Ep 3/Half-Life 3 Rumours Appear Like A Ghost

It's like being invited to a very exclusive party.

Well, the Valve rumours are firing again. The thoughts are, once more, that this E3 could see the surprise announcement of Half-Life 2: Episode Three, or even, the forum chatter likes to think, Half-Life 3. Of course we’ve been here before. This time there’s this image floating around, although I’ve yet to track down whether it’s sourced from Valve, which reveals the ghostly face of one G-Man at the bottom of what might be a flyer. It could be another fake. It might be real. Look, I don’t know. As soon as it’s confirmed either way I’ll update, and then get angry emails.

Edit: A mysterious man in a black cloak and hat just snuck up to me and whispered in my ear: “This is fake.” Ah well.

It comes from the Twitter account of Danny Pena, founder of Gamertag Radio. And rather brilliantly barely features the haunting face of our favourite anonymous baddie. Oh, and of course the word “Freeman”. And June 14 would be during E3. But then, I’d put those details in if I were faking, too. We’re chasing sources, passing wads of cash in dark alleys, and getting our team of street urchins to pick all the right pockets, to see if there’s any truth in this. Cheers to Rory for tipping us off.

Here’s the image:

Look at the bottom, adjust your contrast.


  1. Miker says:

    Looks pretty legit, but I’ve been fooled before. Just ten days until we find out anyway.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      This was just one of the prototypes that was accidentally released by the old marketing department, now that the promoters of F.3.A.R. have taken over it’s actually Fr33man.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Or maybe even just 3man.

  2. SAeN says:

    The same man has released 2 more images:
    link to twitpic.com


    link to twitpic.com

  3. LewieP says:

    A valve employee on the Penny -Arcade forums just said:

    “That certainly is a picture.”

    link to forums.penny-arcade.com

  4. GGX_Justice says:

    I *want* to believe, but it just doesn’t make sense from a business perspective…

    I think I’ll be happy if it doesn’t come out for years yet, just provided the answers we receive then are of amazing quality and depth.

    • OctaneHugo says:

      Uh, how doesn’t it? Two successful zombie games released in 2 years following a 1-year layoff from the release of one of the most well-received, well–bought packages in gaming history has led to now, when you have millions of rabid fans clamoring for a new Half-Life game. And it’s E3.

      What world do you live in where this makes no sense?

    • Jimbo says:

      What doesn’t make sense from a business perspective? And why not?

    • GGX_Justice says:

      @OctaneHugo / @Jimbo:

      If they hadn’t announced Portal 2, I’d be right there with you.

      However, by announcing Portal 2, they wouldn’t want anything to overshadow it’s announcement, hype and selling possibility. Remember how Portal, the first one, was such a gamble that they just quietly included it in the Orange Box, as they weren’t too sure how well it would sell? Seeing how it turned into an internet phenomenon, it makes sense that they want Portal 2 as big and bold as possible. (Note: All my sources for this are collated from link to gameinformer.com amongst others).

      Announcing Episode Three at E3 would only harm Portal 2’s market. Not necessarily for us, being up with the news and all, but others. VALVe know everyone and their dog is going to buy Episode Three thrice, for their dog and friends, but it’s not that certain for Portal 2. Some people aren’t convinced Portal 2 can do justice to the first, especially as a full length game. I just can’t see VALVe announcing Episode Three when they already have a large, important title set in the Half-Life Universe.

      However, that being said, the whole surprise doesn’t make much sense to me… my best guess would be it’s a Portal 2 related surprise, or at a stretch they’d be bundling IceFrog’s new IP with Portal 2…

    • GGX_Justice says:


      It seems it WON’T be IceFrog’s project, so once more the only realistic thing I can imagine is a Portal 2 specific prize. Also when I said:

      ” I just can’t see VALVe announcing Episode Three when they already have a large, important title set in the Half-Life Universe… coming out this year.

    • tikey says:

      Unless both games are sold in a package. Some sort of container of a certain color if you like.

    • GGX_Justice says:



      I’d normally argue that it makes no sense to sell one product (the mentioned package) when you could sell two, especially given the guarantee behind a Half-Life game to move units…

      Except that’s precisely what VALVe did with the Orange Box.

      It’s going to be an interesting surprise indeed.

  5. TooNu says:


  6. Evan Travers says:

    I want it to be real so badly it is giving me a stomach ache. :P

  7. Frenz0rz says:

    If there are any more Episode 3/Half life 3 false alarms, I may well give up caring altogether.

    …just a little bit…

  8. Will Pittman says:


  9. Skinlo says:

    link to i77.photobucket.com

    If this is true however, maybe not :(

    • SAeN says:

      He doesn’t say its not Half-Life 3 though ;)

    • perilisk says:

      He doesn’t say they won’t show Ep 3, just that “the surprise” isn’t Ep 3. Ep 3 could be a completely different surprise from that one.

  10. geldonyetich says:

    Must be nice to be able to post up ambiguous garbage and have the entire gaming world turn on its ear trying to understand it.

  11. Vinraith says:

    I’m not getting my hopes up, but it would certainly be nice to finally get a release date.

    • Mashakosha says:

      A release date that will come and go without another word from valve, more than likely. :)

  12. fishmitten says:

    It’s such an easy aesthetic to fake and, this close to E3, it’s unlikely that a solitary flyer design would leak out. Alternatively, it’s real and, shock, Valve are going to announce Episode 3 at E3! We’re all expecting that already, right?

    Sorry to piss on everyone’s chips, but this doesn’t tell us anything either way.

    • Jimbo says:

      I’m expecting Half Life 3 proper at this point.

    • Harley Turan says:

      Doubt that they would say anything about HL3 proper, I suspect a neat EP3/Portal 2 crossover reveal. I mean EP3 is effectively set up to be a game about the history of Aperture Science, no?

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      I’m wondering about that. Some of the previews for PORTAL 2 say that it is set ‘hundreds’ of years after PORTAL. PORTAL is clearly set around the time of HALF-LIFE/HALF-LIFE 2, but the second game being set centuries later removes it from any relation to HL2 and the Episodes (which take place ten years after HL1, which is somewhat contemporary).

      Of course, the idea of GLADOS and the Portal puzzles still being operational after centuries seems somewhat unlikely, so it may be that the previews were simply talking rubbish.

  13. Skinlo says:

    link to regex.info

    More evidence of fake, the exif data has Photoshop CS4 on it.

    • Theory says:

      If you’re scanning a page in and you have Photoshop, what are you going to use to resize it for the web? MS Paint?

      if the email posted above is true and it isn’t Ep3 or HL3 (which I guess it still could be), my money is on that DOTA thing they’re doing.

    • AS says:

      @Theory: Unfortunately it isn’t, so take another swing: link to playdota.com

    • DrugCrazed says:

      Read the file history. “created, saved, saved, saved, saved, converted, derived, saved, saved”. I’m not sure about file history data, but I reckon it’s a fake.

      You know what, Valve get away with murder. Anyone else, there’d be riots in the streets. GET THE FUCK ON WITH IT VALVE.

    • jalf says:

      So wait, if this *was* real, you’re saying it wouldn’t go through Photoshop, and it wouldn’t be created, saved and converted?
      How exactly do you expect Valve to work? What software do you think they’re using? Pixie dust?

      The odds are pretty good that a) their artists do use Photoshop, and b) that they would indeed get an artist, working in Photoshop, to create a teaser image such as this.

  14. Devenger says:

    “…rather brilliantly barely features the haunting face of our favourite anonymous baddie.”

    Funny, I’ve always thought of the ‘G-Man’ (if you see it as him – I do) as more of a character with good or at least neutral intentions, but perhaps questionable motives. Is he a bad guy for teleporting you in, and saving your life, strategically to maximise the ability of humanity to resist its alien conquerors?

    Not saying I LIKE the guy, but ‘baddie’ doesn’t cover it, in my opinion.

  15. Sudogamer says:

    I ran it through Photoshop and you can see the face. . exciting stuff :)

  16. DollarOfReactivity says:

    John, I am beginning to think you enjoy toying with our emotions. ;) Either that or you are an extension of the great Valve puppet-masters to whom the angst of thousands of gamers is like an aphrodisiac or font of eternal youth.

  17. Down Rodeo says:

    John, just stop it, I’m supposed to be sleeping. STOP.

  18. Rich says:

    I find it difficult to articulate how much I want it to be Ep 3 on 14th June.

    I also can only barely begin to imagine the ripples of hate that’ll be generated around the world if it isn’t.
    The Jedi better start buying their aspirin now.

  19. Razz says:

    “That certainly is a picture” “it isn’t ep3”.

    This is totally HL3. Done in a new engine, release TBD 2012.

    It’s pretty amazing to see how Valve has everyone eating out of their hands though. They need but fart and the internet will hire a fart expert to analyse every component of said fart. I think the only dev that comes close to (or surpasses) that sort of insanity is Blizzard. Part of me is happy that we can still idolise developers like that, amidst all the chaos of mistrusted publishers, collapsing dev teams, once cherished devs selling out or neglecting the pc, this sort of unconditional love is quite a wonderful thing.

  20. DollarOfReactivity says:

    Edit: A mysterious man in a black cloak and hat just snuck up to me and whispered in my ear: “This is fake.” Ah well.

    Aaaaargh. You try’n to make me cry, Walker? Go ahead and post some FreeSpace 3 and Grim Fandango II rumors, next. : P

  21. Taillefer says:

    He’s not a number!

    • Nick says:

      He’s a free man!

      Duh duh duuuuuh duh duh duuuuuh duh duh duh duh duh…


      I must watch the new series of that.

  22. FlynT says:

    This starts to be myth like the Shroud of Turin :D

    Anyway serious! I get mad about all that x_X if they not going to release any information about ep3 soon. Im going to kill all kittens on that planet with my crowbar! So Gabe, do you really wanna have millions of kittens on your conscience?!

  23. Brian says:

    I knew it was fake. That’s not a Valvey font.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      You never know. There may be mileage to be had from a Half Life/Weezer crossover.

  24. kwyjibo says:

    Shit typography, but there are multiple sites hosting different versions of this now.

    Freeman lives. FREEMAN LIVES!

  25. Skusey says:

    I just want them to stop messing around with this Freeman nonsense and finish the Engie update.

  26. luphisto says:

    It would be interesting if public opinion could somehow will Half-Life E3 or HL3 into being…

  27. Nimic says:

    Perhaps it’s time I finished Half-Life 2.

  28. Lucas Says says:

    I grabbed my monitor and was about to whoop with joy when I saw that it was fake.

    I hate Valve sometimes. They make 2 damn zombies games (I hate zombies, and I hate playing with others!) and no resolution to the cliffhanger at the end of the 2nd episode of one of the best games of all time. Seriously, I am so disappoint.

    • Sam says:

      This, mostly.
      I accept the existence of L4D and L4D2 purely as necessary steps to test the awesome that will be Episode 3. Now we’ve had the necessary testing period, there’s no excuse not to give us the important product. :D

  29. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Well, In between then and now they got Steam up and running nicely. They got 2 L4Ds up and running nicely. TF2 up and running nicely. Mac’s being served too and there’s even an announcement for Portal 2.

    What next? Another IP? I mean, not that people wouldn’t flock to it… but that would be a little alienating to those eager for episode 3. Perhaps a little too alienating.

    I think Valve realizes this is the time to bring Half-Life back from the bench.

  30. Noir says:

    Duke Nukem Forever

  31. Chris says:

    Was too subtle, graphically, for Valve

  32. Sir Derpicus says:


  33. Jockie says:

    I love valve, I get angered everytime someone overlooks their output to criticise Steam for its existence and blames it for every trouble in the world (the fact that even happens at RPS saddens me), but they really need to do something to live up to hype that’s building, even if it all originates from the rabid impatient fanbase.

    • DollarOfReactivity says:

      I agree. Hype is good. A little unfounded excited speculation is nice. But this frothing anticipation and jumping at shadows can only lead to completely unreasonable expectations and unhappy customers in the end. Valve should be a little less secretive if only to say, “No, this is not happening. Be excited about something we are actually doing.”

      Unless they are actually going to announce something that trumps the “Half-Life 3 + Portal 2 + super-awesomesauce Source engine + great American novel of the future” super game people are starting to take for granted.

  34. Bret says:

    Even with this fake, I’m still betting cash money on some news of Ep. 3 at E3.

    And hell, with Valve, you can’t even trust the fakes to be properly fake.

  35. tim7168 says:

    It definitely doesn’t look real. The typography isn’t consistent with any of the rest of the series, usually all in caps and bolder, and having “Freeman” AND a lambda (incidentally not in a circle) is hardly subtle. I think if they were going for something viral they would be a lot more subtle than that and if they weren’t they’d go with something a lot more along the lines of the Ep1/2 marketing – more action/cinematic look.

  36. Pharago says:

    what is clear to me is that aperture science and black mesa have some kind of relationship between them, Portal had references to black mesa as a competitor in the defense provider bussiness, and at the end of EP2 it was clear that the comming story will involve aperture science in some way.

    So, i think Portal 2 might be in any case kinda EP2.5, or maybe, just maybe, Portal 2 is the name of HL EP3.

  37. Godl1keStev3 says:

    There is no Episode 3. Only 3.

    • Rich says:

      I don’t see it myself. I want to, but it just doesn’t make sense.

      It took them 8 years to make Half-life 2, whereas it’s only been 3 years since Episode 3. Maybe if they’d been working on it since Half-life 2 came out, but then why would they have bothered dabbling with an episodic model if they were going to do a full release anyway. Plus when they were making HL2, it was all they were doing. Since Ep2 we’ve had L4D and L4D2, engine updates and probably a lot of work has gone into Portal 2.

  38. ChaK_ says:

    Okay I want a black box

    Ep3, portal 2 and HL3

    there you go with madness

  39. Rich says:

    Here we go, this is why I think HL3 is unlikely.

  40. Aleksandr says:

    You know what else is June 14? Ford Fiesta’s stateside. Yay. Methinks it’s a fake. I kind of hope it’s a fake. I don’t want to wait to be able to afford both Portal 2 and Ep 3 like I did with the Orange Box.

  41. Davie says:

    I cried a little. Confirm these rumors before posting them, please!

    Although the chances of an Ep.3/HL3 announcement at E3 are still not statistically impossible, I suppose.

  42. zach says:

    this is getting embarrassing
    next time do some research before posting random images you find

  43. po says:

    Valve hype is too much.

    Give me Portal 2 and EP3 as one combined game, with Gordon, Chell, Alyx and Dog all as playable characters in up to 4 way co-op, or I’m going to be disapointed ;)

  44. jalf says:

    Rumor of the day (I saw it on newz.dk, dunno of any english sources, but Google could probably dig up a few): Valve’s secret surprise is…. Duke Nukem Forever…


    Personally, I think it’s a Pacman MMO.
    It all makes sense. All the clues are there!

  45. Jakman85 says:

    I LOLed soooo hard!

  46. Jakman85 says:

    “Duke Nukem Forever”

    I LOLed sooo hard

  47. Draganos says:

    Just think about this. the big announcement is at E3 and could possibly, however unlikely, be about HL3 or EP. 3. They both have 3s. It could happen.

  48. EasyGingeR says:

    So what exactly is the crack with ep3/ Half Life 3? Does anyone know anything? I’m getting fed up of waiting now, I’m starting to think Lost Coast is interesting! Please, put us out of our misery