significant minority (perhaps 1/3) really didn’t like it, and the rest loved it. Sort of the marmite of HL2 experiences.). In my case, it was actually because I always found the cars in HL2 hard to control, so “just ramming Hunters” became a non-trivial process involving me smacking into nearby treetrunks instead, and having to do three-point turns whilst being shot to pieces. But then, I’m one of those people who hated Hunters in general, so…

    • Sam says:

      Oh, and for the record: I finished the White Forest bit on roughly my 30th try. On Easy, no less. Maybe I’m just dire, but I had few problems with the rest of the game (other than the dodging the antlion guard section).

    • DrGonzo says:

      @mario It never occurred to you to use the car even though it’s told to you? There is a device on the back of the car to carry those bombs. Don’t blame the game for your stupidity.

      Personally, that is my problem with recent Valve games, everything is too easy to find, you never get lost or have to explore or figure out a puzzle. Still love the games though.

    • airtekh says:

      I have to say I found the battle at the end of Episode Two (and Episode Two as a whole) absolutely enthralling. In one of my best gaming moments, after swearing at Valve many times because I thought the damn sticky bombs weren’t sticking to the striders properly, it dawned on me that the Hunters were shooting them off. I redesignated the hunters as primary targets and managed to stop the assault with only one building outside the silo intact. Epic.

      Everyone has their own tastes, but I can’t quite comprehend the criticism of Ep2. Ep1 was maybe deserving of a little criticism, despite being flawlessly presented. Theres just so much stuff in Ep2 that I loved: The defence of the mines, the encounter with the advisor, Dog vs Strider, the final battle, THAT ending and pretty much anything Dr. Magnusson says or does.

      If Episode Three shapes up to be anywhere near the quality of Episode Two, Valve can take as long as they like with it in my opinion.

    • Fraser says:

      Is it possible that some of the people who found the end of Ep2 difficult played it on a console rather than a PC? Because that’s what I did, and aiming the Magnusson Device with thumbsticks was brutal. I also kept crashing the car; not sure if driving would be easier on PC too.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      @ Fraser,

      Thank you for reading someone else opinion and not start vomiting insults. It seems an usual occurrence occurrence around here. So I don’t think your sensible attitude is welcomed.

      As for your question. No. Speaking for myself I played the game on the PC. And so, no. I found it difficult on the PC. I also didn’t like the end battle. An argument that seems to fall on deaf hears. I either like the final battle on Half-Life 2 or I’m stupid, etc.

      I wonder If I should start doing the same? Being offensive and judge someone character based on how their perceive the games they play and whether they like them or not. Should I? Because I think I could be as obnoxious as any of them. Probably even more. And boy… do I have things to say about people who make character judgments based on how others like or dislike the games they play.

      Anyways, sorry for the derailing. Your question was answered on paragraph 2. And thanks again. You, Vinraith and a small selection of others I’m forgetting now.

    • Sam says:

      @DrGonzo (and @frazer) :

      In my case, I realised quickly that I could ram things with the car, but found it so difficult to manoeuvre around the forest with it, let alone trying to hit Hunters (who do sidestep, by the way) that I spent more time smacking into things other than Hunters than actually killing them with it.

      I fully accept that this is because I’m useless at driving the vehicles in HL2 games, but it did contribute to my horrible frustration and intense dislike of the White Forest section, so I thought I’d mention it again.

      (The other things that did were: 1) in common with Mario, I found the utter incompetence of my fellow resistance fighters unhelpful – it would have been nice if they’d been minimally intelligent enough to help keep Hunters occupied while I blew up striders, but they seemed to basically stand around shooting ineffectually instead. I know I’m supposed to be the hero here, but it’s not much effort to be a hero when your comrades are idiots. 2) I found the tree trunk stumps inexplicably hard to lob with the gravity gun – bits of them kept apparently pronging off the ground, causing me to miss Hunters endlessly with the other “easy” way to kill them. 2a) Gods, I hated having to kill Hunters. I didn’t like them much earlier in the game, and I certainly didn’t appreciate having Even More of them turn up near the end.)

      I should note, again: I enjoyed almost all of Episode 2. If you ignored White Forest, I’d say I enjoyed it more than Episode 1, and more than quite a bit of HL2 itself. The general enjoyability of the rest of the game (other than the usual niggles) also contributed, probably, to the intensity of my dislike (and probably Mario’s) of the very-annoying-by-contrast-to-the-rest-of-the-game nature of White Forest.

      Oh, and I was playing on a PC, so frazer, I’m afraid it’s just my cack-handedness at fault here, not gamepad controller issues. :D

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      skalpadda says:

      I adored Episode 2 but I can completely understand those who disliked the end battle. I didn’t find it awful or too difficult, more a little tedious and convoluted. The Magnusson devices were mostly just annoying (like their creator, so maybe it was intended? :)) and it didn’t quite feel like an explosive finale to the adventure, which is what I assume they were aiming for.

      I think it would be a little unfair to judge the whole game by one relatively small action section towards the end though, and the actual ending had a huge gut-wrenching impact on me.

  21. sockpuppetclock says:

    My heart skipped a beat when I saw that image at first glance, but sadly, it is fake

  22. Jimbo says:

    I don’t think they’re developing Episode 3. I think they’re developing Half Life 3.

    • Rich says:

      Half-Life 2: Episode 1 to 3 are Half-Life 3.

    • Jimbo says:

      Uh, you think that the next numbered full title in the Half Life franchise is going to be Half Life 4? I’ll take that bet.

    • Rich says:

      Valve said ages ago that Half-Life 2 Ep 1 to 3 should be regarded as Half-Life 3 in three parts (see wiki reference to an interview with Gabe Newell). They also said ages ago that apart from a few spin-offs (Portal being one), Episode 3 will be the end of the Hal-Life series.

      Now that plan may have changed, but without a peep from Valve we can only assume it hasn’t.

    • el Chi says:

      @Rich: Not entirely true. Eps 1-3 aren’t the end of Half-Life as a whole, just the end of this story arc (ie: the Combine, City 17, the Borealis etc.)

    • Jimbo says:

      Then they should have called them “Half Life 3: Episode x”. They didn’t and therefore those games clearly are not and never will be Half Life 3 – by all means, regard them as that if you want, but that isn’t what their title says they are.

      Half Life is Valve’s flagship franchise. It seems almost a certainty to me that somebody at Valve is working on their next engine and that the launch product for that engine will be called “Half Life 3″.

      There may still be an Episode 3, but my feeling is that it’s been way too long.

  23. Denny says:

    Fake … originally from Reddit, I believe

    • Fraser says:

      Reddit produces original content?

      (Not this, obviously, if you’ve read the other comments.)

  24. dethtoll says:

    At first I was like :D

    Then I read the comments

    And I was like :(

  25. Vadermath says:

    Episode 3: The Internet Needs It.

  26. Vinraith says:

    Hopes raised by post, hopes dashed by comments. That was fast.

    I agree with others that this wait is beyond teasing and into outright silliness. Not that HL fans are going to lose interest very easily, of course, but I think Valve’s proven beyond any doubt that their “episode” experiment (in the sense of “shorter games released more often) has failed utterly. I really want to see the story ended, I want to see it ended well, and I have every confidence that Valve can and will do that. Afterwards, though, can we go back to full sized releases please?

  27. Ziv says:

    Thought exactly the same thing. I even rememer the bit in the commentary where they explain how you see the citadel from almost everywhere in ep2 using skyboxes.

    I also don’t believe it’s real. it just looks fake… first I believe the source engine will get another rehaul (they can’t keep pulling the same ’07 engine over to 2010-11). and also the original places that appeared in the opening screen were both beautiful and memorable. and this is neither.

  28. Eight Rooks says:

    It’s a good point that all the real screens were of a ‘place’, which this obviously isn’t, but it looks great to me nonetheless. Without considering that common factor I could easily have believed – did believe in fact – this might be real.

  29. Mike says:

    Goddamit, my inability to look before I leap gets me again.

    You caused alot of gullible people alot of hurt John Walker. I hope you are proud of yourself.

  30. rebb says:

    But but, didn’t Episode 3 come out 2 years ago, thanks to the quick development time made possible by EPISODIC GAMING ? >_>

    • Adrian says:

      Seriously id rather wait ten years for a full blown game than one year for some episodic content. I really enjoyed episode 2 i thoght it was the first thing in the half life 2 series that felt like half life (maybe because of all the tunnel crawling and the base at the end?) but episode one was just crap and i think even all the hardcore half life fans can admit that. I think Valve did the right decision on not pushing out the end of the Half life story (at least for now haha where is half life 4?) as soon and as unfinished as they did with episode one.

    • Ozzie says:

      I had more fun with Episode 1 than with the whole of HL2. Yeah sure, it was 100% recycling, but it took out the vehicle sections, which were just tedious most of the time, and they did improve the pacing.
      And Episode 2 made the vehicles actually fun to use.

  31. Novotny says:

    There’s also video of someone playing through the ‘apparent’ opening sequences, as set in this sort of area. I’ll try and find it.

  32. Jimbo says:

    If you were a pirate you would be Wrong John Walker. The pirate.

  33. Novotny says:

    Here it is:

  34. Premium User Badge

    DollarOfReactivity says:

    I still love you, John, even if Ep3 is mostly a thing of myth.

  35. theleif says:

    Oh, John, my John Walker.
    I thought you, like God, was infallible. How wrong I was.
    I feel betrayed and dirty. And a sudden strange attraction towards Italian plumbers.

  36. PHeMoX says:

    I find it more of a true shame that Valve hasn’t actually made Episode 3. It should not have been a fake!

    I mean, they more or less can’t decide to make it with the Half-life 3-engine, which inevitably is going to be made sooner or later.

    But I doubt Episode 2 has been the end of the Episodes too, especially as there seem to be some clues on how Valve is still looking into ways of tie-ing into the Portal story to some extent, right?

    In my opinion they should probably decide to cancel Episode 3, ditch the Half-life 2 engine for what it is … severely outdated and surprise us with Half-life 3. The true sequel.

  37. theleif says:

    Well, i wouldn’t be too surprised if Ep 3 is released bundled with Portal 2.
    Purple box ftw.

  38. Mistabashi says:

    I feel I must echo some previous comments as I really don’t understand the fuss is about. HL2 was a well made but ultimately unimaginative game, it did nothing particularly new on interesting, even mainstream console games have moved beyond the simple corridoor shooter, while the Half-Life franchise is well and truly rooted in the 90’s fps philosophy. Valve have shown much more character and innovation with their later offerings such as Portal and TF2, so I would much rather see them come-up with a new franchise rather than carry on flogging this tired old mule.

    • bleeters says:

      “it did nothing particularly new on interesting”

      Gravity gun.

    • Ozzie says:

      Yeah, physics puzzles? Believable gestures and mimic? And I thought the storytelling was awesome, you really felt like you witnessed everything before your eyes. Sure, the story itself was basic and disappeared for long stretches of time.
      And it was a long game, too long, all the shooting was exhausting after some time. There are some great moments in the game, but yeah, also a lot of dull ones, I think.

    • godwin says:

      One word; Immersion. I was compelled to play through HL2 in one sitting; it kept me hooked. Of course you can say what you like now that it’s 2010, but back then, that was that.

    • PHeMoX says:

      @mistabashi: When exactly did you play Half-life 2 for the first time? Because the game really did quite a few very good new things for it’s time. One being larger levels that gave the player the idea of walking about a true world. Sure, still pretty linear, but the immersion factor was very high. The levels actually were more life-like than basically ever before. The corridor to corridor boring fps stuff you are talking about, can pretty much not be found in HL2.

      I think the gravity gun, but also the gameplay as a whole was pretty much the old Half-life on steroids all the way through. Not to mention cool story elements like the interactive intro, Alyx and the way in which the dictator/ villain is present in video screens and so on. Lots of style right there.

      The only thing I have to say is that Valve forgot to do literally anything innovative with Episodes 1 and 2.

      Oh, and the engine really is outdated compared to current standards.

  39. Hal Kilmer says:

    Everyone who is saying that they really didn’t enjoy Half-Life 2 as a first-person shooter: are you generally dismissive of the genre as a whole, or the game’s specific mechanics?

    I can’t name an FPS that has enthralled me more than HL2. It’s certainly a flawlessly executed game.

    • Zwebbie says:

      For myself, I do dislike ‘pure’ first person shooters. I adore Deus Ex and I’m also very fond of STALKER and Brothers in Arms; but all of those are trying to be more than mere shooters, by adding either alternative routes, horror, resource management or tactics. I suppose the genre, if pure, is a bit much reflex based, and not very tactics based; so my brain doesn’t get to do a whole lot, and that’s boring.

      I agree that HL2 is pretty flawless, but like I responded to Bruce, it’s never exceptional or imaginative.

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      I would also find it interesting to see what people who didn’t like HL2 and the episodes compare it to. I can understand if people find it light on innovation and imagination if what you’re after are the melding of the FPS with other genres or if you crave an open world.

      As a pure FPS though, HL2 certainly had innovations, in the physics engine and gravity gun which created a whole new take on FPS combat, the factial animations (and animations overall) which were more believable than anything before it, and on a deeper level the way the levels were structured and player training and back story were fed to you. I also can’t think of any linear FPS that’s mixed things up as much as Half Life 2 did, with the occasional puzzles, the physics playground of Ravenholm, the driving sections, invading the prison with the antlions and so on. It just baffles me that anyone could look at the game and think “meh”.

    • godwin says:

      What skalpadda said.

    • PHeMoX says:

      “I suppose the genre, if pure, is a bit much reflex based, and not very tactics based; so my brain doesn’t get to do a whole lot, and that’s boring.”

      It downright funny you mention Brothers in Arms as a game then, as that’s hardly ever truly about strategy. It’s an fps just the same and a very linear one at that, just with a different setting.

      STALKER is cool, so don’t get me wrong, but both in general gameplay limitations (ie. at some point you will be physically blocked to go further with invisible walls) and overall style it’s much less immersive as the Half-life 2 game was.

      And then I am not even a true Half-life 2 fanboy. In my opinion HL2 should have done even more with the awesome physics. And it does feature physics puzzles that somewhat make you think too. Not a whole lot perhaps as most are easy, but it does do more than being just an fps.

      It’s just a convincing game universe, at least when you can stand the sci-fi factor of course.

    • Jimmy says:

      I add my divine assent to skalpaddy’s assertion about the physics engine in HL2. This was the most important development in my eyes. To actually be able to interact physically with the game world in a manner which felt intuitive and realistic. Many games can emulate and develop these features now, but HL2 was a landmark. Remembering:
      a) Entering City 17 and noting I could chuck stuff at the guards.
      b) RPGs with laser tracing.
      c) The gravity gun.
      d) The realistic blast effects that came into their own in multiplayer.

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      Oh yes I remember throwing things at the first guard I came across and then being really startled when he came after me with his stun baton. Things like that, and the “pick up that can” sequence, while really basic by today’s standards were things I’d never seen in a game before. It did a lot to set the tone and create a sense of wonder right from the start of the game.

    • Fumarole says:

      The first Half-Life had laser guided rockets.

  40. Isometric says:

    I dreamt of Episode 3 last night strangely enough. Alyx had gone insane and that’s all I’m saying.

  41. Ricc says:

    The only really bad thing here is that Valve let it come to this… That everybodys heart (including mine) stops for a few seconds as soon as soon as even the possibility of a screenshot arises. Why Valve, oh why do you have to tease us so?!

    Ach, don’t sweat it, John. ;)

  42. Mistabashi says:

    @ Hal Kilmer ~

    I’m not dismissive of the fps genre in general, I just like to think that it’s progressed beyond what HL2 has to offer. Maybe if it had a more meaty and satisfying shooting mechanic I would have enjoyed it more. Maybe if the AI was more interesting and I had more tactical choice in how to deal with enemies it would have felt more involving. Maybe if the set-pieces had been less generic and more interesting it would have made the game more exciting. Maybe if the story was more interesting I would have felt more immersed in what was going on…

    It just didn’t excel in any area in particular, which is why I don’t understand why people praise it so much. It was a competent, well executed but ultimately unremarkable experience for me.

    • PHeMoX says:

      If you’d argue that very same thing about say Doom 3 I would have agreed, but Half-life 2 is easily a big step forward for the fps genre when it first was released.

      I am not taking you very seriously if you believe Brothers in Arms had a bigger impact on fps gaming and it’s progression then HL2.

      It definitely did raise a few bars and frankly many games today do not meet that level of overall quality. HL2 was a very consistent game, all about it’s gameplay, style and so on.

  43. Kyle says:

    Lets just say this is REAL. (obviously its probally not) But IF it is what is up with almost all modern gmaes and SNOW REALLY!?!
    – Modern warfare 2
    – Bad company 2
    – unreal tournament 3
    – lost planets 1 and 2
    – lead and gold
    – metro 2033
    THERES JUST SO MANY

    • bleeters says:

      …wait, what?

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      and deserts, jungles, forests, cities, villages and roads. What’s up with that, huh? All these developers only developing terrestrial terrain for games set on Earth.

      And how about them airline peanuts, huh? But seriously, try the fish.

    • Mr_Day says:

      I just flew here from Black Mesa, and boy are my arms mutated.

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      I think this post is really nice, though. Like Kyle grew up in the decade of BROWN games and just hasn’t experienced the venerable cliche of ICE LEVEL.

      This is very patronising, of course, but that’s one of the few consolations of age. Hey – the kids are alright.

  44. FlynT says:

    Give em time, so they can make it better then anything else we’ve seen before. Like HL2 did back in days of 2004 ;) But Valve listen, give us a sign!! Only for our hopes that it will come one day no matter when this will be!

  45. Nilocy says:

    Totally need to start a religion around valves games.

    “GIVE US A SIGN YOU LOVE US OH GREAT LORD NEWALL!”

    • Bret says:

      Wasn’t free Portal enough?

      Also, John, we knew your limitations already. All the bad healer jokes did that.

  46. nabeel says:

    I bet some or all of RPS already knows if there is an Episode 3 and if it’ll be announced at E3/the Valve press event.

  47. Magic H8 Ball says:

    skalpadda said:
    As a pure FPS though, HL2 certainly had innovations, in the physics engine and gravity gun which created a whole new take on FPS combat, the factial animations (and animations overall) which were more believable than anything before it, and on a deeper level the way the levels were structured and player training and back story were fed to you. I also can’t think of any linear FPS that’s mixed things up as much as Half Life 2 did, with the occasional puzzles, the physics playground of Ravenholm, the driving sections, invading the prison with the antlions and so on. It just baffles me that anyone could look at the game and think “meh”.

    http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/half-life-2/reviews/reviewerId,169574/

    • Rich says:

      At one point that review states that Doom 3 is better than Half-Life 2.

      There really is no point in me arguing, since this represents a fundamental incomparability with my gaming beliefs.

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      Well he says Doom 3 *looks* better than HL2 which, if you’re looking only at the tech, is arguably true, though I personally think HL2 had much better overall visual design and of course everything didn’t look as if it was made out of plastic. A matter of taste which you value more I suppose.

      It’s interesting that several of the points he brings up as negatives I think of as positives, like there not being an ultimate weapon, ammo for the better ones being scarce and Gordon’s muteness (Gordon with gruff macho video game voice? No thanks).

      Anyway, I’m sort of reviewing a review in a comments thread which is a bit silly so I’ll stop now. :)

    • Urthman says:

      That reviewer wants different things than I want. Half-Life 2 gave me what I wanted, but it wasn’t what he wanted.

      Fortunately there are lots and lots of different games. Hopefully he’ll find some that do the stuff he likes best.

      You’re not required to like Half-Life 2. Really. Just play something else.

    • godwin says:

      Yeah? Look at the date released, and date written, brah. Bad writing with zero consideration of context.

    • Rich says:

      @godwin
      Ah yes, good point. The reviewer’s an idiot.
      I feel better knowing that.

  48. stone says:

    NOTHING gets the comments going like a Half-Life Ep3 speculations, eh?
    Ok, this is a fake picture. So what. John, don’t be sad. As you clearly can see here, we obviously want to talk about Ep3 and where the hell it is.

  49. Andrei Sebastian says:

    Episodic game devlopment… Fail!