30,000 Gamers Ask: Where’s Half-Life 3?

Rise and shine!
Looking at Steam’s Stats page, Half-Life 2 is currently sandwiched between Plants vs Zombies and X3: Albion Prelude. But this weekend, if the Call For Communication Steam Group pull it off, Valve’s own game should be somewhere near the top ten. The protesters are hoping that the surge of players will send a message to Valve: “we want to know what’s happening to Gordon Freeman.”

I think it’s a smart way to prove a point: reversing the flow of information back to Steam’s Seattle HQ, using Steam’s servers to bring that message back to the developers. It’s not pushy, it’s not demanding, and, as someone waiting for the completion of that story as well, they have a point.

The entire trilogy of episodes was supposed to be completed and released by 2007, and if Valve have decided to do other things for the time being, that is fine; all that we ask for is a basic response on the matter, and to let fans know whether or not the current story arc is scheduled to conclude at another point in time.

In addition: This message is in no way, shape or form attempting to rush the development of the Half-Life series; in fact, most members agree that Valve should take the time needed to deliver a complete and polished product.

In a way, Valve’s method of story-telling and development has led to this. They left the second episode on a cliff-hanger, and it’s been nearly four-and-half years since Episode 2’s release. But there’s an incompatibility in how Valve work and what fans sometimes expect. The company has a democratic way of making things happen: things get made if enough people want it to be done. That’s why Left 4 Dead 2 landed so quickly after the first, that’s why they’re making Dota 2. Aside from when Gabe Newell tells everyone what to do, it’s what the 300+ group of people vote on that forms projects.

So will it have an effect? I’d expect there’s definitely an emotional resonance from what the group are attempting somewhere in Valve. I have no idea of the state of Episode 3 or Half-Life 3, although I was shown a very tiny glimpse of a whiteboard of information at Valve’s offices in 2008. It might be it’s in bits and pieces, or it might be six months from being released, but ignoring an organised public plea for recognition by fans in a subject as emotive as Half-Life has risks. A PR plan usually doesn’t take into account feelings.

If I were a Valve employee, I’d be patching a message into Half-Life 2 right now.


  1. Echo Black says:

    I don’t much care about HL’s “plot” anymore. It’s simply been too long. I remember back when I used to find it fun to actually speculate on who the G-Man was, where the plot was going… Nowadays…Blah.

    I’d still totally buy HL3/EP3 for the guaranteed above-average FPS experience, though.

    • PodX140 says:

      I think this is genuinely the problem valve has and they don’t even realize it. The half-life playerbase is getting older, and no longer care or have moved past gaming, while the younger generation have (and yes, this is a hell of a generalization, but given the success of COD and the like, justified I find) such a short attention span that they don’t even care.

      Not to mention the “entrance barrier” into the half-life series is only getting higher and higher, especially if you want to play HL-1. I still haven’t beaten the entire thing because my eyes physically hurt after playing for more than an hour or two, and it’s only going to look comparitively worse as time goes on. Then factor in that most younger gamers have consoles and therefore have likely never cared to try HL, you get a very small window of opportunity for the HL series.

      Valve have made a gigantic mistake by not pushing for a release, but they still have a chance to get episode 3 done while anyone (read: 1 million+ , if it’s even that) still cares.

    • Lambchops says:

      Don’t think i ever partiularly cared about the plot of the Half Life games to be honest. It was pretty basic and served as great window dressing, there were lots of nice little hidden things to find but overall I was never playing because of a burning find out what compulsion to find out what happens next but beause of a burning compulsion to experience the next cool set piece or intense battle or cool little aside.

      I want Half Life 3, yes, but not for cliffhanger resolutiong. I want it to have another great FPS to enjoy.

    • roryok says:

      I don’t agree that short attention spans are a problem for the COD generation. The COD games aren’t successful because they’re short. They’re successful because of the hype surrounding them, and because they buy into the male gun worship / army man fantasy in a way more successful than any game previously. If you look at the amount of time young uns spend online playing COD games, you can’t argue they have a short attention span. They spend fucking YEARS playing that stuff.

      I do agree that the core HL2 fanbase is ageing, and certainly younger gamers might be less familiar with Mr Freeman, but it doesn’t mean HL3 won’t sell. Those younger gamers are also keen Portal / TF2 / L4D players, and they’ll be very interested in anything Valve has to offer.

      The month HL3 comes out, it’ll be top of all games charts, everywhere, and probably for a good few months after.

    • Prime says:

      Valve lost the plot (pun intended) after Half-Life 1, I reckon. There is so much that’s still nebulous about the world of Half-Life 2 onwards and, frankly, that’s exceedingly poor writing. It’s similar to the mis-step made by the creators of The Riddick Chronicles. Pitch Black was a character-driven, tightly focused, intelligent film. For the sequel they went overboard creating a universe and concepts that ultimately cheapened everything that had gone before and left viewers cold. Half-Life 2 did the same, a victim of the first game’s amazing success. Each episode afterwards just seemed to be dragging things out unnecessarily. No pace. No real narrative drive beyond vague goals that you weren’t quite sure why they mattered so much. And far far too much playing with their average NPC AI in dull, over-long expositional scenes as they strived to inject unwanted and unrealistic emotion into the FPS format.

    • roryok says:

      I thought HL2’s story was a huge improvement over the original, which was standard B-Movie crap. HL2 brought this fantastic orwellian, post-invasion world which was evocative of so many classics and yet beautifully unique. Granted, the emotional scenes with Alyx were forced (literally, trapping you in an elevator) but I thought Gordon’s mute behaviour (perhaps unintentionally) played up the cold detachment of his existence as a function of the player rather than a character in his own right. Somewhere he knows, like the iconic crowbar, he is just another implement.

    • eraserhead says:

      There are very few games I played through more than twice. They are the original System Shock (nothing with the word shock in it ever came close again) and Half-Life 1 and 2 plus all episodes.
      I replayed HL 2 last year and was amazed that it’s still the most entertaining, well constructed, versatile, demanding and rewarding shooter I’ve ever played. Yes, the graphics are dated, but it didn’t bother me because it’s just so much fun. Even more than a HL3 surprise I’d love to have a HD remake of HL1 (sadly the Black Mesa MOD seems to never get finished). I can’t get myself to play it anymore, it’s just too ugly, but I’d really like to experience it again in a shiny new outfit. That’s probably the mid-life crisis talking :-)
      But yeah, give me HL3 as well, I’m patient, I trust in Valve’s quality control, I’m sure it will be awesome. Just make it!

    • Kent says:

      I never thought Half-Life 2 were ever about the plot. The plot is okay, but it’s very skimmed over and difficult to understand. From only playing the game (ie. the second one) you almost think there is no plot. Half-Life 2 for me were all about the experience and the journey, and Valve did that well.

      As for Half-Life 3, I cannot really understand why people obess over it. Born in the very early 90ies and part of the ‘younger generation’ I never played the first Half-Life, nor would I ever want to. It looks like a standard corridor shooter which were okay for the time of course, but easily overshadowed by its successors. But the reason why I don’t anticipate Half-Life 3 is because the trilogy of expansions to Half-Life 2 didn’t appeal to what I liked in HL2. There were no experience and no real journey. It were all a massive exposition bomb and dumb shooting in between and I’m sorry but to be honest; Half-Life’s gunplay is really shit so simply fighting isn’t very appealing unless they put a twist to it or the environment like they did in HL2.

    • fuggles says:

      Kent, I think owing to your youth you perhaps miss the point. HL1 was never just another corridor shooter, it was THE corridor shooter that was so much better than any other game at the time it was incredible.

      I don’t know why you think the shooting is simple – is it because the game is set inside rather than in an artificially limited street? HL has a variety of locations and a ton of guns. The story telling of this and HL2 are all about the showing and not telling, which I really like. Some ideas in HL1, such as the tentacle boss were so far ahead of anything else it was IMMENSE.

      I don’t blame you, you weren’t there for 3D graphics being a special thing and any phenomena is as much part of the time of release and the world it is released into as it is part of a good game. Call it the impunity of youth, but you are still wrong – developers and gamers can learn tons from older great games, especially in the later ’90s turn of the century when the industry took real risks and released magnificent games like sacrifice and free space.

      But then I still have my HL1 T-shirt and really want to play HL2: E3 before I die.

    • Prime says:

      “I thought HL2′s story was a huge improvement over the original, which was standard B-Movie crap. HL2 brought this fantastic orwellian, post-invasion world which was evocative of so many classics and yet beautifully unique.”

      Ah, but which would you rather play? That B-movie plot made for a thrilling, easy-to-comprehend game. The Orwellian nuance of HL2’s presentation simply muddied the waters, raising more questions than it has so far bothered to answer. I’m still miffed that they nerfed the Vortigaunts without providing much of an explanation (“They’re good now. They rebelled. Stop thinking and listen to the lovely Alyx, won’t you?”) or even an adequate replacement.

    • roryok says:

      @Kent as fuggies said, it was THE corridor shooter. Half-Life invented lots of stuff that we now take for granted in corridor shooters.

      As for the shooting being not very good, I’m not sure where you’re coming from on that. I could play with that crossbow for hours. What’s your fave shooter, just out of interest?

    • roryok says:

      @Prime I’d rather play HL2. The gameplay of HL2 was an improvement too. Those driving levels are probably my favourite thing in any game ever. And they wouldn’t have been nearly as atmospheric without the Orwellian back story which set them up.

    • John Brindle says:

      Part of the problem is that the story has changed since HL1 and HL2. It’s easy to forget, now, but the implication of HL1‘s ending is very clear: G-Man is an agent of an Earth government, probably the USA; his ’employers’ learned through Black Mesa about the Nihilanth and Xen; he deliberately engineered the opening of the dimensional breach and provoked the invasion of Earth in order to allow Earth’s armies to counter-invade; at the end of the game you have provided the excuse and opportunity for HECU to take over (“The Borderworld, Xen, is now under our control” – and he’s careful to note that your guns are “government property”). In short, it’s a galacto-political power grab by a shadow government agency. The end of HL1 is actually in some ways an open-and-shut case.

      But then in HL2 it becomes clear the the G-Man is something else. And the Combine complicate the picture. And Valve have confirmed the belief of many fans that the Combine did not rule Xen, but rather had trapped Nihilanth’s forces there, so things are even more muddied. This is not to say the story will be impossible to resolve, but I do think it’s undergone a stealth retcon – one that could only ever be stealthy precisely because we’re told so little about anything.

      (Also, HL2 sometimes gets stick for being a game where the story is more important than the shooting, but I actually think its gunfights are pretty solid and offer a lot of fun options, especially if played on Hard. Played on easy you can just blast away at everything in fairly pedestrian fashion, but hard mode requires a little more thought and ingenuity, at least in the Episodes. I replayed the second one recently and was surprised by how good the shooting was, especially v. hunters)

    • woodsey says:

      “There is so much that’s still nebulous about the world of Half-Life 2 onwards and, frankly, that’s exceedingly poor writing.”

      Its bad writing because they don’t just say things at you, and you have to infer for yourself?

      Anyway, I think people perhaps misunderstand not caring because they’ve not been playing for 4 and a half years, and genuinely not caring. I haven’t thought about it in a long while, and I’m not constantly thinking about when its going to be released, but I know I’ll be pissing myself with excitement as soon as its sitting on my hard drive and ready to play.

    • edit says:

      I think the writing and storytelling has always been a strength of the series. It’s easy to criticise the plot alone, but it’s also easy to forget just what Half-Life did for first-person storytelling. I thought Half-Life 2 built on its formula beautifully, adding depth to the writing, characters, world, plot, interactivity, everything. I loved the ambiguities in the plot and the way environmental clues helped the discerning player put more pieces of the puzzle together. I’ve never agreed with those who say the Half-Life games have “no story”, when the games themselves are the story, told through environments, events and dialogue rather than cutscenes and text. I find the seamless unbroken first-person approach to be far more immersive and dramatic than any ‘interactive movie’ approach to in-game storytelling.

      Aaanyway, I don’t think Valve have missed any boats or screwed up here. They do things their own way and that’s precisely why they have made unique and excellent games. If I have any desire for them it’s simply that they keep following their inspiration. No doubt a future Half-Life title will be yet another innovative labour of love, and it won’t matter how many years it’s been since the last entry. I suspect it’ll bring a whole new wave of gamers to the series, rather than being relegated to those who have kept their Half-Life torch lit this whole time.

    • Prime says:

      ““There is so much that’s still nebulous about the world of Half-Life 2 onwards and, frankly, that’s exceedingly poor writing.”

      Its bad writing because they don’t just say things at you, and you have to infer for yourself?”

      Er, yes? Instead of the word ‘infer’ how about ‘guess’? We’ve been told so little about why the HL2 world is the way it is, about what happened in the time between the two games, about the motivations/purposes/goals of the enemies, or even about the enemies themselves (what was that fat, telepathic thing that killed Eli?). Some questions are fine to leave unanswered but you need to start answering a few as pay-offs for the player. HL2 onwards has been good at the former, very poor at the latter, to the point where I find it really hard to care about a third game because I don’t believe they know what story they’re trying to tell. I get strong whiffs of Battlestar Galactica’s later seasons; there is no plan, they’re just making it up as they go along.

      • Rusty_S85 says:

        Prime, I dont want this to sound like a personal attack but it probably will. If you listened to what was going on everything like that was explained to you during the game. When you first come across the Advisor pod you get a small back story through Dialogue about the Advisors.

        This is why people complain about the story is because they dont listen or read they just mindlessly play a game and then it doesnt make sense to them and then they chalk it up to bad story line.

        This game has a great story line and everything one would want to know about the game and whats going on can be found out by actively paying attention to the game you play. Such as the Vorts pulling you away from the G-man at the beginning of Episode 1. The G-man didnt want you to continue with what you did and thats why he said “we’ll see about that”. In the end you end up doing just what he wants but his orignal plans were a little askew due to this interferance.

        The foot notes of the Half Life story line is as follows based off the story told in game if you paid attention while playing the game.

        * G-man gives the crystal to the scientist at Black Mesa Research Facility
        * This pure sample is tested tearing a hole into another dimension
        * after survival of this test you find your way through the facility and find out that the facility was working all along collecting specimines from this Xen border world
        * You go to the border world and find out from the Nilithanlith that he is the last of his kind and you kill him.
        * After the death of the Nilithanlith the G-man congratulates you stating that you allowed the HECU grunts to secure the Xen border world.
        * You are put into statis to be used by the G-man at a later date for his own personal gains
        * G-man pulls you out of Statis and puts you in the middle of City 17 saying the Right man in the wrong place can make all the difference. You do the job he needs and cut off Earth from the Combine home world
        * During this time you find out through your travels of City 17 that a portal storm started after Xen was taken over and found out that the Nilithanlith was pushed to Xen by the Combine. After the removal of the Nilithanlith the Combine turned their attention to earth after taking Xen.
        * You get plucked away from the top of the exploding Citadel by the G-man was Alyx vance was left to her fate.
        * The vortigaunts saved Alyx Vance and then rescues you from the G-man and places you in a location for Alyx to find you.
        * You make your way out of City 17 before the Citadel explodes
        * you get out of the city find out the data packet you obtained from the Citadel is the codes to the Combine home world and that they are opening up a super portal to re-invade earth
        * you make way to the missile silo and launch a missile with the codes to close the Combine portal traping the combine on earth and cutting them off for good from the Combine.

        Then this is where episode three is supposed to take up with our journey to the Aperature Science research ship that Mossman found. After Episode three the Half Life 2 story arc would be completed and the next game was supposed to be Half Life 3 with a completly different story arc. In reality Gabe stated at the release of Episode 1, that there will be three episodes released in short order fashion and then when all these episodes are combined they basically make Half Life 3.

    • roryok says:

      @Prime Ever watch lost? The first two seasons were excellent, and they kept viewers guessing about everything. Once they started explaining everything, it turned to muck.

      Leaving the viewers / readers / players to guess elements of the back story is NOT bad writing. Quite the opposite. Bad writers feel obliged to explain everything to the readers.

    • EmS says:

      i really think its funny that some of you guys think that hl2 has a badly written plot just because it docent use so many words to tell you a story. To me its the overall experience that is the story itself. Hl2 manages to keep a tight interesting world without over explaining too much and using lots of level design and the sound effects to its advantage. Hell even yahtzee uses hl2 as a example of perfect storygameplay.
      btw nice alt text for the headline picture

    • roryok says:

      @ems there should be a G-Man alarm clock

    • bear912 says:


      I could not have said that better myself! Hear hear!

    • Steven Hutton says:

      I prefer them not to tell me too much and allow me to infer a little of what is going on in the world for myself. So for example, we know that the combine have set up some kind of device that prevents humans from breeding, we know why they claim to have done it (for our own good) but we don’t know why they’ve actually chosen to do that.

      And it’s better that way, which ever sinister motives the player imagines for the combine will remain much more real and more terrifying in the player’s imagination than they ever could be when presented flatly to the player.

      Too much information is a terrible thing. The scariest monster is the one you almost never see. Consider how much more frightening and effective the alien is in the first Alien movie compared to the sequels. We just know too much about the xenomorphs at this point. We’ve seen them too many times, fighting predators and whatnot. They’re no longer mysterious and hence no longer exciting.

      You can extend the same basic principle across a great many series. The covenant and the flood in Halo, Necrons, Chaos and Tyrannids in 40k, predators, zombies (in all forms of media). Knowing too much, overfamiliarity breeds contempt.

      You want the player (or viewer or reader) to feel small. Alone, in a vast, mysterious universe, surrounded on all sides by the terror of the unknown. So that their eventual triumph seems that much more profound. And you can’t do that by telling the player every little detail about the world.

      Going back to my original example, they player doesn’t need to know why the combine have forcibly sterilized the population. They only need to know that they have done it and that they claim to be doing it for our own good. This establishes all the information we need to give the player. That the combine are bad. (And given the nature of what they’re doing, they’re probably lying).

    • Kent says:

      Yeah, it WAS the corridor shooter at the time – just like Skyrim is THE RPG at this time or game X is THE city building simulator at this time, but not any longer. I don’t get how pretentious some people get about the old games. Some truly got some nice features that I have explored which I missed out on because of my youth and “owing to my youth” I actually get to experience those games today and judge them by a standard in an age where computer games are an industry, instead of getting spoon-fed like you lot got. When I was a kid I played a lot of 2d games. I even had an Atari 260 which were a sort of Amiga computer, (you who responded probably don’t know). When Half-Life came out I had already seen Heretic (1996) and Doom (1993), which actually looked better even though it used 2d sprites for their models instead of the ugly 3d graphics in half-life. AND FYI, HALF LIFE WAS RELEASED 1998!! Hell, most of you seem to use the excuse that it was good because it held up BACK THEN!! I played Ultima Underworld (1992) last year and it’s still a good game by today’s standards. So is X-COM and Deus Ex! Half Life isn’t a good game by today’s standards, it’s not ground breaking anymore and it wasn’t even back then. In fact, it owes a lot of its features to Ultima Underworld which had many of the features that Half Life have and is also actually a good game in top of that.

      Like I said. I appreciated Half Life 2 for the experience of it. Everything else were mostly meh. Also just for “curiosity” (ie. what an asshole says when he wants to judge someone), my favorite shooter is STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl. Not so much because of the gunplay (although it’s still better than Half-Life 2 if you’re playing with the Oblivion Lost mod) but more because it’s an apocalyptic survival game of sorts and the sort of gameplay that it has appeals to me.

    • woodsey says:

      “We’ve been told so little about why the HL2 world is the way it is”

      The Combine invaded.

      “about what happened in the time between the two games”

      The Combine invaded. They began draining the planet’s resources. They used Breen to presumably help shut people up. An underground resistance formed. The Combine are now seemingly stuck on the planet.

      “motivations/purposes/goals of the enemies”

      The planet’s resources, and I’ll give you three guesses as to how they get more Combine soldiers, who are distinctly human in shape.

      “what was that fat, telepathic thing that killed Eli?”

      They’re called advisors, they seem to possess a degree of telepathic abilities, they appear to leaders of the regular Combine, although I imagine they’re not right at the top.

      That’s all off the top of my head, and I haven’t played any of them in three years. I didn’t get any of that by having someone in the game turn around and yell exposition at me for 30 minutes.

      Call it “guessing” if you will, that doesn’t make it bad writing.

    • newprince says:

      I don’t think a lot of people appreciate what HL1 and HL2 did for PC games in general, and FPS specifically. And I’m afraid it has to do with people playing it years later. Inevitably, you’ll miss all the “what was all the fuss about” because countless games have either aped its innovations or instituted new innovations we’ve all grown used to (regen health, cover systems, weird semi-stealth systems, military fetishism, etc.).

      When I first played HL1, it was a demo that came with my brother’s graphics card. I was heavily into Mechwarrior 2 and Command and Conquer at the time, games that showed me just how much potential the PC had. I booted HL up, expecting DOOM, a game which I didn’t especially care for (loved Quake though). And what it did was force me to listen and get absorbed into the world. Not a skippable CGI movie that looked nothing like the in-game graphics. The mood, unorthodox exposition, and incredible atmosphere were a package that no other game could rival.

      That said, I enjoyed HL2’s story more. Did people really have a hard time with this story? I mean, there’s bits you’re not supposed to “get”, but that’s been the nature of the series since the Black Mesa incident. To not have some sympathy for the people of City 17 and humanity in general strikes me as downright misanthropic. Breen was a great villain, and didn’t have to walk around in scary masks and armor suits to get across his maliciousness. I cannot for the life of me see why this is viewed as a cliched video game story: someone will have to point me to more “respectable” stories to admire.

    • newprince says:

      @Kent said: “Yeah, it WAS the corridor shooter at the time – just like Skyrim is THE RPG at this time or game X is THE city building simulator at this time, but not any longer.”

      Well, that’s a bit silly, isn’t it? By this fallacious reasoning, no game is good because in a year or two, something will come along and be better. This is simply wrong, anyway.

      I don’t need you to like the HL series. I just wish you didn’t employ such nonsense to justify your dislike of it, especially after admitting you never played the original.

      It’s fully reasonable to say simply “the gunplay was stale, I don’t like alien weapons” or “the driving sections bored me” or stuff along those lines, because that is backing up an opinion. But the quote above is just… wow.

    • roryok says:

      @Kent I have to hand it to you, you make some interesting points there. It’s easy enough for us to say HL1 was great back then, but maybe we are biased by fond memories of our youth. I still disagree that HL2 is a bad shooting game. I’m not saying it’s a better shooter experience than other games, but I certainly enjoy it.

      I’m trying to think of the greatest gunplay experience in an FPS, and I’m not sure what that is. Two that really stand out are Mirrors Edge and the original Far Cry. They had flaws, but the shooting experience in both was very memorable.

    • Mman says:

      “I played Ultima Underworld (1992) last year and it’s still a good game by today’s standards. So is X-COM and Deus Ex! Half Life isn’t a good game by today’s standards”

      Yes it is, but I’ll leave it at that as the more I see of “does it hold up?” stuff the more I realise that at least 90% of the time it’s just a way to twist opinions into facts.

      So let’s talk about actual facts instead, HL changed the FPS genre almost literally overnight; looking at the genre’s (and other genres for that matter) history there’s a very clear difference between the design of the vast majority of them before and after HL’s release. While they deserve recognition for it, games that did the same things before are irrelevant as far as influence goes since HL was the one everyone copied.

      Edit: Wait, you’ve never even played HL1? That puts your last comment on a whole other level of dumb.

    • Lemming says:

      @Kent: Nah, your Skyrim argument doesn’t hold up and does HL a disservice.

      Do you think Skyrim defines a genre? The RPG genre hasn’t changed much since the days of Black Isle, really. We’ve had more ‘living world’ but that’s about it.

      Skyrim will not be being talked about in 5 years time any more than Oblivion is now. It’s an RPG using the same formulas RPGs have been using for years just in an ever shinier box. Yes, it’s thrilling and awesome to see things like this but their appeal is always going to be finite – until the inevitable Skyrim 2.0 comes out.

      HL on the other has defined a genre. Storytelling above porn-movie quality in an FPS was unheard of at the time, coupled with weapons that felt right, level design that made places feel real, scripted sequences that were timed-perfectly, and doors that didn’t require colour coded keys to get through are just the things off the top of my head that HL did differently. It was the first FPS that didn’t think everything was just a big joke like Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem 3D etc.

      You don’t understand why people are excited for HL3, well, in a nutshell it’s because people want to see if lightning can strike a third time.

    • PJMendes says:

      @Lemming other than the good things you mentioned about the game, I would add sound design, from the memorable voice acting to the sound effects, to the sound engine (those amazing echoing rooms).

      You are now manually remembering Gordon’s footsteps sounds on metal catwalks, climbing up stairs, the shotgun, the Vortigaunt, the HEV.

    • Kent says:

      The main fallacy of my previous comment would seem is that I stated that HL weren’t groundbreaking and that I judged the quality of the game – but that’s mostly because I played Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II which came out a year before Half-Life. Sure, you’re right when you say that Half-Life defined the FPS genre for many years after its release but also remember that FPSes weren’t as popular between Half-Life and Half-Life 2 as it is right now – so if you were a developer and wanted to make money you would obviously be inspired of the game that everybody bought.

      So I didn’t pick up Half-Life in favor for Dark Forces II. That’s where my gaming FPS experiences truly started. DF2 and Ultima Underworld are the standards I judge most other early FPSes and just to look at hard featured between the three, Half-Life at a glance looks kind of stale – where Ultima Underworld and Dark Forces II seems to me have more personality than Half-Life, but again – that’s judging the book by its cover.

      Now I admit that my judgment of the quality of Half-Life is a bit unfair because I judged it as Half-Life 2 but without the experience and the journey, but so were the sod who judged my gaming experience after my youth, but then again – is Half-Life like Half-Life 2 but without the journey and the experience and does it play like it looks? Then my points are kinda valid, but I wouldn’t know.

    • roryok says:

      @Kent I didn’t realise you hadn’t actually played the first HalfLife. Whoops.

      So you have a choice it would seem.
      1. Play it, and vindicate your own opinions (or maybe change them) or
      2. Stop badmouthing a game you’ve not actually played. it makes you look silly.

      I would prefer you to do No.1. It won’t take long, and you might even enjoy it.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      All this “does it still hold up?” business leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The real question is: “do you still like it?” With games we’re still way too preoccupied with features – what was new then, what’s been copied since, etc. But what matters is how you feel about it, and if nostalgia plays a part then cool – there’s no objective measure of quality anyway.

      I like the band Ramones. I wasn’t around when they arrived but I’ve heard them since and loved them. I recognise that they borrowed a lot from acts from the 50s and 60s, and they’ve in turn inspired new bands who arguably do what they did but better.

      Still, I like the Ramones because they’re weird and stupid and fun and still utterly unique where it counts. I feel exactly the same about Half Life. Isn’t that what’s important?

  2. bear912 says:

    Sounds to me like an excellent excuse to play a little bit of Half-Life 2 this weekend.

  3. ThaneSolus says:

    wurz iz HL3z ?

    Yes, i would love another Half Life game, but Valve are already making too much money to care about it.

  4. bigtoeohno says:

    Apathy might of put this on the fritz. Im definetly curious… Didn’t sign. 30 000 seems a little underwhelming.

    • wccrawford says:

      I think most people realize how pathetic it is to DEMAND an answer about a video game, especially since Valve knows we’re all curious after all the crap recently. They’ve got their reasons for not answers, and having sit-ins and chanting ‘we want info’ isn’t going to change those reasons.

    • jezcentral says:

      Who’s demanding anything? They go out of their way to make clear that they are not asking Valve to hurry up, or even get started on it. They just want to know that, if Valve are working on it, to let them know, or if they aren’t, then to tell them that too.

      No pathetic-ness here, just a way for ten of thousands of gamers to politely ask Valve for some info.

  5. rocketman71 says:

    While they’re at it, we DoDders are still waiting for support. 3 years we have been waiting for Valve to roll some important bugfixes that are ALREADY DONE.

    And it would also be SO nice for Valve not to break our game every time they add two more fucking hats to TF2.

    • PodX140 says:

      CS:S’ers have the same issue over here. Christmas update completely borked the radar in the game, to the point of showing friendlies as hostile and vice versa. And yet it is STILL yet to be fixed.

      And, factor in that when dead you can now no longer see the radar thanks to this bug, it makes catching hackers next to impossible, along with the most basic admining functions.

  6. Suits says:

    People would notice the HL2 patch right away

  7. roryok says:

    I imagine they’re working on some sort of uber source update, to make HL3 look as good compared to 2, as 2 did to 1.

    • PodX140 says:

      They still have episode 3 to do, let alone a new timeline in the series. I don’t think 5 years is what’s required to make a game, with the same engine, let alone with valve’s resources.

      But even more frustrating is the lack of mention of ANY work on it whatsoever. No videos, no screen shots, not even a press release saying that it’s being worked on, let alone a release date.

    • roryok says:

      @PodX140 The general consensus seems to be that Episode 3 has mutated into HL3, and that there will be no ‘episode 3’ as such.

    • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

      I really hope that the reason for the protracted delay in Half-Life 3 news is there’s some great new iteration or overhaul of the aging mess that is the Source Engine. It just cannot remotely compare to its contemporaries and the tools are still largely stuck in the Doom era. Don’t misunderstand my complaint, Portal 2 looked nice, but that was inspite of the engine and tools used to create it and mod development could be even more vibrant with a real-time level editor, a proper global illumination system and so forth.

      I still cannot wait to see what Valve had done with Freeman’s long delayed return but my excitement is largely preoccupied with Thief 4, which even less is known about, and Dishonored. Also GTA 5. In that order.

    • roryok says:

      @Tyrone couldn’t agree more, on all counts!

  8. Carra says:

    I forgot how Ep2 ended, it’s been too long ago.

    Valves lack of communication is frustrating. Just tell us if you’re creating a sequel or not.

    • Fwiffo says:

      EP2’s ending can be encapsulated in 3 words; “Crash, splat, sniffle”

  9. Jannakar says:

    The Borealis dock in Portal 2 shows that they clearly have not forgotten the HL story; they do not need to patch anything into HL2.

    I think the biggest problem they face is how to resolve the Half Life and Portal story arcs in a satisfactory way (different games? the same game?) Until they have worked that out, we won’t hear anything.

  10. Nighthood says:

    Much as it would be really nice to hear something, I doubt anything will be said. I mean really, if Valve want to release Ep3/HL3 they’ll announce it in a place that will hype everyone up as much as possible, like E3.

    This “call for communication” will likely result in a vague press release saying they don’t comment on things that haven’t been confirmed, or something. E3 is the one to watch.

    • Newblade says:

      No, Marc Laidlaw stated that the story had been laid out before development, and that any changes are provoked for gameplay reasons.

  11. staberas says:

    Meanwhile at Valve: link to youtube.com

    Do you hear that? Thats the sound of HL3 in production ;p

  12. Terragot says:

    Shame we’ve still yet to see this fabled F-Stop mechanic. Though I’m sure there’s magic happening at valve. I’d rather let them get on with ‘what ever it is they are getting on with’ than stir a possible internal mutiny over at valve with this. Like poking an autistic child while he’s doing your maths homework to ask him ‘is it done yet?’, there’s always the chance of a nerd rage backlash.

    • roryok says:

      You made an autistic child do your maths homework?

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      I’m pretty sure that post wasn’t cool, man. Plus, I think your thesaurus is broken.

    • roryok says:

      that or he’s forcing an autistic child to write his comments

    • Joshua says:

      An autistic person would easily spot such inconsistency, so your last statement is probably not true.

  13. archimandrite says:

    Fan entitlement, yay!

    • Diogo Ribeiro says:

      This. Fan entitlement has grown into a grotesque thing.

      Also, thirty thousand? Protesters? Wow. What next, Occupy Valve? Anonymous rampaging all over their databases because not releasing and/or keeping silent about HL3 is a crime? Seriously. Man up, folks.

    • Prime says:

      Is this really that bad? “Please give us a yes/no as to whether you intend to return to the cliffhanger you left in the series that made you?”

      Understand, they’re not screaming for the game to be released or even for a release date. They just want to know if it’s coming or not. I think that’s fair considering how much the fans have given to Valve over the years.

    • Diogo Ribeiro says:


      I posted a reply to you Prime, but even though I saw it posted before I closed my browser, it seems to have either been deleted (I doubt it, I wasn’t being naff, insulting or cantankerous) or somehow not registed by the comments. Anyway, I said I don’t have a problem with fandom, in particular the kind that anticipates a videogame. But repeated prodding against Valve, a studio we know only reveals stuff when they feel are good enough or in an advanced state to show, seems a waste of time and probably revealing of an obsessive mindset. Players nowadays expect every studio to bow down to them over the smallest things.

      Me, I don’t need to know when HL3 or Episode 3 are coming out any more than I need to know what’s for dinner. When I get there, I’ll find out. Besides, the only thing players have given Valve over the years is money. If these thirty thousand guys and gals had not bought or playerd Valve’s games, another thirty thousand guys or gals would. They’re not special, yet they seem to feel otherwise.

    • chargen says:

      It must be awful to have a bunch of your fans politely ask you a question 5 years after you said you would be finished with something.

  14. Agricola says:

    When asked in forums about “The series/franchise that most people love but you dont really get” I always answer Half-Life. I played the original on release, same for HL2, they were ground breaking games and very enjoyable, but I dont spend every waking hour wondering when Valve will make a third.

    • roryok says:

      I don’t think anyone here spends every waking hour wondering about it either. We’re not obsessed, we just want to know what’s happening with it. I’m probably anticipating Dishonoured / Thief 4 / Bioshock Infinite a lot more, but there’s ample info about those titles.

  15. Lacobus says:

    I’m so up for this. Seems totally fair and reasonable just to ask for information either way. Like it says I’m not up for them rushing anything, I just want to KNOW.

    Also I wonder if HL2 sales will see a spike? It’d be a funny sort of protest that makes people actually BUY your product.

  16. Teddy Leach says:

    I bet you 50p that it doesn’t work. Because that’s all that’s in my wallet.

  17. Hoaxfish says:

    I’d like to have something new. You know, not a mod-turned-full-game, or an update.

    It just sorta seems like a company that gave us Half Life probably has the potential to think up other cool stuff by themselves.

  18. MadTinkerer says:

    I think that the main reason Valve are keeping quiet now is the success of the Portal 2 ARG. Shortly after the end of it, a new group of developers formed for the express purpose of working on another ARG and they’ve been suspiciously quiet.

    Methinks that Valve want to launch another ARG as soon as HL3 is close enough to completion that they can give an actual date, and it’s hovering just short of that mark. Few details have been leaked other than they have gone through several major revisions, and Gabe believes it’s worth the extra time taken.

    Still, I’d like a tiny bit more detail on the current direction of the project, even if it turns out they have to throw that part out later.

  19. me smart you stoopid says:

    Half-Life is cool and everything, I wonder if the supposed third episode or third game will suffer the fate of DNF though. As in once superb now outdated and irrelevant game. I mean, HL basically invented scripted shooters. Now people moan how tired they are of scripted shooters (and let’s face it, the unbearable CoDs are in fact much better scripted shooters than HL). Valve are not fools and there is a reason why they don’t release even the damn episode. I think they missed the boat and they wouldn’t meet their own high standards now.

    • woodsey says:

      Are you seriously saying that the sort of scripting in HL2 is worse than the “script every bloody step you take” that CoD now implements?

      People are sick of scripted shooters because developers have no idea when and where scripting is and isn’t appropriate.

    • Mman says:

      “and let’s face it, the unbearable CoDs are in fact much better scripted shooters than HL”

      Except they aren’t? Unless your measure for “better scripted shooter” is how much scripting can be crammed in at the expense of anything else (BTW this is a bad measure).

    • Joshua says:

      I dunno about you, but CoD4: MW and CoD2 were actually very solid, and not scripted that much. There’s quite a bit of freedom in those games in some of the levels, perhaps moreso then in Half Life.

    • Mman says:

      COD 2 does have some actual non-linear levels where you choose the order to do things with relatively constrained scripting (although the vast majority of the game isn’t like that). COD 4 is just as scripted as everything that came after, with the main important difference being that it actually had an understanding of pacing and calmed things down a few times instead of ALL EXPLOSIONS ALL THE TIME.

      I should note I actually enjoy modern super scripted shooters as a guilty pleasure, although I think I’m close to hitting my breaking point for them; Battlefield 3 almost managed it in itself for how it managed to lay bare every flaw of the style while seemingly not having the slightest bit of self-awareness that it was doing so.

      Half-life is automatically less scripted for the simple fact that looking around actually rewards you with gameplay-relevant items (as opposed to useless trinkets) that can help later on. Although HL2 sabotages that a little by making the ammo limits so annoyingly restrictive.

    • jjujubird says:

      Never understood why people complain about ammo in HL2. Playing through all of HL2 and the episodes I can recall being dangerously low on total ammo twice. But even then, once you have the gravity gun (which is a large portion of the game) there is usually something nearby to throw.

  20. Chaz says:

    I’m dying to see what HL3 delivers because 1 & 2 both represented milestones in FPS gaming for the technology, the gameplay and the art direction. So it would be reasonable to expect Valve to deliver another groundbreaking landmark in gaming, which is presumably what they’re working on doing. There was about a 6 year gap between 1 & 2, and 2 still sold by the bucket load. But yeah, they don’t want to leave it too much longer for 3.

    • zeroskill says:

      You make a reasonable point there, HL1 and 2 both were milestones, both from a design point of view, and a technical. I remember seeing a tech demo of Half-life 2 some time in 2003 I think, if I remember correctly, and it just blew my mind. But maybe thats exactly the problem, expectations are sky high for Half-life 3, it has to has at least just as big an impact as HL2 had, and probably, Valve isn’t ready for that.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      E3 2003 I believe. My jaw was on the floor the whole time. I must have watched the preview dozens of times. Mind-blowing indeed.

      Funny how time changes things though. Watch that preview now and it doesn’t look all that special. It’s kind of sad how once cutting-edge technology always eventually becomes passe, so the bar for truly amazing the audience just gets higher and higher.

  21. Deadly Habit says:

    valve have never been good with things like this
    link to developer.valvesoftware.com

  22. UnravThreads says:

    I don’t get the “we don’t want Valve to rush it” thing. I don’t think they can be rushing it at all. Valve don’t have the concept of “rushing”.

    I’d be calling for the abolition of Valve Time, personally. It’s beyond a joke now.

  23. zeroskill says:

    Its a good thing people get involved, and in all honesty, it doesn’t surprise me that people are asking for some sort of information about the Half-life series, considering how active the Valve fan base is. And i’m seeing more of this sort of thing rising in the future, Valve has been horribly quite about what they are doing right now. As mentioned in the article, Valve consists of about 300 people, Gabe said, about 60 people are working on Dota 2, Counterstrike GO has been mostly outsourced to Hidden Path, and there are small groups of about 10 people each taking care of the upkeep (content patches) of Portal 2, Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead 2. Even if the groups taking care of those games were to be bigger that still leaves more then half of the company working of things we don’t know anything about. I have no clue how many people actively work on the further development of Steam, but I can’t imagine it is a substantial amount of people.
    So there really isn’t any surprise that people are wondering. Valve is most likely working on a mayor project, be it Half-life, be it Prospero, be it something completely different.

  24. Wonko the Sane says:

    there’s definitely an emotional resonance from what the group are attempting somewhere in Valve

    We need an emotional resonance cascade!

  25. wodin says:

    Am I the only one who wasn’t fussed about Half Life and the follow ons?

  26. Kaira- says:

    Valve could do a lot with better communication in general. Take the piss-poor communication during the database breach for example. No emails, a post on the forums and apparently there was a notification on the pop-up windows… which can be turned off. Great work there.

  27. Network Crayon says:

    Nothing will come of this.

    • Skabooga says:

      Not true, I’ll be playing Half-Life 2 this weekend. That’s something that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. You gotta stop focusing on the destination and just enjoy the journey, man.

  28. Shortwave says:

    I’m one of those people who simply waited so long for this that I just stopped caring.
    This series changed my life when I was younger as sad as that may be, but it did.
    I never thought I’d have to wait till’ I was a grown man just to see the end of it.
    Or still be wondering if it’ll even exist. I just think Valve needs to remember what made them great.
    And at least show enough respect to all those people who made them who they are to speak about it.
    I could of really done without L4D2 and Portal 2, despite being good games.. I cannot express how stupid it is where still waiting for the end of Half-life. To be honest, I’m not even sure it’s possible for them to live up to the expectations their fans have of Valve. As 1 was to 2 and so forth. I just don’t see the innovation they once had anymore in their newest titles. Likely because of all the constant tiny updates to their engine/games over the past few years I find it hard to believe I will ever be blown away with their work as I once was. They are simply just not entirely FOCUSED on it like they used to be, too many side projects, to many resources split up in every direction.. I’ve just, lost my Valve faith.. Sorry guys. : ( But please.. Blow me away, prove me wrong, “wow” me.
    Just not holding my breath anymore.

  29. DickSocrates says:

    I hope it never comes out. I like nothing better than seeing the fans of an inexplicably popular second rate game series get upset over literally nothing.

  30. int says:

    Stuff Gordon. When is Shepard coming back?

    • Goomich says:

      I don’t care about HL3 anymore. Now I want that they move whole Ep3/HL3 department (yes, both interns) to make it possible to install games on diffrent drive.

    • Skabooga says:

      This. THIS! A thousand times this!

    • roryok says:

      Shepards in space now

  31. Goomich says:

    I don’t care about HL3 anymore. Now I want that they move whole Ep3/HL3 department (yes, both interns) to make it possible to install games on diffrent drive.

  32. Radiant says:

    But what would Half Life 3 do?
    I don’t mean in a wwjd way; how would it play?

    A regular shooter? Hooked around what story?
    A high concept sci-fi dark times? There are TONS of shooters like that how would it differentiate itself?

    How would it differ from Half Life 2?

    • Radiant says:

      I honestly could not give a shit about Half Life 3 or Ep. 3.

      All I want is an epic game that doesn’t disappear up it’s own, three comics and a dozen extended universe novels, storyline.

      And doesn’t have me running around playing collect em all! With a psychologically primed side quest which consumes all my play time.

      Or has me trying to level up rpg style with ever increasing numbers.

      That god forsaken well has been exhaustively fucking tapped.

      Let’s find something different please? For me?

    • mihor_fego says:

      The only way Half-Life 3 could blow everyone away is by being S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with Valve production values.

    • Radiant says:

      A Valve Stalker game?
      In Irradiated Russia hats craft you!

  33. Beelzebud says:

    Having read The Dark Tower series, as it came out, all I have to say is you kids these days have no patience at all.

    Here is a challenge. Read the first Dark Tower books, then take a 10 year break between parts III and IV.

    • Sidewinder says:

      Having read the Rama series as it came out, all I can say is you Stephen King fans have no patience at all. Trying waiting 17 years between the first and second parts.

    • Radiant says:

      Have you guys read the Bible?
      Try waiting 1611 years for the novelisation.

    • Hulk Handsome says:

      I’m waiting for the film adaptation.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      Rama was never intended to have a sequel, and gosh, he should have stuck to the plan…

  34. deadpan says:

    Following the extended hype and anticipation, Episode 3 ultimately proved divisive among fans. Players were excited to explore the new environments, but were disappointed with the near-total absence of series protagonist Gordon Freeman. Valve is known for taking risks, but a ten-hour FPS presented from the perspective of a ceramic gnome fired through a Combine portal to an alien planet proved a bit too avant garde for the average gamer.

  35. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    So how long until someone makes a similar group for Black Mesa?

    • Beelzebud says:

      Hopefully never, because it would be extremely whiny to make demands to a mod team working for free. If people are that upset about the long development time for a mod, they should get to work, and volunteer.

    • roryok says:

      well, to look at it another way, how come valve haven’t snapped them up yet? They certainly have the cash, and it’s the kind of thing the love

    • Grape Flavor says:

      This. I think the fact that Black Mesa is pursuing the EXACT SAME “zero information” blackout as Valve is, makes things doubly painful for Half-Life fans. At least Valve can somewhat justify their secrecy. Black Mesa’s a remake for god sakes. What is there to hide?

      I suspect the Black Mesa team isn’t actually working on it in any meaningful capacity, but they’re just too scared of the backlash that would come from admitting it. Well, if they’re not going to finish the thing, give it to someone who will.

      And they don’t seem to understand whatsoever that if they wait much longer their remake is going to look every bit as dated as Half-Life did when they started the project. Time is running out. If they release the game in 2014 it’s going to be based on decade-old technology.

      Which, you know, kind of defeats the whole purpose (updating Half-Life to modern standards).

  36. wererogue says:

    30 Helens agree: Half Life 3 will be done when it’s done. Which will probably be when someone untangles the mess of a story enough to think of a satisfying conclusion, and hopefully not before.

    • Newblade says:

      People seem to think that the story is the problem, when it is not. It is the gameplay that was getting stale what is slowing it down.

    • roryok says:

      I don’t think valve has a problem with either gameplay (portal/portal 2) or story (portal/portal 2). I think they have a problem with HalfLife 3 not being ready.

  37. newprince says:

    What would happen if Valve did this to all their franchises now? No Left 4 Dead 3, no Portal 3… force themselves to get two whacks at an IP before they move on.

    It would be nice in the sense that they would do something new like Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2 (so radical of a change it warrants its own consideration as the start of a new franchise IMO), and Portal… however, I see them drifting into MOBA land with DotA 2 and, as lovely as I’m sure that game will be, I don’t enjoy MOBAs in the slightest, which leaves me not liking Valve’s current direction. Then again, I might be the only person within a 100 mile radius who is totally pumped about new Counter Strike and later the potential for the next iteration of the Source engine. We’ll see.

  38. Iskariot says:

    I don’t think I will live long enough to play Half-Live 3.
    I vaguely remember playing some kind of Half Life games in the good old days.
    Can’t remember what they were about. It was about some guy who did some stuff or something and others did some stuff to prevent him doing stuff. But then he did some other stuff and they could not do their stuff anymore. And everybody was very happy.

  39. ratone says:

    Half-Life never had too much of a story for me, in the “common sense” of the word. It was always about these characters (important or not) in this world.
    I remember the missions where the resistance was close to you, I would always try to save them as much as I could… The World felt so alive and oppressive, and all these characters felt so alive. Every house in Half Life 2 told a story… The rusty bed put close to the fireplace, the lonely boot next to the bathtub, the ashes of what was once a human being in the yard.
    And this is all the story that Half-Life 2 (and its episodes) had to me.

    Sure, there was this big conspiracy story, about G-Man (“Who is he?!”) What was behind the Combine Masks, The Advisors Plan. But it never hooked me up, it never felt important and I never really felt compelled to “understand all of this”. Actually, I believed (and still believe) that we will never receive answers for these questions raised, and if we did, they would be disappointing.
    How can you explain who the G-Man is without being obvious? No answer can make people happy, because they already speculated so much about it, that what they expect is impossible, it only exists in their heads.

    In short, Half-Life 2 story (for me, obviously) is not about the “Big Lost-Like Plot, full of twists and turns” it was more about the small things.

    Now, I want Half-Life 3.
    Not because of answer (I don’t believe they will be given), but because I miss the quality that the series brought to PC gaming.
    Half-Life 2 is almost 8 years old and it has more “physically realistic” objects that 90% of the games today in the market! Things like Ai, Physics and Facial Animation have evolved so damn slowly in the last years.

  40. buxcador says:

    Companies should make a Paid-for-Vote funding. Gamers pay to vote for the next game they want, and Valve makes that game.