The Last Eight Years Of Gordon Freeman’s Unpublished Diaries – RPS Exclusive

An envelope arrived in the post this morning. Thick, stuffed with books. Diaries, in fact. Someone has sent me Gordon Freeman’s diaries from the last eight years. I don’t really know what to do about this. I mean, this is obviously big news, but this is also someone’s private life. But what if it was Gordon himself who sent them? What if he wants the… the misery therein to be exposed?

I’ve decided on a compromise. I’m going to publish some extracts, picked almost at random from the lot. If Freeman wants them taken down, he can get in touch and we’ll honour that right away.

Oct 11th, 2007

Alyx still hasn’t spoken to me. I don’t really blame her. I guess I just sat there, held by that Advisor. I just sat and watched as her father was murdered by those fat alien baby things. D0g tried to help. I did nothing. And as Alyx sobbed over the still-warm body of her dad, I just stared. What the hell is wrong with me? Why couldn’t I just say something? Offer some words of condolences? But I just stared. I wouldn’t talk to me, either. Shit.

December 23rd, 2007

Alyx and I exchanged a few texts a couple of days ago, but I’m pretty convinced nothing’s happening re. Christmas this year. I guess it’s another year of uncomfortable pullovers at the Vortigaunts’.

June 14th, 2008

Sooooo… So yeah. I was rather expecting to hear something from the folks at Valve by now. Things are still pretty awkward with Alyx – I guess we’re not friends any more. We’ve met up a couple of times, at gatherings with others, and sort of been polite. I tend to keep myself to myself at such things – not a big one for small talk – which always makes it trickier.

There was also that time we bumped into each other at the coffee shop in White Forest. God, that was uncomfortable. I didn’t say anything, but that only seemed to make her more annoyed. But yeah, getting worried about the lack of any communication with Valve. I was pretty sure they’d be wanting to send me off on a new task by now – at least give me the chance to avenge Eli. It’s kind of weird.

August 20th 2009

Money’s getting tight, and the alien overlords controlling us all unchallenged sucks pretty hard. I keep finding my eyes glancing at the old crowbar, there on the mantel. I’ve not gone alone since my first day at Black Mesa, and that went pretty epically badly. No, I’ll wait until the honchos at Valve get in touch, that’s the right thing to do. I’m sure it’ll be any day now.

February 1st 2011

Wow, it’s been weeks since I wrote in here. I’ve been busy, new job and all. I’ve picked up some part-time shifts at the White Forest Cafe. It’s not great money, but it’s money. Far better than that cleaning job at the Combine’s facility – creepy as all hell, that was. A year of my life I’ll never get back, and I’ll be glad to never wear that disguise again. I can just about manage the rent, but if I can pick up a couple more shifts things will be a lot easier.

October 27th 2011

Oh wow, you’ll never guess who was in the cafe today! Dr. Kleiner! It’s so long since I’ve seen him, and we had a whole bunch to catch up on. He’s retired now, living in an annex off Barney’s place, back in the hills. He still tinkers around in the garage apparently. Says it’s good to be prepared in case Valve ever contact us. I hadn’t even thought about Valve for – god – months until he mentioned them.

I suppose they still might. Things have been in limbo here for so long, it’s hard to imagine anything changing. Still, it was great to see Kleiner – he’s the one guy I’ve never felt judged by. I wish I could tell him that, but, well, you know.

October 28th 2011

Urk. Barney was in today. He asked me if I’d seen Kleiner. I said yeah, sure, he chatted to me for about an hour yesterday. Barney explained that, well, Kleiner’s not so well. Apparently I caught him at a good moment, but he’d disappeared from Barney’s place a few days earlier saying he was looking for Lamarr. Lamarr’s been dead for years. I feel terrible.

August 3rd 2012

Mossman was in the cafe again today. Oh, I should say first, I’m assistant manager! After they made me full-time, Angela quit because she wasn’t happy with her hours. Then when Philip was moved to City 17’s head offices, that meant Julie became manager, and I guess I was the natural choice! It’s a lot more responsibility, and it keeps me busy. Anyway, as I was saying, Mossman was in again.

She comes in once a week or so now, always talking about how she’s about to set off in the Borealis. The Borealis has been in dry dock for, what, five years now? I’m worried about her – she needs to move on.

March 29th 2013

I had a funny moment in the cafe today! Julie couldn’t get the staff locker open, and her car keys were inside. She had to pick up her kid from school, and she was panicking. I’d put the crowbar in the toolbox out back a few months back, as it just looked silly in the flat. So I grabbed it, popped the locker open, and handed her the keys.

She was really grateful, but couldn’t understand why I was laughing so hard. I tried to explain, tell her about my old job, but she was already late and she seemed a bit weirded out. Thinking about it, I’m not sure why I was laughing now.

March 13th 2014

So the White Forest Cafe closed down for good. Since the Combine stopped coming in, money was getting really tight. A few locals really weren’t enough to prop up the place, and head office said either we all take half wages, or it closes. Julie and Brian were totally against a pay cut, and I figured maybe it was time to find something new to do. Not sure what though. Got a month’s pay, so there’s time.

September 10th 2014

Dammit, it happened again. I was checking my emails and there was something about Valve. As ever, my heart picked up, but it was just bloody spam. Something about selling “Bucket Valves”, whatever those are – it made little sense. BLOODY HELL. God.

God.

July 28th 2015

I turned 40 last week. I didn’t do anything for it – it didn’t feel like something to be celebrated. Anyway, it’s hard to fit more than a couple of people into the bedsit. I remembered something this morning, kind of wish I hadn’t. Alyx and I, back in the day, had joked about when we turned 40. We said that if we’d not found anyone yet, if we were both single at 40, we’d just marry each other. We were joking, but I think we both meant it a bit too.

I didn’t hear from her. I mean, I haven’t heard from her in a couple of years, but I did wonder if the big four-oh might have given her a nudge to say hi. Dunno. Her 40th is next month – maybe she’s waiting until then? Fingers crossed.

October 4th 2015

I’m sorry, I need to let this out of my system. Sometimes I think about Valve, about the promises, the agreements. I think about the contracts we made, verbal of course – because I’m always the fool. I think about how we were going to bring down the Combine together, how Mossman was finally going to take her cargo, whatever the bloody hell it was, and how Alyx and I would make a real difference. And maybe I’d have finally found the courage to tell her how I felt. Feel.

I think about what could have been, had they just kept their word. I’ve tried contacting them, obviously, but after a couple of non-committal replies from Doug saying they didn’t have an answer right now, there’s been nothing. Not a word. Look, I just thought I meant something to them. I thought we had something special, something they cared about too. I guess that just makes me the bloody fool again, doesn’t it?

Sod it.

This feature was originally published as part of, and thanks to, the RPS supporter program.

43 Comments

Top comments

  1. emotionengine says:

    Well Gordon, OF COURSE she is not going to get back in touch with you. Especially not on the sixth anniversary of the day you unceremoniously dumped her: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/02/11/gordon-alyx/

    What, too embarrassing an episode even to confide to this little diary of yours?

    Btw, it looks like Valve is giving you the, err, silent treatment. How do you like being given a taste of your own medicine, Mr. Freeman? Fun, eh?

    Seriously Gordon, you deserve to be sad and alone.
  1. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    Somebody’s in sore need of a Weighted Companion Cube [♥]

  2. Premium User Badge

    johannsebastianbach says:

    Love it!

  3. BathroomCitizen says:

    I feel so melancholy right now.

    I’ve grown up with Gordon Freeman, he was one of my heroes during my childhood. And now that he’s out of a job, I feel so alone :(

  4. Premium User Badge

    Dorga says:

    He should check Aperture, I’m sure they’re running some intresting tests.

  5. Premium User Badge

    basilisk says:

    Time to finally admit it: there will never be an episode three, and there will never be a Half-Life 3. It’s not even vaporware at this point. It’s just wishful thinking.

    Valve is a different company now, with very different priorities. It lives in a world of multiplayer, of software and hardware both stuck in perpetual beta, of morally questionable gambling crates, an endless shower of vanity items and the ambition to gather all the money in the world and then some. There’s no more room for Gordon’s adventures in this world. And that’s fine.

    • jj2112 says:

      That’s because Gabe Newell is larger than life now.

    • FreeTom says:

      It’s hard to imiagine what they could release now that wouldn’t be a disappointment. Even if it had come out five years ago like we thought, it would have to have been amazing just to meet expectations.

      Now it would need to be Doom times Mario 64 on sliced bread to not cause widespread rioting.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      AT least they could license it to the Telltale people to make one of them choose-your-adventure spinoffs. This article would be a good premise ;)

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      I’m fine with the series ending with Episode 2.
      Like I’m fine with Firefly, Space: Above & Beyond and many others promising things ending prematurely.
      I prefer that over droning on and on as a franchise *coughstargate*, being ruined by cynical monetization schemes or splitting it up in even more episodes and still end them with another sequel hook.

      • FirstSpear says:

        I’d agree with that if there was any game currently available that matched HL2. There isn’t. I’ve tried FEAR 1 and 2. Not bad, but still lacking, too much taking control away from the player while tedious videos play – FEAR 3 is clearly the rush job that lots fear(ed) HL3 could be. Dishonored. So so; complicated, too much to remember, and spells and runes and stuff that I just can’t be bothered with. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is good, but ridiculously controlled linear with very little exploration allowed – every door is locked unless that’s where you must go next. Just bought 2 Metros. I’ll give them a go, but I’m not hopeful. Firefly’s cancellation shocked me, it was so very good, but there are other TV programmes (UK) as good, so, with respect, your simile doesn’t hold.
        We’re all stuck with Valve, and I’ll continue feeding their bank account, but I do wish I could poke someone in the eye for what they didn’t do.

  6. amateurviking says:

    :'(

  7. Premium User Badge

    yhancik says:

    Awww!
    (sometimes I was reading those journal entries in the tone of SuttSteve)

  8. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Poor Gordon.

  9. emotionengine says:

    Well Gordon, OF COURSE she is not going to get back in touch with you. Especially not on the sixth anniversary of the day you unceremoniously dumped her: link to rockpapershotgun.com

    What, too embarrassing an episode even to confide to this little diary of yours?

    Btw, it looks like Valve is giving you the, err, silent treatment. How do you like being given a taste of your own medicine, Mr. Freeman? Fun, eh?

    Seriously Gordon, you deserve to be sad and alone.

  10. Atomica says:

    This reminded me of the excellent HL2 comic series, Concerned: link to hlcomic.com with Gordon Frohman.

  11. Kefren says:

    Half Life is the shining example of how something good can be ruined by being unfinished. Bring people to care about the characters and story – then never bring about the resolution. Just leave them hanging on, dried-up clanglenuts swinging in the deadbreeze.

    To be honest, I preferred HL1. It told a more complete story, and its omissions didn’t stand out so much as glaring questions. But if HL2 had ever ended properly, maybe I’d have changed my mind.

    HL2 put me off episodic stuff ever since. I like to wait until something’s finished now, if it promises an epic journey that will disappoint without a satisfying ending. If Valve can’t do it, the chances of other people doing so seem slim. Then again, Valve didn’t seem to curate their own material properly. What if you wanted an updated Half Life? The options were HL with the updated textures from Blue Shift; or HL Source (better physics, but the low-res textures). Why didn’t they use the better textures when they made HL Source?0

    Of course, now there’s the unfinished Black Mesa too, but that changes many aspects of the game. For example, I loved the Xen levels in the original, the idea of changing them makes me sad.

    HL2 is like a brilliant, gripping the reader, but at the end there are a few appendices which seem to tell the rest of the story but they just peter out, a few ragged leaves with scratches on, then nothing.

    • Nucas says:

      that’s where i’m at. didn’t buy life is strange until the last episode released. since it’s the only episodic game i’ve ever been interested in that was actually FINISHED (half life, dreamfall chapters, kentucky route zero) i feel vindicated.

      i think black mesa is a worthy successor to half life 1 though in replaying it recently it really showed off how dated the game’s core mechanics are. i launched right into half life 2 and it’s hard to believe it was ever the innovator it once was. maybe the world has left half life behind.

      it’s still hilarious that half life, the game changing franchise, ended so indecisively. it’s like they never decided to continue it, or cancel. just left the question hanging in the wind, unasked and unanswered, like that girl you want to call back but never did, THEN IT’S TOO LATE!q!!

  12. fuggles says:

    Not even sure that an average half life 2 ending game/episode would be that bad. Getting to the stage where the New generation are the main buyers, who will never have heard of, or played a half life game. the ending is now basically nostalgic fans service, which is abyssmal.

    Valve, make a game or a comic, just do something_

  13. waltC says:

    If I had to choose between Steam and HL3 I am honestly not sure which I’d rather have…;) How quickly these purloined technocrats forget the software, and the people, that put them on the map…

  14. Distec says:

    The #1 Half-Life fanfic was, and always will be, Walter’s World from PHL.

  15. KevinLew says:

    The best part of this article is that can serve as an introduction story into the short film, “Half Life 3: Unannounced” by Fence Post Productions. (It’s on Youtube–I’m reluctant to post links as I don’t want to be tagged as a bot.) I know that the two things are totally unrelated, but it’s surprising how the two can work as companion pieces.

  16. nullward says:

    Wonderful. Gordon Freeman would totally become a barista in a world without meaningful conflict…

  17. Windypundit says:

    That…that just made me so sad. And it’s exactly right. Gordon didn’t die or anything. That would at least have given us some closure, some sense that things are finished. Instead, Gordon is still out there. He just hasn’t done anything important or exciting ever again…

  18. Erithtotl says:

    I had forgotten just how long its been. Wow. I’m mystified Value couldn’t just hire enough people to do all their other crap AND Half Life. How hard would that be? How could it not make money?

  19. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    So, maybe this is just me, but is Alyx and Gordon’s relationship really a sexual tension “will they, won’t they?” sort of deal? In my head Gordon was always way older than her, she’s introduced as his friend’s daughter. In HL2 it was more of an ‘uncle’ Gordon babysitting his colleague’s daughter feels, to me. Something paternal. Clearly everyone else read it different. Have some vague memory of the later episodes hinting she’s more of a love interest, cause I remember being a bit jarred by it. All seemed a bit “eurgh, really? With old, murderously silent goatee boy? Yuk.”. Was kinda hoping Episode 3 would prove me right but hey! wait! What happened to episode 3!? It’s been, like, 8 years! Damn you! You blew it all to hell! Etc, and so on

    • Unclepauly says:

      Just because people are colleagues doesn’t mean they are the same age.

      • Unclepauly says:

        On top of that Gordon was in stasis between half life 1 and 2 so he didn’t age between the games. In half life 1 he was in his late 20’s and alyx is in her 20’s as well.

      • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

        Yeah, I realised after, I just didn’t get the feeling she was a love interest. She was nervous and coy, but in a childish way, in awe that she was meeting THE Gordon Freeman. Just seems weird to me. Almost creepy? But yeah, whatever. It’s a story that won’t see an end, isn’t it?

        • gwathdring says:

          I mean, we know nothing about Freeman. Disbelief suspended, clearly he says and thinks things and isn’t a walking refrigerator full of guns. But since we don’t actually hear any of Gordon’s thoughts or feelings, it’s impossible to properly judge the character’s behavior.

          We can’t tell how weird Gorden’s relationship with anyone else is because we only ever see half of his interactions with anyone–except the Combine and such I suppose.

          • gwathdring says:

            I should probably add that this is relevant to your post because it implies, further, that we can’t really say much about how “creepy” any sort of relationship with Alex would be. The game implies that she cares about Gordon a lot and leaves open that the feeling might be romantic in nature. But it doesn’t tell us a thing about Gordon so how are we supposed to know if that’s creepy or not?

            Is it less creepy if those affections aren’t romantic? If there’s this silent non-reciprocating fellow going around strapped with a half dozen guns having killed more people personally than cold possibly leave someone half-socialized without serious psychological scars … and everyone treats him like he’s their best, most intimate pal–Kliener, Alyx, Eli–despite him not saying a word? I mean, if we’re going with that as CANON, then romance has nothing to do with it. That’s pretty dang bizarre and a right messed up social circle any way you slice it!

            If that’s not canon, as is more sensible … well, we wouldn’t know if it’s creepy. We literally don’t know the half of it.

          • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

            Yes, I think you’ve hit the crux of it there. It’s weird (to me at least) because he’s not a character in the game. We wouldn’t really know what he looks like if not for the box art. In HL1 where his only interaction with the world is shooting stuff, it makes sense. In HL2 trying to create these 2 way relationships with only 1 visible, talking character just doesn’t really work. Makes a big ask of players assumptions and disbelief suspension to see anything there.

        • jonahcutter says:

          IIRC the devs said they set her up as an overt love interest. Where she gets nervous in front of Gordon during her dad’s dialogue line about repopulating the planet, and some surreptitious winks and flirting she does. “Room in that suit for two” line or something.

  20. padger says:

    Half-Life 3 confirmed.

  21. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    There’s nothing inherently appealing about HL2’s world and characters; I forgot most of them the moment I finished the game. Its selling point was in its gameplay innovations, and Valve don’t feel they have enough fresh ideas up their sleeve to carry another 60-hour epic. They’ll give it another generation, probably. Unless they decide to make it a VR-only game, cause that’s the big new thing right now.

  22. Gotem says:

    40 years! He is getting a half life crisis.

    I do wonder how can he make a verbal agreement.

  23. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Dr. Breen has also been keeping a diary of sorts, communicating the occasional snippet ever since his transferal into a host body. He has, however, been silent for more than a year now, and I fear the worst.