Hey, Valve, What’s Going On, Eh?

By John Walker on January 17th, 2012 at 11:22 am.

Valve have created themselves an interesting situation. Presenting themselves as bastions of consumers, remarkably accessible to gamers, regularly inviting in groups of modders – often to give them jobs – and always being present to offer a quote on how customers deserve to be treated with more dignity, they establish themselves as being our friend. And then from that position, they sure do like to muck about. And as Eurogamer’s Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell mentioned on Twitter this morning, it’s hard not to sympathise with a growing body of Valve’s customers who are asking for better communication.

No one has a clue what they’re up to. Games are sometimes announced moments before release, or years in advance and then nothing but silence. Sometimes when they tease it’s obscure, frustrating ARGs that eventually end in a new pretend hat. Other times it’s a complete open door and everything revealed. They hide clues in so many places that people end up scouring everything they do for a hint, a glimpse, of something that might suggest they’ll eventually return to the Half-Life universe proper. They’ve turned gamers into pseudo-schizophrenics, people frantically trying to find patterns in the random, believing there are hidden messages within their communications. But does anyone have a “right” to know what’s going on with the Half-Life series.

Clearly not. It’s absolutely Valve’s prerogative if they want to never make another Half-Life game again, and concentrate only on adding new hats to TF2. And should they tell us they’re doing that? No – why should they? They are a privately owned company, without shareholders to answer to, not required to reveal their plans to anyone.

Should they tell anyone what they’re up to? I think it’s probably about time they did.

For many years Valve have ridden a wave of remarkably good grace. Developing and releasing extraordinarily good games gets you a long way, and Valve have consistently proven themselves to be the best in the world at what they do. From the astonishing shake up of gaming that Half-Life caused, to the zenith of the FPS, still unbeaten seven years later, Half-Life 2, and then the excellent Episodes, both Left 4 Deads, the Portal games, and TF2… there is no other record like it in gaming. There’s a reason Valve has the reputation it has.

But their peculiar secrecy doesn’t seem to do them any obvious favours. When they revealed the existence of DOTA 2 or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the gaming press was obviously extremely eager to give this as much coverage as possible. They’re Valve games, so there’s an extremely good chance they’ll be very good. (Not guaranteed of course. There’s always Ricochet, conspicuously absent from their Games page.) Readers want to know about them, sites want details about them, and Valve wants the coverage. It all works.

So when they go quiet, after two episodes of a promised a three part episodic series of Half-Life games, it’s understandable that people get annoyed. No, no one has the right to know – it’s absolutely their private business, and they may keep it as underwraps as they wish. But I’d suggest at this point, this many years into what is now appearing quite a farce, it’s doing damage to their reputation.

Clearly the actions of Axel “Ago” Gembe were absolutely unjustifiable, and the leaking of Half-Life 2 scarred Valve very badly. Gembe’s given motivation was his frustration about the lack of information being released about the game, and his eventual discovery that Valve weren’t revealing quite how far from finished the game was. Leaking the code was a stupid and cruel act, and Simon Parkin’s wonderful article about his attempts to broker peace between the two many years on shows that Valve are still hugely angry and upset about it. None of it should ever have happened, but what I find peculiar is that Valve apparently learned no lessons about the frustration they generate in their most dedicated fans.

The silence over Episode 3, or what for seemingly no reason most now think will be Half-Life 3, is infuriating. And not because we deserve to know about it, nor because Valve have any obligation to say. But unfortunately, Valve have confused us. They act in an extraordinarily open way in so many cases, with remarkable access via email, and an engagement with the community that’s the envy of the gaming world. While they of course receive backlashes, and there is a contingent of Angries who will always hate them, the goodwill they receive is enormous. This, combined with their more recent engagement with complex ARGs and hiding clues everywhere, has given the impression that they want to share what’s going on with us. And that confuses us.

If Episode 3 went horribly wrong, it would be fascinating to know. If they developed the game and it was complete arse, it wouldn’t damage Valve’s reputation for saying so. If it’s been in ongoing development, constantly iterated and improved upon, perhaps even morphing into Half-Life 3, everyone would be so excited to hear. If they just ran out of ideas, or got bored of Freeman, we’d love to know why.

So no, of course Valve has no obligation, and we have no right, to know what’s happening. But I’m struggling to think of a reason why it would harm them to keep us up to date. Were they a completely secretive organisation, unreachable, who only announce a new game the day it comes out, then our expectations would be somewhere else. But it is the confusion of the contradiction of Valve’s surprising openness and closed secrecy that leads to the bewildered frustration of their audience.

So in short, Valve, tell us what’s going on with Half-Life 3?

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229 Comments »

  1. Meat Circus says:

    Rise and shine, Mr Freeman. Rise and shine.

  2. JackDandy says:

    I’d like to know that too, but I also think every game should take as long as it takes to develop into a good product.

    I have faith in Gaben.

    • sinbad269 says:

      Yea, and then you get games like Duke Nukem Forever. Of course, that also falls into the “Too many cooks spoil the broth” category

    • zeroskill says:

      I’d like to know on what base you are implying that Valve is ever going to release something as atrocious as Duke Nukem Forever.

    • woodsey says:

      “and then you get games like Duke Nukem Forever”

      Uh… Nope. No you don’t.

      You get games like DNF by having an incredibly lazy team start work on it over 10 years ago, have them go bankrupt, watch it fall through redesigns and the hands of other developers, until one of them is actually stupid enough to buy it up and believe that people will swallow the steaming pile of shit whole.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      Which, fair play to gearbox. They more or less did.

    • zaphod42 says:

      @woodsey

      “You get games like DNF by having an incredibly lazy team start work on it over 10 years ago, have them go bankrupt, watch it fall through redesigns and the hands of other developers, until one of them is actually stupid enough to buy it up and believe that people will swallow the steaming pile of shit whole.”

      LAZY? You’re talking out your ass, man. You have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re like one of those pointy haired bosses who complains to his programmers “Why is this taking so long! All you’re doing is typing!”

      DNF had lots of major issues, but it wasn’t LAZY developers. Jesus. Like you know. Like you’ve ever written a AAA video game in your life. You simply have no idea what is involved.

      DNF was a failure in management. Software is INSANELY hard to mange, and most people fail to realize this (as you seem to). Problems are often much more complicated than you realize at the start, and once you’ve already got a development schedule if you start delaying it can be hard to get back on track. Feature creep is a huge problem which can keep you from completing a project and is insanely easy to slip into.

      DNF was re-written probably some 10 times on 10 different game engines. I know it was on the Quake 2 engine originally, then they ported what they had to Unreal and re-wrote the rest, that is a ton of work.
      They effectively made and remade SEVERAL games in that time, not just one. Its just bad management, they made several products that weren’t marketable rather than one product that was. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t make tons of content, and that certainly doesn’t mean they were LAZY.

      Then they went bankrupt, the game was canned, the team was let go, and the investors were screwed their investment money.

      Then Randy Pitchford, CEO of Gearbox, who got his start in gaming at 3DRealms, decided to make it up to his old employer by buying what they had done and finish it. You have to understand the context here and he probably wouldn’t have done it otherwise. Also, after spending so much to buy the licence for the game and existing content, they couldn’t have spent years working on it themselves as well or it wouldn’t be profitable. So they had to just patch it up and ship it out. And hey, I think off novelty they made enough money to pay off the investors and pay themselves back. So everybody wins, right?

      Would you rather nobody ever got to play DNF? Consider if Randy Pitchford had found you at E3 with a bootleg CD and offered you the never-released DNF for $60, but warned you it would probably be broken. Wouldn’t you still jump at the chance to see it, just out of curiosity?

      Just, so much ignorant judgement on your part. As a game developer, I was freaking offended. I don’t get offended easily, this is the internet after all. But you come on Rock Paper Shotgun and you just scapegoat developers as LAZY… ugh. I’d like to see you do better.

    • subedii says:

      3D Realms took ten years, and made Duke Nukem Forever.

      Valve took ten years, and made Team Fortress 2.

      And when I first played TF2 back in the beta, I felt as if with all the years of iteration that they did, all the massive changes, it was worth it.

      Needless to say, I’m going to stick with Valve here.

    • Baines says:

      @woodsey

      People involved with DNF have spoken on the issue, and the main problem that DNF faced was a director that kept changing the game.

      Whenever a new FPS came out, Broussard wanted features and scenes from it added to DNF. Combine that with several years of different FPS release and you have a game doomed to development hell no matter how hard the team worked. (More so when you consider how engines changed over the years, so a few years of delay pretty much meant you had to start over.)

    • rubira says:

      @zaphod42

      * CLAP * CLAP * CLAP * Bravo!

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Would you rather nobody ever got to play DNF? Consider if Randy Pitchford had found you at E3 with a bootleg CD and offered you the never-released DNF for $60, but warned you it would probably be broken. Wouldn’t you still jump at the chance to see it, just out of curiosity?

      Ha! What? No. No! No. Absolutely not. No. Why.

    • Slinky MCPunchfist says:

      I think Valve is doing the right thing not releasing info. We know the game is being developed, Gabes stated it many a time before. When you play a great game without seeing much of it before or knowing much about it and it’s a completely new experience it’s just that much better. I can honestly say I enjoy games a lot more when I know nothing about them going in than if I’ve been following them for a year.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      “Consider if Randy Pitchford had found you at E3 with a bootleg CD and offered you the never-released DNF for $60, but warned you it would probably be broken. Wouldn’t you still jump at the chance to see it, just out of curiosity?”

      Are you joking? Of course I wouldn’t. I didn’t pay $60 for it at retail (and I won’t even pay $5 for it bargain bin), so why would I pay $60 for it in some scuzzy backroom deal?

    • Machinations says:

      “Would you rather nobody ever got to play DNF?”

      If you mean the final product that shipped as ‘Duke Nukem Forever’ I would have to say yes.

      Somewhere humour got lost and stupid and crass became a euphemism for funny, kind of like Postal 3.

      Serious Sam is the Duke Nukem that should’ve been. Instead, we got cats in microwaves.

    • Kent says:

      Right. There exists no lazy or incompetent game developers out there. It’s all circumstances and management when it comes to developing games. Good to know.

  3. Rinox says:

    I’m not sure I agree. It’ll come when it comes (or not). There are enough interesting games to play / other things to do to keep me busy til I’m 80, so getting any expositions on the how, why or when of HL3 doesn’t really matter to me.

    • Avenger says:

      That is unless an early death comes before such a game gets announced…

    • mouton says:

      Then it would matter even less, would it not.

    • Rinox says:

      Indeed. Incidentally, Avenger’s comment almost sounded like a threat. :-O

    • battles_atlas says:

      I think we’re all in agreement that Rinox’s martyrdom to bring about the return of the Messiah is a most noble of gestures. To the stoning wall!

    • Rinox says:

      And Rinox said, “Father Gabe, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his games by casting lots.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      I’m with you on this one. More news of HL3 interest the media much, much more than it interest us, gamers. It’s already hard to keep up with what we got.

      I prefer utter silence to increasing hype… I’ll never forget what Diablo 2 and SimCity 3000 done to me.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      well good for you, personally i see HL3 as more important then the second coming and would put everything on hold for it.
      I think we are well overdue on getting an excellent narrative driven FPS.
      I WANT IT NOW!!!

  4. Choca says:

    I’d rather have them keep silent and give us a good game once it’s done. Bullshots and useless trailers don’t do it for me anyway.

    • Dowson says:

      I do agree that the fact they don’t waste time on usless ‘press releases’ that are just advertising full of images that have been photoshopped more than an issue of FHM is a good thing, and for most the games they release they tend to do marketing spot on.
      But for HL3/EP3, the fact that I don’t even know which one its going to be, if its even in development, on what is a monumental series that ended on a cliffhanger, its just dropping the ball.
      They can only rely on fan devotion for so long and I think even worse, the half life series becoming irrelevant.

    • John Walker says:

      Except they do, all the time. Valve sends out huge numbers of press releases for all manner of things. They’re as much a part of that system as anyone else.

    • Dowson says:

      @John
      They must pull it off well because I rearly notice any press related stuff beyond announcements of Steam records or when they just reveal a new game and in the short run up to release.

      Bar TF2 of course.

    • Lewis Denby says:

      I probably receive more press releases from Valve than any other company outside the major publishers. Many of them are about extremely trivial things, like the number of hats purchased in TF2 this week. It is this why their silence over what is surely their largest project to date is curious.

    • dangermouse76 says:

      Agreed.

      I have to say being what 35 now I have myself left these kind of annoyances behind. If the game comes out it comes out. I am not angry, sad, frustrated with the company. Perplexed might be about right, but not in a persistant way.

      This does not mean I dont love games enough, just that I can wait. And there are plenty of other games to play in the meantime. Is it damaging them ….. maybe with some people, is it damaging them that much, no I dont think so.

      Although I am all dizzy over what the Skyrim DLC might be ( like a girl no les ).

  5. Network Crayon says:

    Half Life Episode 3 makes me feel like Miss Havisham, jilted and cranky. longing the return of a game that may never come.

    On a lighter note, the sense of mystery is probably in the long run more amusing than the game may actually be once its eventually released.

    • Machinations says:

      Meh, screw Half-Life 3.

      Valve is single-handledly saving PC gaming via Steam, forget it not.

      Team Fortress 2 alone is a classic for the ages, or Left for Dead 2 – and all that free DLC Microsoft charges 10-20$ a pop for – I got all that for free and paid 10 bux for L4D2. Money well spent.

      Belly-aching over when a new Half Life gets released is ridiculous. They will release it when they want to. Until then, suck it up, buttercup.

    • jalf says:

      Er.. So you’re saying there would be no PC games if it wasn’t for Valve?

      Yeeeeah…… Right.

  6. vodka and cookies says:

    My guess Valve lost interest, the unique decentralized management system they have means only projects people want to work on are active.

    Another Half Life game was probably in the works at one point and they decided it wasn’t good enough, mothballed it and everyone went off to work on other things they were more enthusiastic about. They don’t need the money so their is no urgent financial interest in pushing out more Half Life games.

    Alternatively they are still working away on a a Half Life 3 that will wrap everything up but the length of the game with AAA costs can take a long time to complete mixed in with people moving off to other projects.

    • baby snot says:

      My guess is they’re finishing Ep 3 and along with Dota 2 and CS:GO are also working on applying some spit and polish to Black Mesa to be released as a tribute. No new Source engine. No HL3.

    • Merus says:

      I think your first theory is absolutely on the money. They’ve said all they can say with Gordon Freeman., and they’re no longer particularly interested in silent protagonists, particularly given that people engage much more with the barely characterised classes in Team Fortress 2 than they ever did with Gordon Freeman.

      But let’s think for a moment what will happen if Valve say, right out, that Half-Life 3 isn’t coming. I can’t imagine people will take it well and be accepting, and then if someone comes up with a really exciting conclusion to the Half-Life story they can’t do it because they’ve already said Half-Life 3 isn’t coming.

    • battles_atlas says:

      I don’t think there is a great danger that there will never be another HL game, such is the times we live in. Even Valve aren’t entirely immune to such franchise demands, even if they are significantly insulated from them. The question is whether it appears next week or in ten years.

      If they don’t at least do Ep.3 it will remain an albatross around their next for ever and day, so they really should save themselves the agony and make it

    • ObiDamnKenobi says:

      If they made HL3 just as a continuation of HL2, adding nothing new would people be interested? I’ve realized I don’t really care about half life any more at this point.

      And if they are adding some cool new mechanic, the most extremest graphics (!) etc could they be waiting for new consoles? Valve is definitely a console dev now so I think that would make sense.

    • sephiroth says:

      I think the problem is that half life is on such a pedestal now that they don’t want to release anything that isn’t perfect and no game is ever perfect even from valve.

      The source engine as epic as it is, is old now and not really oh how do I say this I want to say good enough but its still very good. er um help me internetz
      Ok here goes sorta, Episode 3 should be in the source engine as its the last part of half life 2 which is source BUT so much time has passed that maybe they feel the source engine will let the game down for not being directx 11ey enough or just not as much above what others have done in the mean time to be viewed as well as half life 2 was on release. think that sorta is what I’m trying to say

      As for Half life 3 I think its the same problem that they can’t use source engine for it BUT they dont have a new engine so are a bit stuck. source engine works on the console boxes which is a big plus but a new engine that actually uses a PC probably wont unless its either the work of god or massively worse than it good be. the first option is impossible as there is no god and the second option doesn’t seem valve like to me anyway

      half life 3 WILL turn up next console generation on a new engine thats my bet and I also bet it won’t be as awesome as the first 2 (sadly) but hay I said that about half life 2 and I was wrong

  7. Meat Circus says:

    FWIW, the reason why I think everyone’s started talking about Half Life 3 is because of the presumption that Valve pulled the plug on Episode 3. Presumably because it wasn’t good enough.

    Valve are perfectionists, see. And if we’re honest, the episodes, whilst having some memorable moments and fun set-pieces, were treading water. Repeating the same formula a few too many times. Being mobbed by headcrabs whilst waiting for a slow-moving elevator? Again? Sigh.

    So we’ve all guessed Valve are holding off until they can come up with a new “hook” that will make Half Life 3 genre-defining again.

    • S Jay says:

      Say whaaaaaat?

    • Monkey says:

      A portal sequel, a Counter Strike re-skin, a dota game, and TF2 hats; looks pretty tready water stylee to me

      As far as Half Life i think you’re right, they’re waiting for a very good idea – just like everyone else

    • tinners says:

      Maybe they want to wrap up the series in the forthcoming game, but to do that would require an ending that lives up to the story arc that has been created so far. If anyone saw how Lost turned out, they will know that this can go spectacularly wrong.

      Keep working on it Valve. You are the best thing to happen to gaming, ever, full stop. We know you can do it.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I don’t think Portal 2 was particularly treading water. It was very ambitious in the scale of narrative and mechanics if you think about coop puzzle solving, it just failed a little in the execution.

    • scatterbrainless says:

      I absolutely agree, you can’t release a title made famous for its innovation and make it the same as the last one (funny how innovation is only innovative once). But in coverage of this issue people seem to be endlessly confusing the issue of “we want another half-life” with what the group seems to be saying which is just “do your thing Valve, but could you at least keep us in a tiny section of the loop?”

  8. johnpeat says:

    I’ll take Valve’s approach over Blizzard’s anyday. Blizzard announce things GLACIALLY early – and even when they say “it will be a year or 2″ it will usually be 4 – and then they’ll announce a 7 month delay…

    I’ve long since given-up caring about D3 (and GW2 for that matter) – there’s a limit to how much carrot-dangling people will take and how many trailers and developer interviews I want to see before you just pony-up the damned game.

    Of course if you’ve said nothing then I don’t care – that there will be sequels does not mean they have to be done on EA’s annual clock…

    • Meat Circus says:

      Indeed. Also, people seem to have forgotten about Team Fortress 2. And that worked out fine in the end.

    • gillesv says:

      Meat Circus: funny story actually. I visited Valve as a student around April 2006. Episode 1 was just around the corner, and we got to take a tour of their offices. During Q&A with Gabe Newell I asked him about Team Fortress 2. Back then, nothing had been said about TF2 for a very long time. The only screenshots in existence were those ancient Quake Engine powered ones from 1999, IIRC.

      I wanted to ask an original question, since everyone else kept asking the same questions about Half Life this and Counterstrike that.

      He refused comment, of course.

      But 18 months after my innocent question the game was suddenly released.

      Coincidence???!

    • Text_Fish says:

      I think it’s time you paid them another visit then Gillesv.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      Proof both that gillesv is a magician, and also Valve only keep quiet about the very best games.

      On this evidence alone, I declare Ep/HL3 will be rather good.

    • crinkles esq. says:

      HL2 is treading water? What? Each Episode has only gotten better. It’s certainly not treading water in the narrative. Sure, I’m sure we’re all getting tired of the same monsters, but they have managed to keep everything interesting. Of course at this point it’s a bit like Mad Men — it’s been off the air so long, I barely even remember the last season.

  9. Derppy says:

    I’d want to know if Half Life 3 will feature a new engine.

    I’m fan of the Half Life -games, but I think source engine was way bigger than Half Life 2, or the episodes. There’s a ton of games and mods built on it and they all share the same “feel”.

    If they come up with a new engine for Half Life 3, the game itself will be an awesome tech demo for me. I will enjoy playing it, but it will also be a glimpse of what games like Team Fortress 3 and Left 4 Dead 3 could be and what sort of tools the modding community has in their hands.

    • roryok says:

      yeah, I have a feeling this is whats taking so long. I think they’re working on a new version of the Source engine. I’m imagining HalfLife 3 looking something like Battlefield 3

      • best_jeppe says:

        Yeah, I am suspecting the same thing. Developing a new game-engine takes A LOT of time, probably at least 2 – 3 years depending on how many are working on it and so forth.

        My gut feeling is that if they are gonna close-up the Half-Life series then they want to do it as spectacular as possible in the best graphic glory that can be mustered at the time. Even though it would be awesome to play Half-Life 3/Episode 3 it would be a bit underwhelming in the graphical department if they used the Portal 2 Source-Engine. It would still look good but not as good as Battlefield 3 and the like.

        So I think the development of a new graphics engine (among other things) is the reason to why we haven’t heard anything about it.

        And as I said in a couple of previous posts, it went 5 years from the release of the Original Half-Life to the announcement of Half-Life 2. It still hasn’t been 5 years since Episode 2 was released.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          +2 Flail of Replying

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          Well, they said a couple times in 2011 that there’s no engine incoming. I think it’s more likely they’re rebuilding the SDK so it’ll be less time consuming in the long run to iterate on the gameplay. I’m sure they’ll add some bells and whistles to the engine whenever the game comes out, but I’m not expecting anything much better looking than Counter Strike: GO.

        • deadly.by.design says:

          /replyfail
          @best_jeppe: My only problem with your idea is that the original HL didn’t end before the Xen levels. We weren’t promised the final chapter and then made to wait five years.

          Honestly, though, the Black Mesa source mod’s release woes are more infuriating than any HL3 blackout. Everyone knew the mod would take time, but they blew several projected release schedules and now a policy of silence (2 years running). It would be maddening if I really wanted to play it, so I basically have to stop caring. Fricken tell us ANYTHING and it would be better than the current situation.

          http://isblackmesareleased.com/

        • Ostymandias says:

          Reply fail

    • Derppy says:

      roryok: God I hope not.

      I mean, Frostbite 2.0 is capable of amazing stuff and very realistic graphics, but Battlefield 3 looks just terrible. I’m not a big fan of color-grading with ridiculous bloom, contrast and blue tint.

      Edit: Even made a few pictures to illustrate the issue a while back. http://i.imgur.com/vs5vN.jpg http://i.imgur.com/EwDTg.jpg

  10. wccrawford says:

    Valve is open everywhere that matters. And they’re closed where it matters: Release dates. They’ve got a clear record of releasing something when it’s ready, and not before. Being badgered to reveal details doesn’t help any. If it were me, it would just reinforce my belief that saying something too soon would cause worse pain.

    Valve’s crime is creating games that are too good. You won’t find me picking up a pitchfork over that.

  11. jezcentral says:

    Blimey, a full 30% of the Group are currently on-line in Steam.

  12. skyturnedred says:

    No rush Valve, I still haven’t finished Half-Life 2. And at this pace, it’s gonna take me another two years or so. Afterwards, there are the two Episodes to play… so I’ll be ready in about five years.

  13. Text_Fish says:

    Valve may not have a legal obligation to release information, but I do think they have some moral obligations to people who’ve spent their money in good faith on a story that they were led to believe would receive some form of closure three or four years ago. Valve have fulfilled their contract with the consumer with each episode and all monetary debts are settled, but there’s a debt of “good will” that seems yet to even be acknowledged by Valve.

  14. Meat Circus says:

    My feeling (based on nothing) is that Valve might try to make Half Life 3 more of an immersive sim than a straight shooter.

    Might be one way to break the “retreading old ground” deadlock.

    • Soon says:

      H.A.L.F. L.I.F.E.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Well, they did hire evil super genius Doug Church last year, so….

      (I highly doubt it’ll be an immersive sim, but a man can dream)

    • MD says:

      It’d be a lovely surprise if they tried that, but it seems to go against every visible sign of their strengths and ambitions as a developer. Their games don’t take forever to finish because they’re ambitious in scope or in depth, but because they’re polishing and focus-testing the fuck out of them.

  15. Meat Circus says:

    And what news of Fart Cops?

    • PeopleLikeFrank says:

      Indeed! Why don’t journalists ever ask the tough questions? Always dancing around the true issues with these irrelevancies.

  16. moocow says:

    If you read the great behind the scenes story on Half Life 2 where missing the release date and not owning up until the last minute seemed to deeply upset them, it’s clear that Valve are trying to reduce the situations where they announce a game only for it to be delayed extensively. (Though still not very successfully, as the history of inaccurate release dates that has become the joke of “Valve Time”)

    It makes sense then that they will wait until as late as possible moment to announce Half Life 3 to minimise the chance of long delays and disappointing gamers.

    This seems like a much better strategy than being transparent about what they’re developing, leading to constant speculation about release dates, hype and the subsequent fatigue that they can’t control, and inevitably disappointed gamers

    Perhaps they should have said “OK so Episode 3 obviously isn’t coming out in the same way Ep 2 did”, but that is surely redundant to anyone paying attention.

    And if you want my prediction, mid-2013 release, late 2012 announcement, Half-Life 3, the final chapter of Half-Life games, and the technical twist will be an engine with massively robust world physics. Like Red Faction on sweet sweet crack cocaine

    • soldant says:

      The thing is though the leak made it painfully obvious that they weren’t going to make the release date. If the leak hadn’t have happened, what were Valve going to do? Say nothing? Valve’s silence was entirely their own fault.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      @soldant

      Well, the leak made it appear that the game was barely put together, but I believe one of the articles about Gembe (possibly the one linked in John’s article, I don’t remember) stated that he found tons and tons of assets on their servers, but was only able to get a handful of them along with the source code. Who knows how much was actually done before they scrapped it due to the leak?

  17. OldSkoolSkill says:

    I imagine the reason its taking so long is that there will be a new source engine to show off first (just as it was with half life 2) . and Dota2 & Global Ops will be the last games based on the current Source engine.

    Too be honest a new Source engine, would be another win for valve, if they can get it out before Unreal Engine 4

  18. Alexandros says:

    They’re probably working on a new engine as well guys. I know they said they’ll continue updating Source but I don’t really believe them. Half-Life 3, on a brand new engine, redefines FPS for yet another time. That’s my bet.

    • RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

      What do you expect from a new engine?
      An often mentioned limitation of the Source engine is that it has difficulty handling large outdoor areas. And I guess there is a limit to your flexibility if you rely on calculating most of your lighting while compiling a level. But this is what allows more realistic lighting. Perhaps adding more flexibility would allow for more complex spatial puzzles, I don’t know, but is this necessary for a Half Life game?

      Most visual improvements can be made with new or modified shaders. A few great examples you see in Portal 2 are moving water (created for Left 4 Dead 2, to guide the player), the interactive fizzler shader and the gels that seem to have bubbles inside them. And low-end machines (which apparently included Mac) even have to use simplified versions to keep the framerate up. This is not an engine limitation, but a hardware limitation.

    • Malcolm says:

      My understanding is that the Valve regard the DX9 market (ie anyone with Intel Graphics) too important to ditch support for, and hence the relatively sedate pace of Source engine development. Until Intel manage to produce a decent integrated graphics solution (or everyone ditches Intel to buy an AMD Llano laptop) I think we’re going to have to go elsewhere for our out-and-out graphical showcases.

      That said, comparing Half Life 2 to Portal 2 is like night and day. I remember watching tech demos of the Source Engine (particularly the facial animation and lipsyncing) open mouthed – it all looks pretty rough these days!

    • Alexandros says:

      @Dreadnought I only have two major things that I want Valve to fix: the frequent loading screens and the “floaty” feeling of the player character. If they can update Source so that these issues aren’t a problem anymore, I would be ok with that.

  19. terry says:

    I don’t really mind about them keeping stumm on new games, but as anyone who has ever dealt with Steam support already knows, Valve are pretty atrocious when it comes to communication with their customers in general. As an example, I *still* don’t know why they took away the useful ability to tag games in Steam (so you could define a game as being an FPS and a Stealth game and Unfinished, for example), instead plumping for one measly category per game. If I asked on the Steam forums, I’d be lambasted by idiots and never get any form of official response. The actual route to complain about something Steam related seems to be email Gabe, whose inbox must have a server farm of its own at this point, and he’ll filter the message down to whoever deals with it. For a business of their size that is insane.

    So yeah, I don’t see their silence over HL3 as anything other than the way they operate.

  20. Werthead says:

    I think the reason people assume that Ep3 has morphed into a full HL3 is that releasing another 4-hour game in the increasingly ageing (ageing well, to be sure, but definitely no longer cutting-edge) Source Engine after four and a half to five years in development seems odd, and possibly rather cheap of them.

    HALF-LIFE is Valve’s core and key franchise. We know from contemporary interviews that Valve split the HL2 team into two groups, one working on Ep 1 and the other on Ep 2, and when Ep 1 was finished that team started preliminary work on Ep 3. However, we also know about Valve’s philosophy about getting the whole team to work on projects that excite them, so we can assume that this division of labour broke up at some point and different people in the company went off to work on the LEFT 4 DEAD games, additional TF2 content, PORTAL 2 and their current two projects. We also need to recall that Valve began working on HALF-LIFE somewhere around 1995-96, and aside from the TF2 team many people at the company had been doing nothing but HALF-LIFE from that point to the release of Ep 2 at the end of 2007.

    A dozen years is a long time to work on one franchise, especially one as consuming as HALF-LIFE. The RAISING THE BAR book shows the sheer amount of work that went into HL2 and the episodes and it’s pretty staggering (huge amounts of which never appeared in the final game). Valve taking a few years off to work on other, shorter and lighter projects is understandable. However, I do feel they have an obligation to finish the story they began and left, in Ep 2, on a monumental cliffhanger. They have no obligation to release it on any kind of timetable set by fans, but better communication would be good. They could say they don’t even plan to start work on HL3 until 2017, and that would at least end the current round of speculation.

    • coldvvvave says:

      >monumental cliffhanger

      Was that even a cliffhanger? I don’t really understand why people were so excited over that ending. I never cared about any of the characters and I never cared about Borealis. In my opinion EP2 ended with… nothing. Anyway, that attempt at drama failed to impress me. I thought it was B-movie from the start and VALVE was ok with that, adding something more or less dramatic contradicted the mood. This is actually one of my biggest problems with HL2. HL was a darker b-movie from start to finish, fully accepting itself as one. HL2 added a cast of over-the-top characters that delivered tons of light-hearted cheesy dialogue and jokes. Some may call it a good contrast with, for example, early post-Ravenholm chapter( the most atmospheric one, I think) but well, I disagree.

    • sneetch says:

      “I don’t really understand why people were so excited over that ending. I never cared about any of the characters and I never cared about Borealis”

      I imagine that the people who found it exciting do so because they do care about those characters and the situation they were left in, at least that’s why I found it exciting and have been eagerly awaiting 3. Well, that’s starting to fade, it’s been too long, I’ll just have to replay the whole series before I start HL3/Ep3.

  21. DickSocrates says:

    Valve thrives on trolling its fanbase. Thankfully, I don’t consider myself one of them so escape their constant prodding and goading. Steam’s good.

  22. Crainey says:

    With the next generation of consoles coming in the next year probably it’s more likely that they’ll want to completely redesign a new engine and create Half-Life 3, which would be most exciting indeed! Obviously doing something like this is very challenging and they want to get it just right, perhaps they haven’t been happy with the results and development is taking much longer than they hoped. Either way, I’d really like to know if we’re looking at Half-Life 3 or simply Episode 3, maybe even both. I imagine a world where they release Half-Life 3 (and PC obviously) on the next generation of consoles and then release Episode 3 exclusively for PC to keep the PC gamers happy!

  23. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    HL2 and the episodes didn’t totally blow me away in any case, the original towers above them, so I’ve never had that much invested in the possibility of a third incarnation.

    But I generally agree, there does come a point where the secretive stuff does start to get a bit silly. Maybe even a tad pretentious too, Valve aren’t the second coming of video game makers.

  24. jimjames says:

    I definitely would like to know something about Half Life 2 ep 3. I’m guessing that after such a long hiatus from the series there is definitely something special planned for its return, and that’s why I can be patient, because I know something decent will come up, and I have other things to do in the mean time. I’m just as impatient for Diablo 3, and that’s been a berzillion years!

    John Walker mentioned the hacking of Valves servers as an example of fan impatience, Gembe had quite a number of mental problems and a troubled upbringing, using this as an example of dedication isn’t exactly right. In the interview he seems more lonely, there’s something else that’s driving this level of obsession. Of course, there are fans who might of downloaded the code, but (discounting anyone the illegal / unethical side of things) who wouldn’t want an early copy of Half Life 2?

    I kind of feel, generally, this article comes across as a little spoilt. Your tone is venomous, and for a company that’s basically making us man-toys (albeit for cash-exchange), its drifted a bit from planet reasonable. Just my opinion though.

  25. Nighthood says:

    I’d always assumed they were using the logic of “if we don’t acknowledge it the problem will go away”.

    It’s going to be a tall order to make another great Half Life game, while pleasing both new and old fans.

  26. kikito says:

    I would be happy with a “We are working on HL3. We still can’t tell you when we estimate to have it done, or show you any screenshots, but here is this and that technical detail that some of you might find interesting”.

  27. Buttless Boy says:

    I dunno, I played the Episodes recently and was kinda shocked by how boring I found them. Lots of corridor-esque shooting at boring enemies and very little of the exploration of HL2 or quirky puzzles and emergent story of HL1. I never finished Episode 2, I got to the end and didn’t have the energy to slog through yet another “shoot crap with rockets” scene. If Valve needs to take an extra five years to remember what made Half-Life fun, let ‘em.

    I didn’t think Portal 2 was all that great either though, so maybe I’m just dumb.

  28. stahlwerk says:

    Episode / HL3? I do not care. I think more important is the question if that short Valve intro video will ever be changed. And since I’m already on this eSoapbox, let me just say that I’m not a big fan of it. A valve on a shaved head? Because it’s the name of the company, and they want to get inside your brain, get it?

  29. Leaufai says:

    It IS irritating, as there’s probably not a (potential) game I’m more excited about than Half-Life (Episode) 3. I drool not because of gorgeous screenshots, promised features, or anything tangible (aside from 3 concepts), but of the potential Valve has in the current or next gen. No doubt many out there share my opinion, resulting in the need for these articles.

    But why is Valve so secretive?
    Is it because it’s been shelved because of it’s quality? Not a chance, judging by their track record. Their constant innovation and the potential of the HL universe makes running out of ideas for Gordon Freeman extremely unlikely.

    Then what is it? While there have been other projects at Valve, none of them have been at the scale of Half-Life. Recent releases like Alien Swarm, L4D and Portal were developed by external teams. TF2, CS:GO have been relatively small projects (TF2 starting out small and a lot of work being done by the community and CS:GO being basically a big mod). L4D2 and Portal 2 were pretty big titles (especially Portal 2) but the original games provided a lot of the content. This means that a part of the team has had to be doing something else since 2007.

    They’ve launched enough new franchises in recent years, so it would point to something that has to with Half-Life. Another episode? Unlikely as that’d be a really long time. What could it be then? A full game, aka Half-Life 3? That seems far more likely. Still five years is long without any news. My only conclusion is that they’re building a new engine and Half-Life 3 will be it’s flagship title. The question now is, what generation will they release one. Knowing the modular nation of the Source engine, the answer might be both (meaning they can tone it down for current gen and tone it up for next-gen a few years later).

  30. MadTinkerer says:

    It’s all because Gabe Newell is still feeling burned after what happened with Half Life 2.

    Once upon a time, Valve were open and honest and there was just a bit of over-optimism with exactly how good HL2 was and how close it was to being finished. Then, very close to the release date it was delayed, the alpha files were hacked and released and it was delayed again, et cetera and so forth. In the end, EVERY delay was necessary for HL2 to be as good as it was, and for Valve to have that good of a foundation to work from with future games.

    But telling everyone exactly what was happening just ended up with everyone bitching about it. So after the HL2 launch, Valve started clamming up about anything that wasn’t ready yet. And they were right. The whole thing with the very first Portal 2 preview being so different to the final product proves that even then it was a bit too early to talk about Portal 2.

    Also, I’ve played some of the leaked HL2 alpha and the fact of the matter is that Half Life 2 would have sucked if Valve had tried to make their first deadline.

    Half Life (Episode?) 3 is delayed for very good reasons. We know this because they are delaying it even though they desperately want to finish it and put it out. Some small hints have been leaked that the team has taken at least one “new direction” with the project, but that was a while ago and I suspect that they’ve tried several new things including L4D-izing it into a cooperative single player and multiplayer campaign. Then there’s the Weaponizer and F-Stop and other experimental stuff that may or may not be in the final product. And the key word is “experimental” because Valve themselves have no idea what the final game will be like other than you’ll probably be Gordon Freeman at some point and you’ll probably get to shoot a gun and solve at least one environmental puzzle. One thing is for sure, and that is the project has gone far beyond the original scope of the Episodes, regardless of whether they drop “Episode” and just call it Half Life 3.

    We just have to wait for the details until after it’s released. Because if Valve explain what they’re trying now, we’ll just bitch about it when what they’ve tried isn’t in the final product. I know, because in Portal 2 I was disappointed that you don’t get to meet the other personality spheres until the final battle, but I wouldn’t have been disappointed at all if Valve hadn’t mentioned them in the earliest previews.

    tl;dr: Valve don’t like spoiling the games before they’re released.

  31. Srethron says:

    Thanks for doing this story. I just went and joined the Steam group.

    Does it seem to anyone else like Valve employees are burned out on Half-Life? Which is a shame, because I want to play at least one more round in the saga of Mr. Freeman, hopefully another epic installment that advances the one-path, tight narrative, WTF- is-going-on?! structure of Half-Life. If nothing else *especially* because the story isn’t at a good stopping point right now. Half-Life 2 has ended at an Empire Strikes Back point. While a Half-Life Return of the Jedi may not be as good in the end, it will still be better than not having a conclusion. (Remember Doctor Breen? Now there’s another one! Only this time, dun dun dun, he’s under construction!)

    And hopefully from there we get the sequel trilogy Star Wars never got. If there’s any time I don’t bemoan sequels, it’s when it’s Valve.

  32. asshibbitty says:

    These pieces on RPS are always so peculiar. Like, you start with a point, then immediately say this point is wrong, then you still stick with it and make a really unconvincing argument for it.

    So they should do it, but they don’t have to, but they do cause something bad can happen and also we are a bunch of entitled constantly backpedaling babies.

  33. mcindex says:

    It’s a pure resource curse story – social scientists often write about how governments who manage to capture `easy’ resource like oil or other natural deposits typically lose much of the desire to serve the public – why should they when they no longer need to depend on taxation?

    When you consider the long development times for Valve and, say, Blizzard’s games, consider what happened to their revenue streams around the same time: Blizzard starting making most of its money from WOW, Valve from Steam. While they still hire the right talent and still have the enthusiasm to make fantastic games, they don’t have the financial incentives to release anything with any frequency anymore, nor the self-control needed to announce a day and stick to it.

  34. Kollega says:

    I personally think that Valve have too much goodwill for all the trolling of their fanbase that they do. The monumental-cliffhanger-followed-by-nothingness and Eli’s “i-wanna-tell-you-everything-but-will-not-get-a-chance-to” at the end of Episode 2, the extremely spiteful and not at all funny treatment of player by GLaDOS in Portal 2 and the hat-related trolling of TF2 fans are great examples of this. I may not be in the majority with thinking like this, but there is certainly a growing sentiment along these lines.

  35. arienette says:

    I’m not sure you’re quite right John, we here are all stakeholders with a vested interest in Valve, its actions and its success. They have no real requirement to keep us informed, but as part of the relationship between Valve and the community they should be doing so.

    Not necessarily a trailer, or screenshots or any such thing, but just a clarification, a quick word. ‘Yeh, we’re on it’ would go a long way, and demanding that little thing seems quite reasonable to me.

    Other than that I agree.

  36. Khemm says:

    Valve are masters of PR. This company can even get away with one of the strictest and annoying DRMs ever by sugarcoating it with “features” which programs like Xfire offer without DRM attached, which is LOL-worthy.

    Valve rides solely on HL fame. The first game was great, the second was mostly boring as hell, but had the “gravity gun”, which for some reason made up for its shortcomings. Since HL2, Valve has not done anything worth caring about, Portal aside. They’re updating the old with unnecessary things just for the sake of updating and rehashing the old just so they release SOMETHING – CS, L4D. Their “HL2 episodes” were pathethic.

    They’re no longer a game developer, they’re the owners of Steam first and foremost – that’s what they care about and what they pump all their resources into.

    Gabe would make a great politian – doing nothing, kissing babies, telling people he LOVES them, driving across the country and shaking hands while silently increasing taxes. That’s what Valve’s activity comes down to.

    • Okami says:

      Your opinion is wrong.

    • rocketman71 says:

      @Okami +1

    • Prime says:

      No…not entirely wrong. In fact I agree with most of it.

      (Yes, agreeing with Khemm has worried me a little. I’m away for a lie down and cup of tea.)

    • sneetch says:

      I strongly disagree that the HL episodes, TF2, L4D 1 and 2 and Portal 2 weren’t worth caring about, they were all excellent, in fact I think just about everything they’ve done since HL2 has been worth caring about.

      Alien Swarm was fun too and free.

    • greenbananas says:

      Make that two cups, Prime.

      People may not like him or what he’s saying but Khemm’s mostly hit the nail on the head. This lot? The ones that dangled the most sought after sequel to one of the most loved games of all time behind the single most aggravating DRM scheme ever invented (one that everybody and their grandma has come to adore, virtue of the PR genius Khemm mentions), “bastions of consumers”? No. Nevar forget.

    • piratmonkey says:

      I like Steam, it’s easy to manage my games and friends. And I rather like CS, L4D, TF2 and AS as well.

    • Asuron says:

      @Khemm
      Actually Valve ride on the fame of games such as Half life, Portal, Counterstrike, Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2. So no they aren’t coasting on HL fame?

      I agree with Okami, your opinion is wrong . For every fanatical fan you find defending something crap, you’ll find a person with an irrational hatred of something that is excellent.

    • Prime says:

      [comment redacted. Tired and speaking rubbish. Time for bed]

  37. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    I disagree. I actually applaud Valve for not releasing annoucements of an annoucement of a demo of a game scheduled for Q4. It’s not their thing. I loathe that kind of virulent behavior in current videogame journalism and “gamer culture”. It’s enough to keep me away from most gaming sites, because I enjoy the pleasure of discovering things on my own, not get them plastered on my face.

    And no, the guy who leaked HL2 is not defensible in any way whatsoever. “Dedicated fans” are assholes and delude themselves into thinking that fighting internet wars and day one purchases somehow entitles them to being more than a consumer.

    Would it be nice if Valve were more open and forthcoming? Yes, very much. Do they need to be so? No. Do we need them to be so? No, and if in doubt, see my second paragraph.

  38. Milky1985 says:

    I think valve need to give out information, any they need to do it soon, why?

    Because in my opinion this whole thing of having story archs over multiple games is annoy any gameplayer who actually enjoys the story, simply due to the fact that lots of games are not making the final game (or even the second one (mirrors edge)

    Lots of games nowerdays have cliffhangers etc, some of these are good teasers for a future story, however most are in your face “pay more to see how it should have ended”. Whiel this may work in some ways i have activly stopped buying sequals to games BECAUSE of this. For example i will not be getting crysis 3, i enjoyed crysis a lot, and warhead, then i played crysis 2 and while i can argue about the mechinics change and consolationation till I am blue in the face the main thing is that the story ended in EXCATLY the same way as the first (fights not over need to go back).

    This is just stupid, the only interesting thing was where the nanosuits came from and the really really wierd bit about the creator of the suit (that was a bit too much of a wtf moment, even more so as I called it via the knowledgeof cliches but hoped I was wrong, nothing hinting at it tho)

    Assassins creed, ment to be a trilogy, i didn’t get and will get not revelations, why? because theres no sodding revlation. I knew before it was out that it wasn’t going to reveal anything because they have not changed the setting which they said they would do for the final game in the trilogy.

    Antoher gamei really enjoyed, billed a trilogy, never made the final one, viewtiful joe. The guy is even a character in fighter games now , but no third game. this was a game taking the mick out of hte structure of stories and it never finished.

    The industries obession with making stories link is actualyl breaking the links, a good teaser shoudl make you feel like you have finished and achived something, stoped the plot you set out to stop etc, but still leave you thinking “hum what is it hinting at”, i think the ending of “The Last Remnant” is good , its obvious what its hinting at, but the game felt like you achived somethign and the ending left you asking “just how will this happen”.

    The industry as a whole needs to fix this as i’m sure i’m not the only one that is not bjuying sequals as much any more simply because i’m fed up of stories being left unfinished, plan a sequal but EACH game MUST hold up on its own, both in mechanics and stories. Also if you are plannign trilogies etc then you MUST give out info and timescale of when people can expect to finish the story arch (not the full universe ending all ok story, but that arch, hell even kingdom hearts, from the hated japanese end of the story telling area is planning to end the story arch with KH 3 … which while there is no conreate evidence they have ACTIVLY said that they are planning)

  39. rocketman71 says:

    And hey, Valve, while you’re at it, why not release the really needed DoD:S bugfixes that FuzzDad finished THREE FUCKING YEARS AGO?

    I think we DoDders are a VERY patient bunch, we still play and support the game you gave us (a lot less than what was promised, BTW), we are consistently in the top10 played games in Steam (top 20 in the 2-3 weeks after a big game is released), and we don’t complain much every time some new hats for TF2 are released and something gets broken as a result in DoD:S. AGAIN.

    So how about a little respect for us?. After all, the payload TF2 mode was robbed from DoD:S. And we were the guinea pigs for CS:S transition into the orange engine. Don’t we deserve something in return?.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      After all, the payload TF2 mode was robbed from DoD:S

      And DoD:S stole it from Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.

      Was that inspired from somewhere else, or was it original there? Anyone know?

    • bear912 says:

      I believe Payload was also intended to be, in a way, a smoother version of TFC’s VIP mode, adapted to be a bit less prone to all the things that could go wrong with VIP mode. I didn’t realize it was also an adaptation of a mode from DoD. I learn something new every day!

  40. Prime says:

    What makes it worse is that Ep 2 ended on such a cliff-hanger, a huge emotional moment that was in no way an ending. And then…nothing. I’m a big fan of narratives. But they must have an ending, otherwise my investment in them doesn’t end either, hence the build-up of frustration…

    I don’t agree with John’s comments about HL2 being the Zenith either, or that the Episodes were “excellent”. HL1 was the zenith for me. Their first game. HL2 was a weird mis-step into awkward territory (and I don’t mean City 17) while the episodes were more of the same but far shorter.

    I think it’s time Valve rebooted the entire concept. A new Gordon Freeman for a new era. And focus on Gordon again, not relegating him to a mere silent odd-job man/escort for his cast of poorly AI-scripted hangers-on.

  41. varangian says:

    Oddly enough a few months back the IMDB pages for Merle Dandridge, Michelle Forbes et al said they were rumoured to be engaged for HL3 (or HL2/3 I can’t remember which) but these entries have now disappeared. Since their side of things is much leakier than Valve (hacking aside), what with loads of agents and PR people in the loop, I was inclined to think this meant there was finally some action.

  42. Monchberter says:

    Here’s a major release rundown of reaction to excellence

    HL = Surprise! = Amazing
    CS = Surprise! = Amazing
    HL2 = TOO LATE! = Amazing
    CSS = We didn’t ask for this? = Good
    HL2 Episodes = Late again, but still great
    Portal = Surprise! = Amazing
    Team Fortress 2 = TOO LATE = Amazing
    Left 4 Dead = Wow, a New IP = Amazing
    Left 4 Dead 2 = TOO SOON = Better than the first!
    Portal 2 = Wow, actually released normally = Complacently amazing
    DoTA = We didn’t ask for this? = …
    CS:GO = We didn’t ask for this? = …

    Here’s a not so major release list of reaction to excellence

    TF Classic = Surprise! = Oh wow!
    Ricochet = We didn’t ask for this = Ah.
    Deathmatch Classic = We didn’t ask for this = Eh?
    Gunman Chronicles = We didn’t ask for this = Meh.
    Opposing Force = Where is it? = Ace
    Blue Shift = Release it if you want guys = Meh
    CS: Condition Zero = We didn’t ask for this? = Meh
    Day of Defeat = Surprise! = Awesome!
    HL2DM = Standalone?? = Awesome!
    HL: Source = Surprise! = Pfft.
    HL: SourceDM = Surprise! = Yawn
    Day of Defeat Source = Obvious surprise! = It’s Okaaay…
    Alien Swarm = Surprise! = Oh, wow, greaaaaaaat…

    More than you remember eh if you include sub contract jobs? And there’s definitely a range of quality in Valve releases!

    • Srethron says:

      Good list, but I’d revise four:
      CSS = We didn’t ask for this? = violently split fanbase
      HL2 Episode 1 = Late, short, kind of meh, but not bad either
      HL2 Episode 2 = Late, a lot better than Ep 1, but still kind of short and we’re starting to see cracks.
      Day of Defeat Source Obvious surprise! = It’s Okaaay…, soon followed by, wait, why aren’t we getting any support or bug fixes? Hello?

    • arctic.vampire says:

      I love how you and everyone else give Valve credit for the mods they did not develop.
      Even when they “update” said mods to a “modern” engine.. it’s laughable..
      Valve is a company that no longer makes games,. they BUY GAMES..

      See Portal/2
      See L4D/2
      See Dota2

    • Monchberter says:

      Yeah, they BUY games and RELEASE games and PAY the people who developed them.

      Disgusting isn’t it?

    • Asuron says:

      @arctic.vampire
      I’m pretty sure they hire the original modders, who now, instead of working for free for ungrateful people like you, now get paid to give games to ungrateful people like you.

      Pretty sure guys like Icefrog who spent years modding games for free deserve to get paid for doing so and continue doing what they love without the financial stress they would face from being so dedicated to doing so

    • zeroskill says:

      Yeah I hate companies too that hire modders and give them the opportunity to develop a full blown AAA title from it. Jesus Christ…

  43. Tom says:

    end of the day the L4D1/2 intro and “meet the…” TF2 vids are all rendered using Source.
    the animation’s key-framed and the final output’s pre-rendered, but it’s key-framed and pre-rendered using Source tech and assets, which gives us some idea as to how HL3 could look/sound.

    then there’s Valve’s love of ubiquitous physics – who knows what they’ve got up the sleeves. it’s not like they’ve switched middle-ware. they’ve been developing their Havok based engine continuously since HL2 so god know it’s capable of now.

    on top of that there’s the audio side of things. it’s been noted in the Source wiki that they’re thinking of switching over to openal due to it’s environmental modelling capabilities and extensibility (and of course it’s cross platform) with initial support already available in mac versions. impulse response based environment modelling is an incredible cpu intensive task, and i’m fairly certain you can hear it in action in the L4D2 intro vid – particularly noticeable in the stair scene where Nick tells Coach the helicopter may be made out of chocolate.

    i reckon they’re just waiting for powerful hardware to become the norm so they can pull off something spectacular that everyone can enjoy instead of just hardware enthusiasts. Next-gen consoles in other words.

    so if all previous source based games and vids are an indication, what can we expect – environmentally accurate audio, large scale network synced physics, portals, large scalable crowd scenes/AI, lovely animation, hugely improved rendering… the list goes on, and on, and on.

    i don’t want HL3 to take one technology and make it a bullet point – as physics was to HL2.
    i want all of the above and more crammed into one game. if that’s what Valve’s up to – it’s gonna take a looong time to pull off.

  44. frenz0rz says:

    This is an obvious point, but I dont think the huge cliffhanger that Ep2 ended on – possibly the biggest cliffhanger ending ever in gaming – has helped the situation at all. Its like if Peter Jackson released the first two Lord of the Rings films within a couple of years of each other, then suddenly went silent about the third and went on to work on other projects for 5 years. You’re not entitled to anything, of course. You simply expect the third and final part of the trilogy to be released, particularly if the creators are still going strong.

    • orpheus says:

      I think it’s more like if Lucas had left the cliffhanger at the end of episode V and then went radio silent for a decade. Return of the Jedi probably would have been a lot better though, or there would been more ewoks I’m not sure which.

  45. D3xter says:

    Is this really a thing? Does it need to be? Why don’t they get behind the Dark Souls PC petition instead :P

    Honestly I don’t really care, if they kept to themselves all these years since 2007 and wouldn’t develop anything else, but just support Steam I might… but as you’ve aptly noted they got Left4Dead out there, which was an insanely fun game (and got to be my most played game on Steam till they announced the 2nd part 6 months after xD), they put out Portal 2 with a very good CoOp campaign and they’re working on both DOTA 2 and CS:GO.
    And isn’t *not knowing* and having to speculate sometimes more fun than doing just that? What *if* they came out and said they’re working on Half Life 3 and it’ll be released Christmas of 2012, a few people would be happy and all, but what then?
    Wasn’t the waiting for Duke Nukem Forever more iconic and fun than actually getting it?

    My guess is we’ll probably see a new Half Life when it’s time to “move on” to the next generation of games, likely (and hopefully) on an all new version of the Source Engine with Mod Tools and everything, ushering a new generation of gaming. It might even be closer than we think. But do I really want to know about it right now, instead of waiting for some sort of broad Spiel later on/at the right time swiping me with the moment? No, not really.

  46. NeoVanGoth says:

    Hey, Valve, if you wait for too long, half of the gamers won’t even know there were games called Half-Life.
    Look at DNF: We waited and waited and waited. Finally, we got everything what was promised to us! But: Apart from some old fans, not many even remembered playing some Duke 3D years ago. Even the hardest fans had to admit, that we had HL, Unreal, Dooms and Quakes, CoD, MoH, SS, Crysis and all those great FPS with graphics, story, gameplay and even humor faaaar beyond DNF.
    Hey, Valve, when HL2 came, it boasted great visuals, great scripted sequences, great sound, great physics and so on. Since then, we had far better visuals, scripted sequences, sound and physics. EP2 was fun, but … it also was a time travel back to when linear levels and hordes of stupid bug enemies were state of the art.
    So please, Valve, give us HL3 while it’s still possible to be become great game WITHOUT changing EVERYTHING.

  47. orpheus says:

    You hit the nail on the head at the end of that article for me; it’s not the lack of information but the confusion and uncertainty that is the problem. If they just came out and said we’re not saying anything about hl3 until it’s nearly ready for release then I would personally be fine with that.
    It’s not as if they are going to need a load of marketing beforehand is it!

  48. thefjk says:

    Hold your horses, whatever the reason and it could pretty much be ( we lost Freeman’s eyelash textures and had to stop production until we data recovered the 32kb file from a possible 2304 broken hard drives ) I’m sure we’ll know when we it’s time. Move one, don’t see why you are so confused!

  49. googoogjoob says:

    i’d like to point out that john patrick lowrie (the sniper, male civilians in the hl2 games) commented on december 28th that neither he nor ellen mclain (to whom he is married) have recorded any material for episode 3 or half-life 3, though they’ve both been doing work on dota 2

    http://lowrie.camelpress.com/?p=306#comment-1212

    i dunno how late in dev valve normally records voices, but lowrie and mclain would probably be the first ones to know

  50. Metalhead9806 says:

    A Yes we are working on Half-Life, No we dont have a release date would be fine for me.
    This whole HL3 doesn’t exist they keep spouting annoys me to no end.

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