D.I.C.E. 2013: Newell Vs Abrams – FIGHT!

By Nathan Grayson on February 6th, 2013 at 8:22 pm.

Some people talk. You know, with tongues and barbaric throat gurgles. Like peasants. But those people haven’t conquered entire entertainment industries using titanic minds and the world’s supply of lens flare alone. So naturally, Gabe Newell and JJ Abrams’ verbal sparring match drew a bit more attention than the average bout of watercooler small talk. Also, it helps when the conversation involves the formation of a new creative superteam, a verbal fist-bump between two seismically powerful entities. But where exactly do they want to take their respective mediums? Where do they see eye-to-eye, and what are the biggest sticking points? Straight from DICE in Las Vegas, here’s what Newell and Abrams chatted about.    

The two began their mighty, spark-spattering brainclash for the ages by discussing film’s obvious lack of interactivity. Newell aired a clip of Abrams’ own Cloverfield, complaining that he just wanted the main character to toss the freaking camera and run for his life. Abrams, however, fired back with a clip from Half-Life 2, in which the player completely ignored the game’s dramatic opening scenes in favor of hurling books at Barney’s head and playing with a tiny teleporter. Further, he showed a rather flat early moment with Eli in which Gordon (naturally) didn’t react in the slightest, noting that “players are often asked to imprint themselves and connect with and relate to insanely mute empty vessels. Characters that don’t exhibit behavior in a way that you would. That can be just as frustrating [as not being able to control a movie character].”

Character setup then took center stage, with Abrams spotlighting seemingly pointless scenes from Jaws and Die Hard that ultimately played into the films’ most pivotal moments. “I was really jet lagged once, and I remembered in Die Hard, John McClane was given advice. Someone said, ‘When you get to places, rub your feet on the carpet. It helps you get rid of jet lag.’ So I decided I’d try it. But as I was sitting in my hotel doing that, I realized the reason they did that is so he wouldn’t have his fucking shoes on later and he’d step on glass. It was a complete setup. It had nothing to do with jet lag!” he said, laughing. Games, he argued, simply can’t force players to endure seemingly meaningless moments like that.

Newell, however, countered with a Portal 2 clip in which the player wandered the moldy, overgrown remains of a science fair while Wheatley cracked jokes about potatoes. At the time, it seemed like a throwaway gag, but ultimately, it paved the way for the final act’s potato battery. Newell further noted that players could take as much as they wanted from those scenes, too. They’re self-directed, an element that movies can’t hope to keep pace in, due to that whole “director” gig that’s made JJ Abrams so much money lately.

So of course, Abrams replied by proving that Star Wars’ R2-D2 is in Star Trek. No, seriously! He’s floating around in a heap of space junk toward the film’s end. Abrams’ point was that easter eggs along those lines offer movie viewers a degree of agency, though he conceded that only a small subset of moviegoers ever seek them out.

“But,” Newell interjected, “this is a point where we completely agree. Focus is super important. We had to spend a ton of time with the Portal 2 ending in order to make sure going to the moon was the obvious thing to do, and yet the player felt really creative for coming up with that as a solution. So we agree that when players are constantly trying to optimize, it’s important to give them a focus that allows them to isolate on the variable we want them to optimize.”

“In TV and movies too, it’s all about this illusion of freewill,” said Abrams. “We’re always trying to hide the machinery. You’re always leading people to critical moments that will add up and tell the story. I think it’s a harder thing in games, frankly. One of the things movies can do is set things up in a way that makes you deeply care.”

“Because if you don’t care about the characters, nothing matters. No explosion. No spaceship flying. These things will not matter to anyone at all if you don’t tell a good story.”

Both proceeded to trade scenes: Abrams went back to Die Hard – presenting a moment of action-free, completely mundane chit-chat – while Newell played fetch with Dog in Half-Life 2. “So ostensibly, in gamer terminology, you’re getting a new weapon and that’s pretty exciting. But at the same time, we’re telling you a lot about Alyx. Her relationship with her father, that she grew up somewhat lonely, that she’s a little bit playful. And all this is coming through while you’re getting this cool new weapon. So I think we agree that both games and movies take advantage of the power of discovery and mystery.”

And then they started talking about how much they liked each others’ works, which led to this exciting exchange:

“What we’re actually doing here,” Newell said, “is recapitulating a series of conversations that have been going on [between Abrams and I]. This is what happens when game and movie people get together. And we sort of reached the point where we decided that we needed to do more than talk. So we’re gonna try and figure out if we can make a Portal movie or a Half-Life movie together.” Meanwhile, Abrams added: “And we have a game idea we’d like to work with Valve on.”

“It’s time for our industries to stop talking about potential and really execute on it,” Newell concluded.

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94 Comments »

  1. Totally heterosexual says:

    Gabe looks suave as hell here.

  2. exogen says:

    “shew grew”

  3. Armante says:

    *mind blown*

    the potential is amazing. either amazingly bad, or amazingly good.
    i rather hope for the latter :)

  4. smoke.tetsu says:

    This whole exchange reminds me of the “You’ve got chocolate in my peanut butter. You’ve got peanut butter in my chocolate” reese’s commercial. It’s as if gaben and JJ Abrams where running down the hallway and ran into each other and something similar happened.

  5. Brosepholis says:

    Good heavens, forays into hardware and now movies. But not one single new game on the horizon.

    • DickSocrates says:

      DOTA2, a game that is already out, but isn’t and appeals to billions but no one you know.

      Actually, yeah, good point. What the hell is Valve going to do next and when? I really, really do not want Portal 3 or L4D3.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        I’ll take a Portal 3.

      • ulix says:

        I’ll take L4D3

      • Kestilla says:

        Left 4 Portal 3. A tower defense game where players take on the role of GLADOS’ four cores as they repel swarms of test subjects to ensure the safety of one delicious chocolate cake.

        • vanosofmanos says:

          Sir, I love your line of thought, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter!

        • MikoSquiz says:

          I want to see Left 4tress 2. It needs to be made.

      • gwathdring says:

        There’s the game they’re going to be making for Abrams.

      • Scumbag says:

        Can people stop typing the number “3″
        It scares Gabe.

  6. elmuerte says:

    Why not put two luminaries against each other.
    How about a Tarantino vs David Cage or something. At least use let some people with actual experience in story telling go head to head.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      Schafer vs Lasseter?

      • Synesthesia says:

        coo, thats a good one!

        • Synesthesia says:

          I’d also like to see a John Waters/Suda 51

          • RedViv says:

            Tale of Tales vs David Lynch! Rob Liefeld vs CliffyB! Frank Miller vs Whoever-the-heck-is-in-charge-with-Dead-Island! Spielberg vs Spector!

            Endless possibilities!

    • woodsey says:

      If David Cage took his level of writing to anyone in the film industry he’d be laughed out of the room in seconds. In fact I’m pretty sure that’s why he now writes games.

      • Emeraude says:

        If anything, that’s what I reproaches the most of all game released by Quantic Dream: they pretend to want to focus on a domain – narrative- focused integration of game-elements, yet completely disregard the skill set(s) which are at its heart. Among which writing.

        Omikron, Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain, all did interesting things (I especially liked some elements in Fahrenheit, like the reworked JP dating-sim UI, or the attempt at reversing gaming convention by contradicting them with narrative) and were interesting for giving the illusion of meaningful choice at times (kinda like The Walking Dead games, now that I think of it) but the writing, plotting, and their integration into gaming was invariably terrible.

        In many ways, I find their main value is educational. They’re good at showing how *not* to do many of the things they plan on doing..

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      CELEBRITYYYYYYY DEATHMATCH!!!

      (Sorry.)

  7. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Half Life 3 movie.

    I love the whole HL series, like more than anything ever. However I think that Valve have realised they can never make a game that is a worthy final installment, or at least one that will come up to Valve levels of perfection, and that is why we hear so little about it. I think its permanently on hold.

    So, why not finish the story with a movie? We all get closure, we don’t have to endure the crushing disappointment of the “difficult third (ok fourth, technically) album”, and we can finally hang up our HEV suits after 15 years.

    OK a major problem would be that only fans would want to see a “final act only” movie, and movies usually seek to recruit new audiences … but…. but… so actually it would either need to paraphrase the entire 4 episodes in one movie, or be a triology … or … or …. OK I didnt think this through.

    Sigh. Not gonna happen is it :(

    Someone get Wolpaw to just release a bloody book. Half Life 3, Paperback.

    • Eukatheude says:

      Why on earth would you want an HL written by Wolpaw rather than by Laidlaw?

    • gulag says:

      The only way to fix this is for the final scene of the HL3 movie to climax in Gordon getting sucked into a dimensional rift intended to rid Earth of the Combine once and for all. Everyone looks sad; “Gave his life to save us all.” etc.

      Credits roll.

      Coda. Black screen. POV camera as Gordon awakens in a very familiar shuttle car.

      “Good Morning and welcome to Black Mesa Transit System…”

  8. PopeRatzo says:

    Who elected these two geniuses Presidents of Games and Culture?

    • Grygus says:

      They’re Kings of Games and Culture. And you don’t elect kings.

    • daraujo says:

      *Popular* Culture.

    • PopeJamal says:

      You mad bro?

      Both of these men are disgustingly competent at what they do, if not *GASP* good at it. You might not LIKE their work, but you can’t really argue that their work is BAD.

      I personally think this is great news. I’d play anything that Valve releases before I throw more money at anything EA squeezes out of it’s greedy sphincter.

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        Poor EA.

        Never any love. But gobs of money from its haters.

        Happy EA.

      • strangeloup says:

        I think you can argue that JJ Abrams’ work is bad. I mean, have you -seen- the last season of Lost?

        • Max says:

          Abrams had nothing to do with Lost after the pilot episode – can’t blame that one on him.

          • strangeloup says:

            Mea culpa, in that case :)

            Cloverfield was alright, but I think I enjoyed the wild mad guessing than trying three times to actaulyl watch the bastard thing. Gave me horrific motion sickness in the cinema and on a big TV, ended up having to watch it on a teeny screen in the end and still felt wobbly.

            Didn’t like his Star Trek reboot at all, but I’m not a massive fan of Star Trek generally — it’s one of those “I’ll watch it if there’s nowt else on” type programmes for me — so perhaps I’m not the best equipped to give an opinion on that. Hmm.

      • Kadayi says:

        Since when has being competent ever been a compliment? Most of Abrams oeuvre is largely forgettable and he lacks for any real voice as a director. That he’s also now onboard with both Star Wars and Star Trek you have to wonder how thin the man can spread his talent tbh, and how much time he’d put into Valve.

    • RedViv says:

      I just love that title. President Games.

      “President Games, President Games! There is an alarming outbreak of not-games! What should we do?” – “Simple, my boy. Start. Operation. Greenlight!”

  9. Dom_01 says:

    Where’s the Staring Eyes tag?

  10. Urthman says:

    I really don’t get this at all. Valve isn’t really known for writing good stories. Their games are B-Movie schlock from a content point of view. Valve’s brilliance has been in translating that stuff extremely well into games. Half-Life made you feel like the B-movie was happening to you.

    I can’t think of much of anything Valve has done that seems like it could translate into making particularly good movies. There’s certainly nothing in the Half-Life series that hasn’t been done a hundred times in film. The whole portal idea might be a fun gimmick for an action movie, and GlaDOS might make a fun character (although if they try to put her in a game now, people will think it’s a Pacific Rim ripoff). But that’s not enough to hang a whole movie on.

    • Exuro says:

      I would have to disagree. I’d say that if you examine the plot of Half Life, sure a lot of the basic devices have been done before. But the actual story is pretty unique and damned engaging. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this. Valve don’t just deliver a story well, they tell damned good stories.

      Break down Half Life to ‘human rebellion against alien occupation’ and sure, it’s been done before. But it’s so much more than that. There is so much depth and character to the story, I just don’t think see how you can believe that it’s ‘B-movie schlock’ as you put it. I found myself completely captivated by the story Half Life was telling, from the first game to the last. If you really think that’s what it is, maybe it just didn’t reach you in the way it reached other people, but I think you’re being unfair.

      • basilisk says:

        Honestly, I both agree and disagree with you here. Half-Life’s story absolutely was B-movie stuff. The only sort-of original idea in there was that Vortigaunts were merely slaves of the Nihilanth, but I’m not even sure that part of it wasn’t retconned in later. The rest, that was very much a seen-it-all-before affair. HL2, on the other hand, has a pretty remarkable and in many aspects inventive story going on, but most people missed a whole lot of it, because the game is so very subtle/coy about telling it.

        Neither approach would make a good film, though.

        • wireless says:

          The loneliness of HL1 does help alleviate the B-movie feel though. The tension is much thicker without a companion.

          Like I said in the post below, you really have to read the wiki for the best bits of HL2′s story. Maybe someone will make a story guide at some point.

        • Exuro says:

          Yeah, well I know what you mean. I was really talking more about Half Life 2 and it’s sequels. Following from what wireless said, the brilliance of Half Life 1 is more to do with the loneliness and tension of the situation. The plot is pretty solid though. But Half Life 2 I think has a great deal of depth to it’s plot.

          You couldn’t make it into a movie as is, but a good adaptation could be brilliant. I’d rather see a Half Life 2 movie than a Half Life 1 movie though. A Half Life 1 movie would basically just be the first Resident Evil.

    • TheTuninator says:

      Regardless of what you may think about their stories, Valve writes excellent characters.

    • wireless says:

      My problem with the HL storyline is that the most interesting parts of the story were stuff I read on the wiki, not experienced in the game. Or then got more context for the game after reading the wiki.

      They really don’t tell you much at all about the world in-game, until the episodes. EP2 is brilliant.

      In comparison, HL2′s lonely journey is so flat. I hated being without Alyx (or anyone for that matter) during the episodes because the game was so bland without a companion.

      But when I was playing through it, the best parts of the story were when they gave me the illusion of player agency, especially during Highway 17. I tried to search every house, perused the nooks and crannies, and had plenty of organic feeling jump scares because of it.

      Portal as a franchise does storytelling much better, I think. They have a solid setting and history, where HL is purposely floaty. The Black Mesa/Aperture rivalry also is only really brought up in portal (likely because they haven’t released a new HL) as well.

      • Syra says:

        Um, the joke is that black mesa does serious science and doesn’t really aknowledge apperture at all, the “rivalry” is from appertures perspective only. Or so I understood it.

        • wireless says:

          Right. Aperture is always living in Black Mesa’s shadow.

          But because of the Borealis, I feel like there’s likely more to the ‘rivalry’ than we’ve seen.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I agree. I think you could make a good movie set in the Half Life/Portal universe, but there is nothing about that universe that demands a movie be made of it. It’s pretty generic.

      To me, though, this doesn’t sound like it’s going to be so much a “Portal” or “Half Life” movie as much as a collaboration on a Portal or Half Life movie between Abrams and Valve. And I do think that could be awesome as I highly doubt they will just try to straight up “adapt” the game as much as they will completely write a movie set in that universe from scratch. And I do think that could be good depending on what sort of story they want to tell.

  11. Didero says:

    This may be a bit whiny, but maybe some spoiler warnings are in order?
    Most people here probably played Portal 2 already, but for those who didn’t, there’s no real need to spoil two important moments in this piece.

    • Hendar23 says:

      Yes! SPOILER GODDAMN ALERT!

      I’m kind of put off Portal 2 for various reason, but I had intended to play it sometime. Ending now pretty ruined for me damn.

      • ruaidhri.k says:

        Portal 2 was released April 18, 2011. People were telling 9/11 jokes sooner than PC gamers can accept its time to openly discuss plots.

        its late , my english is suffering, but you know what i mean,

        • gulag says:

          A thousand times this.

          You have 6 months tops after the release of anything to experience it, before your cries of “But Spoiler, Whaaa!” invite anything but open scorn.

          If XYZ game/movie/poptart is so important and precious a cultural jewel to you, that you can only experience it unsullied by any third party discussion, then why haven’t you done so yet?! And no, you are not poor/busy/dead enough for your excuse to carry any weight. Go from this place and catch up.

      • Llewyn says:

        Except that that spoiler doesn’t really tell you anything at all about the end of the game – it gives the bare detail of an event that happens, with nothing of the circumstances in which it happens or the consequences of it (which have almost certainly been spoiled for you already via other gaming media).

        It’s barely more of a spoiler than “…and then Poirot unmasks the murderer…” would be for an Agatha Christie plot.

        • Didero says:

          Except the article gives away the solution to the final puzzle, which Gabe himself describes as something the player should feel good about discovering themselves.

          I agree that you can’t keep spoilers out of everything forever. But: 1) The spoilers given here can be left out or written around without impacting the message of the piece in any way. 2) A lot of people here have mentioned in the past that they’re a few years ‘behind’ in playing games. In that case, Portal 2 is still pretty new.

          • BarneyL says:

            Don’t worry the final action was so obviously signposted as click on [Redacted] to win game I didn’t feel as though it counted as a puzzle at all.
            The only story component that could really be spoilered hasn’t been brought up (even though it would probably be a good example for the above conversation).

  12. Xardas Kane says:

    While not necessarily the case in the gaming industry, people talk A LOT in the movie business. And I mean a whole lot. Sam Raimi was supposed to direct a WarCraft movie. Sony talked about making a God of War movie. Blomkamp was this close to getting a Halo adaptation off the ground, while Avi Arad’s Mass Effect project is engulfed by eerie silence. I wonder what happened there.

    Don’t get me wrong, it would be great if they collaborated, but remember, nothing has been set in stone. Right now they have no project at hand, no studio backing, no producers, writers, anything. And Abrams has a VERY tight schedule for the next 3 years, by which I mean I don’t know if he has any free time to go to the toilet before 2016. And even if they did have all those things figured out, the project can still implode no matter what high-profile people are attached to it (At the Mountain of Madness says hi).

    So honestly I would rather wait some time before drooling all over the place just because they like each other and would like to make something together. Where are LMNO and inSane?

    Edit: Apparently inSane is still in development. Will believe it when I see it.

  13. TechnicalBen says:

    “We’re always trying to hide the machinery”.

    I beak machinery.

  14. derella says:

    I’m more excited to see the game they would make.

  15. Snids says:

    Gordon’s eyes here feel like some sort of relic of a time long past.

    Like something from an ancient PC era of clicky keyboards and beige and big manuals.

    They’ve started to feel nostalgic along with all of that….

    JUST FUCKING MAKE HALF LIFE THREE!!!
    WHY WONT YOU JUST MAKE IT!?
    OH GOD Sob sob sob sob.
    WHY GABE?!!!
    WHYYYYY?!?!……

    • gwathdring says:

      Would Half-Life 3 even work anymore?

      So you go to your parent’s house and they’re baking cookies. Your dad let’s you eat a bunch of the chocolate chips. They’re making a certain number for the neighbor, so you can’t have all of them. You can smell them. Your mom lets you eat a big glob of the dough. It tastes really good. The cookies finish, you eat a few … and then you want more. Which is fine and dandy, because while Mom has to run some errands, Dad said he intended to make another batch for you to take home with you.

      It’s getting time for you to leave. You can still smell them in your mind, but nothings happening. You saw the dough being prepared! You could have sworn! He put it in the refrigerator. How much though? A full batch? You keep asking and he keeps saying he’ll get around to it, maybe have you come by later in the week–perfect, you were planning on helping move some furniture around Thursday, anyway. How about that?

      It never happens. The furniture does, but not the cookies. Four months later … all you can think of it the cookies that were not baked. You yearn for them … you’ve had cookies since. Your dad even made some. But not the chocolate chip cookies you were promised. They were fine. Delicious. Better, even … but not to a heart filled with the promise of delicious chocolate chip cookies.

      That’s what I hear when people ask for Half-Life 3. Sure … maybe it would be good. But it’s far too late to really ever be “Half-Life 3″ as was originally imagined. Valve is a different company now that has made different games. They couldn’t give us the straight trilogy they had planned, so why bother with the numerical convention? I’m fairly sure Half-Life 3 is dead. Titles aside, I doubt we’ll ever see it. We might see A Half-Life 3 and it might even be good … but I’d rather they pick up the Half-Life series again in some other way. A new series in the same franchise (cough Portal cough), or a game that follows difference characters in the time following Half-Life 2 or the same characters in a different time.

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        You are certainly right that the so much time has passed that we start to allow ourselves to think it’s just ok to forget all about it. But let me point out some alternative points of view:

        - If you go now as I did just recently and play through the whole of HL2 and the two episodes, you reach the end of episode 2 and will get an empty feel in your stomach knowing that story isn’t finished yet. Her father dies and you hear her cry for him as the screen fades to black. And that’s it. There’s no knowing who you really are and why you are here, no knowing what will happen next, no knowing anything about the cryptic messages of the GMan, no knowing what will be of your planet, who are these fat larva-like things and why they are here…

        - We are all being easy on Valve. For what they have helped achieve in the gaming industry and for the great games they developed. But we are still consumers and there’s a certain feeling of wrongdoing here. One that we wouldn’t hesitate for one minute to hold against a company like EA or Ubisoft. We were promised episodic content and hesitantly some, grudgingly others, accepted. What we got was Valve abandoning episodic content after just two episodes and an unfinished story. And in their most recognized IP, at that.

        - It’s not that we are waiting for a game to be released. Gabe has been very clear on occasions they are not developing Half-life 3. This just doubles the pain and really puts a dagger right through the back of many fans of the company. For some of us there’s a certain feeling of being betrayed. Of them not caring and not returning what we give to them almost every day; constant good publicity that almost no company in this industry has, and our money in impressive amounts.

        - We used to have a name for these things back in the day. A name that has been falling in disuse since. For no other reason that few companies in this (or in the software industry in general) can really afford what Valve has done with Half Life. Many companies would be put to shame. The name is vaporware. And that name wasn’t taken kindly by the user base and usually was a first step for a company to lose the trust of their user base. Times have changed apparently. Unfortunately in favor of businesses, not consumers.

        With all this said there is something that worries me about an Half Life 3. It gained a status above pretty much any other game in the industry. And this does pose a problem. Expectations are so high that I do wonder if this game is now impossible to succeed.

        EDIT: So, really, all this movie talk, it disgusts me. And let me tell you, I would really prefer, if they did the movie, it was about Portal. Not Half-Life, because quite frankly at that point I would probably start to think I’m being made fun of.

        • gwathdring says:

          I guess I don’t understand why you would feel like you’re being made fun of. My big confusion in all of this is that so many players feel like Half-Life 3 is something they are owed. Something they deserve. As though this is a personal issue–something Valve would do for us if they were good people.

          If they aren’t interested in making Half-Life 3 … why would we want them to? Sure, I’d love to have a good Half-Life 3 sitting on my desk, waiting to be installed. But that’s not something I expect of Valve. I’m not being easy on them. I criticize where I think criticism is due. I just don’t think artists have any obligation to produce unless money is on the table. Caveat: I’m not going to trust a company that repeatedly fails to match it’s claims. If a company routinely promised to make trilogies or quartets and only came partway, I’d stop believing them. But I wouldn’t feel slighted or cheated. I never bought those unreleased games, and I would hope I invested my time in the first few because I loved the games more than because I loved the series or the idea of the series.

          “- We are all being easy on Valve. For what they have helped achieve in the gaming industry and for the great games they developed. But we are still consumers and there’s a certain feeling of wrongdoing here. One that we wouldn’t hesitate for one minute to hold against a company like EA or Ubisoft. We were promised episodic content and hesitantly some, grudgingly others, accepted. What we got was Valve abandoning episodic content after just two episodes and an unfinished story. And in their most recognized IP, at that.”

          I wouldn’t hold anyone to making three games because they said they wanted to make a trilogy decades ago. It’s not my place to dictate what specific projects a team works on. Just becasue I really want something doesn’t mean it is owed to me. They’re a different company now. This isn’t a case of them promising specific content and marketing their game on it only to pull out (*cough that sounds a bit like Molyneux*). This is a case of them backing out of a long-term business plan when they realized it wasn’t working and the way they operate as a company and as individual creators made it impossible to live up to their promises. And, I suspect, a lot of people lost interest.

          Maybe they didn’t lose interest and they have other reasons. But I trust developers to know their limits and I’m not going to force them to make a product I want or get upset when they don’t make my favorite toys. I mean … think of what the kind of ethical scheme you’re describing does to content creators: Imagine you create something pretty cool. Your fans love it even more than you do, by the end. Suddenly, you’re stuck. You aren’t as invested as your audience, so how on Earth can you make the audience happy? If you aren’t invested in your project, how can you expect the audience to agree with your design choices? Now imagine that your boss threatens to can the whole dev team if you don’t follow up and finish the series. Or even if you force your own team to finish it just to say you finished it. That’s the kind of mentality that creates really, really bad games. It’s not good for them and it’s not good for us.

          Love the game that never was all you want. Hope all you want for the future. But leave Valve alone–there’s plenty of flaws on Valve’s end for you to attack. You don’t have to “go easy on them” to let Half-Life 3 die.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            You make a compelling point and I will have to agree some of us can’t deny this is about forcing a company to do something. But I wouldn’t take that thought too far, if I were you. This all originates from an early lack of promised content that now has indeed evolved into something akin to a tantrum. But if you took that child to a psychologist you would too be scold for having failed him. You cannot expect that because it’s been close to 6 years now, that suddenly this becomes a non issue. It’s not that anyone is holding a grudge (or most anyone). It’s just that people take their time to let go. And 6 years in the gaming industry is not plenty of time to let go. It’s just about right for some.

            Anyways, naturally, Half-Life 3 doesn’t dominate my gaming thoughts. And as you certainly understand neither the vast majority of the people that, like me, can’t avoid taking such good opportunities like this to moan some more about it. I suspect that in the vast majority of cases there’s no real forcing anyone to do anything, but more a necessity to vent.

            Now, where I don’t agree is that you would never hold against anyone for failing to keep their promises. Let’s be honest about this. I don’t need to know you to know that is not true. You just have moved past it, on this particular case. But you won’t hesitate to speak up if tomorrow something like that happens to a current game you were excited about. And in other cases you may use it as a “weapon” against a company you don’t particularly fancy. I don’t tend to trust anyone who isn’t at least a tad bit opportunistic or doesn’t display any of the human idiosyncrasies.

            Let’s just face it. This has become a non issue for you and you have detached yourself enough from it that you are now having trouble understanding why others haven’t done the same. You don’t need to agree, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand why people act the way they do.

            Saying that you don’t understand why we should want to force a company to do something they don’t want to do is just your defense mechanism acting up against your better judgment. It’s making use of speculation in order to provide “compelling evidence” that you are on the right track and others are not. Who said they don’t want to do it? Certainly not Gabe Newell as he knows that would reflect very poorly on him and his company. His PR team would also probably quit en masse. But a whole lot more important is asking if this is really about them not wanting to do it, or about there being reasons (as Gabe once said) for them having delayed the game so far.

            So, what some people also feel like questioning is why isn’t the company more upfront about Half-Life 2 and why has this become a total media blackout for the past 6 years and apparently a complete taboo inside the company. How ridiculous is that compared to how ridiculous is (and I agree with you there) us still being discussing it after all these years.

            I’ll leave you with that last thought.

          • gwathdring says:

            “Now, where I don’t agree is that you would never hold against anyone for failing to keep their promises.”

            To me, this is not a matter of oaths. My favorite game designer saying “I’m going to make a trilogy of games!” is not something I take as a promise or a contract or anything obligatory. Is see it as an idea–a plan. Plans go awry. I’m not going to think badly of them for not following the plan unless there are clear signs of dishonesty and mismanagement. That’s what I don’t understand–why Half-Life fans feel like something is owed to them. That they were promised something and that something must be given them. I don’t see a “promise” here. In a literal sense, it’s a promise … but not in the binding, ethical sense that you seem to mean. Not to me at least. It’s just a thing they said they would do. We didn’t sign anything or pinky swear on it or anything.

            “But you won’t hesitate to speak up if tomorrow something like that happens to a current game you were excited about. And in other cases you may use it as a “weapon” against a company you don’t particularly fancy. I don’t tend to trust anyone who isn’t at least a tad bit opportunistic or doesn’t display any of the human idiosyncrasies.”

            That’s just not how I think. If that makes me less human in your eyes, so be it. I try to be as balanced as possible in my judgements. It’s a fundamental part of how I operate, not just something I do because I think it makes me cool or important or anything–I don’t think it makes me special at all. I’m certainly not alone in thinking this way. I try to see every side of an issue where I can and I accept that I’m most likely wrong from a number of perspectives and I adjust my thoughts accordingly. It means I’m a lot slower to make up my mind than some people, because I’m suspicious of all of my impulses and I feel compelled to play devil’s advocate in my head before I put forth an argument. Other than that, it doesn’t seem to cause any harm.

            “Let’s just face it. This has become a non issue for you and you have detached yourself enough from it that you are now having trouble understanding why others haven’t done the same. You don’t need to agree, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand why people act the way they do.”

            I “understand” it in a sense. I know why people are annoyed. I just can’t think of reasons that, from where I stand, seem worth-while. Obviously I’m not going to find value everything that you find worthwhile. I understand that intellectually. That’s different from think it makes any sort of sense that people still want Valve to make Half-Life 3 and are still upset about it. Once again, I know in a practical sense that emotional responses don’t NEED to make sense. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t question them or be curious about them in others. Mostly it’s a figure of speech–”I don’t understand you people!” in this context means that I feel completely differently and while I might be capable of empathizing, it’s just so different from the way I think that I find it somewhat awkward and confusing to imagine myself thinking that way. It means I don’t see the point. We don’t see eye to eye. Oh well. That happens.

            “Saying that you don’t understand why we should want to force a company to do something they don’t want to do is just your defense mechanism acting up against your better judgment. It’s making use of
            speculation in order to provide “compelling evidence” that you are on the right track and others are not.”

            This is going a bit far. Defense mechanism? You should probably stop short of analyzing the reasons for my thought processes. It’s one thing for us to speculate as to why a company made certain decisions. It’s another matter for you to speculate as to why I, as an individual, have certain thoughts when I’m right here for you to just ask. My “better judgement” is that as much as I love games, pining after an ancient game that was never made isn’t worth it. You’re “better judgement” clearly says differently. I guess mine must be defective, though, so I need all these defense mechanisms to rationalize my shitty opinions about things and deal with my insecurities. I want Half-Life 3 SO MUCH, I’ve made up elaborate fantasies in my head to give myself a reason not to want it anymore. The pain is so great …

            I can only do sarcasm for so long before it starts feeling mean. I’m not trying to make fun of you for wanting HL3. I am incredibly amused that you just called my opinions a defense mechanism against my better judgement. I don’t really know how to respond to that other than sarcasm. It’s such a judgmental thing for you to say. A lot of people would be insulted by that sort of thing. It’s a bit rude. Given what we’re discussing, though, I find it slightly absurd and amusing and I forgive you.

            “So, what some people also feel like questioning is why isn’t the company more upfront about Half-Life 2 and why has this become a total media blackout for the past 6 years and apparently a complete taboo inside the company. How ridiculous is that compared to how ridiculous is (and I agree with you there) us still being discussing it after all these years.”

            I don’t think it’s that weird. They probably want to leave open the possibility for the future, so they don’t want to say it’s dead permanently. They aren’t actively working on it so they haven’t announced it as a project … I guess total media “blackout” is what you get when a project isn’t in the works, but isn’t off the table. That happens. HL3 isn’t the only one, it’s just one of the most famous ones.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            The issue is not that we were promised a trilogy and were given two games. That was never the issue. You are reducing the argument ad absurdum, gwathdring. The issue is that we have an incomplete game. The story never finished. This isn’t about trilogies. It’s about one game that is incomplete and many people actually would like for it to be finished.

            Meanwhile, I didn’t meant as an insult that I felt you are employing defense mechanisms. It’s a human trait. Proper and expected in dialectics. It was my attempt at have you think if there isn’t something else on your side of the argument that makes you use a fallacy (Valve doesn’t want to make HL2 so we shouldn’t force them, a.k.a. straw man), since I didn’t want to believe you were doing it on purpose.

            Perhaps I should have said it differently. Didn’t realize at the time this could be seen as confrontational. I was trying to be a gentleman. I actually thought it was a decent thing to do, to not pass judgment and instead try to understand why you were doing it. I’m still not sure why we should be offended or amused by someone questioning our clarity of thought. It’s actually slightly ironic that we inverted roles. Now it’s me the one detached from the issue and not understanding your position.

            But alas! I owe you an apology apparently. And I’m truly sorry. Won’t happen again.

            It’s all probably a sign this discussion has ran its course. As for your last statement — I must note I said “ridiculous” and you answered with “weird”. They are not the same thing — well I feel that Valve is being as silly as everyone else on this matter. And contrary to you, I’m not ready to so easily see no fault in this one company behavior for the past 6 years and take the opposing stance that this is all about a whole bunch of people not having clarity of thought. Somehow that doesn’t strike me as a balanced thought at all.

  16. Rollin says:

    I was hoping for an epic rap battle of history :(

  17. iucounu says:

    “We had to spend a ton of time with the Portal 2 ending in order to make sure going to the moon was the obvious thing to do, and yet the player felt really creative for coming up with that as a solution.” – this feels like Portal’s core thing (maybe Valve’s, too.)

    • Grygus says:

      Yes, they are excellent at making me feel like a genius for doing exactly what I was told to do. If Gabe ever comes into political power, I suspect we are all in trouble.

  18. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Some people talk. You know, with tongues and barbaric throat gurgles. Like peasants. But those people haven’t conquered entire entertainment industries using titanic minds and the world’s supply of lens flare alone

    Ah yes the appeal to authority mixed with slight scorn intended to preemptively avoid said peasants from, you know, talking. Stupid peasants. What do they know about an industry that does and sells things for their enjoyment and appreciation.

    Anyways, nice talk indeed. It’s between two men. One who does movies that have difficulty fathering consensus, another than does games that gather a wide consensus. Trouble is they were talking about movies. Uh-oh!

  19. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Good to see more intermingling of media from the developing side. And who knows, the end results might even be half-way decent.

  20. The white guar says:

    It’s all going to be done in Valve time. I’ll go see that movie with my nephew.

  21. DickSocrates says:

    That Newell picture looks horizontally stretched. And no, that’s not a fat joke. His skull isn’t that wide. Go look at some other recent pictures of him.

  22. Runs With Foxes says:

    I remember when game developers talked about game design.

  23. Beybars says:

    I’m not too sure how I feel about a Half Life movie, having Gordon actually speaking would ruin it for me…

  24. Herkimer says:

    Llewyn says:
    “…and then Poirot unmasks the murderer…”

    FUCK YOU!!!

    edit: welp, that looks awkward out of context.

  25. Strangerator says:

    Half Life 3 is coming, and the plot will be done by J.J. Abrams.

    You’ll like the characters, at some point time travel will come into play, and it will violate string theory and common sense, and undo all the events of the past Half Life games, making all your previous struggles meaningless.

    Then Half-Life the reboot will come to theatres, and “Gordy” will be only 18. Everyone will be younger and cooler looking. They will make mocking references to the games as fan service.

    Then, at some point in the future, I will invent a time machine and go back and try to prevent time travel from ever happening on LOST, probably my favorite show ever. If you’re still reading this comment, then I have not been successful.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Then Half-Life the reboot will come to theatres, and “Gordy” will be only 18. Everyone will be younger and cooler looking.

      How dare you even insinuate!

      Older actors will have plenty of parts as passive characters essential to the plot. Middle-age actors in particular will be instrumental for the success of this motion picture, in their parts as socially and physically constrained characters who show great intelligence by employing youth in the task of saving the world. Thus reaffirming the well known saying, youth is the present.

  26. TheMick says:

    And they shall henceforth be known as….. J Jabe Newbrams…?

  27. RegisteredUser says:

    JJ Abrams starting up something really ambitious that everyone at first loves.
    Yea, that’s never had a terrifyingly bad ending with infinite loose ends and plunge-like decline.