Everything we know so far about Half-Life 3
With another E3 on the horizon, our thoughts turn hopeful, yet again, for the possibility of a Half Life 3 announcement.
It’s been eight years since the release of Half-Life 2: Episode 2, so we’re more than due the next entry in one of the best-loved gaming series.
But will we ever see Half-Life 3? Or at least Half-Life 2: Episode 3?
The hype around Half-Life 3 has become one of the biggest running jokes on the internet, to the point that every tech or gaming industry teaser with the number three in it is swiftly manipulated to be a Half-Life 3 announcement.
But with nearly a decade of Valve refusing to deny the existence of Half-Life 3, we’re still clinging on to the hope that we might get to play it. One day anyway.
See also: Fallout 4 news and rumours
Half-Life 3 Release Date — When is it coming out?
Valve has managed to carefully weave a long spiel that neither confirms nor denies that Half-Life 3 is in development. There have been so many interviews and pesterings over the past eight or so years that we’ve just been waiting for Valve to trip up. But it still hasn’t happened.
After all these years we still don’t know whether the game actually exists or when it would arrive if it even does.
See also: Mass Effect 4 news and rumours
Half-Life 3 News — What’s being said about it?
Source 2 announcement gets us excited all over again
At GDC 2015 on March 3, Valve announced Source 2 – the latest version of its gaming engine. The original Source engine helped create Counter Strike-Source and Half-Life 2, so the announcement of the second generation of Source helped to reignite the Half-Life 3 rumours.
Is this what Valve has been waiting for? Now its Source 2 engine is ready to go, is it finally time give us some concrete information on the state of Half-Life 3?
Well, it’s been over two months since that announcement and all we know is that Source 2 will be free to developers. There’s been no hint as to what games we could see running it.
HTC Vive teases fresh Valve games
Just prior to the Source 2 announcement, Valve surprised us all by announcing its own virtual reality headset with Taiwanese company HTC at MWC 2015. Meet the HTC Vive.
When we actually managed to get our hands (or should that be eyes) on it, Valve treated us to a special Portal 2-themed tech demo starring the game’s very own GLADoS and robot Atlas.
That SteamVR demo, which you can read more about in our HTC Vive preview, could be just a glimpse of what’s to come from Valve – both in terms of VR and for new game titles.
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Steam Machines could birth a brand new Valve title
It’s all been a little quiet on the Steam Machine front of late, apart from a brief mention of the tech at GDC 2015. However, we expect them to officially start arriving at the end of this year, with that space-age Steam Controller in tow. But with the launch of a new platform, Valve would be mad not to launch a new game to celebrate.
Is that the time for Half-Life 3? The game being a SteamOS exclusive would get a lot more people to buy Steam Machines, after all. Well, perhaps not, but there is space for Left 4 Dead 3 or even Portal 3 in our game libraries, too.
Concept art gives us a potential glimpse at the future
Somehow unofficial website ValveTime managed to procure what they claimed were 33 pieces of concept art from Half Life 2: Episode 3. Some of those are scattered among this article, including various new Alyx designs, Gordon Freeman in some cold weather clobber and even the Resistance chopper crashed in the Arctic.
Although the images were posted to the site in 2012, the concept art apparently dates back to 2008, which could mean the artwork has changed considerably since then.
When ValveTime posted the images, they came with the following statement on the Steam Forums:
“For the avoidance of doubt, I just want to stress that we absolutely would not release these pictures if we didn’t know for a fact that they were real. They absolutely are. Please just enjoy them as they are, and try not to look for conspiracies that aren’t there.
“I mean it’s not like we’re doing it to attract to our site. We know our server can’t cope with the load so we don’t want massive influxes of traffic like this. You may have noticed we’ve been offline since!”
It’s strange that Valve never took the effort to discredit the concept art. Instead it literally said nothing at all about the leak, which we’ll take to mean that they’re the real deal.
See also: Project Morpheus vs Oculus Rift
Gabe Newell speaks on the possibility of Half-Life 3
Back in 2012, Gabe Newell actually teased us with a veiled discussion of Half-Life 3 during an interview on the Seven Day Cooldown Podcast. Newell was asked by one of the presenters when fans could expect the release of Ricochet 2.
Now, Ricochet was a very old Valve title that didn’t perform or sell well and is very, very unlikely to be given a sequel.
It was the interviewer’s way of talking about Half-Life 3 without actually mentioning the name, and Newell picked up on that with his reply:
“In terms of Ricochet 2, we always have this problem that when we talk about things too far in advance, we end up changing our minds as we’re going through and developing stuff. So as we’re thinking through the giant story arc which is Ricochet 2, you might get to a point where you’re saying something is surprising us in a positive way and something is surprising us in a negative way, and you know, we’d like to be super-transparent about the future of Ricochet 2.
“The problem is, we think that the twists and turns that we’re going through would probably drive people more crazy than just being silent about it, until we can be very crisp about what’s happening next.”
See also: Red Dead Redemption 2 news and rumours
Half-Life 3 Story — What’s it about?
* Half-Life 2: Episode 2 Spoiler Alert*
At the end of Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Gordon has destroyed a dozen Striders that have attacked White Forest while the rocket is being prepared. The rocket is successfully launched and the super portal is closed, isolating the Combine forces from their alien homeworld.
Alyx and Gordon prepare to leave for the Borealis, but Eli (Alyx’s father) warns Gordon repeatedly of the ship’s cargo. As the three of them walk into the hangar, they’re attacked by a pair of Advisors and restrained by them.
As Gordon and Alyx struggle, Eli is sadly killed by one of them. As the second tries to kill Alyx, D0g bursts in through the roof and attacks the Advisor, causing both of them to flee.
The game closes with Alyx sobbing, holding her father’s body.
Half-Life 3 would have to follow on from that. We’re not sure where the story would go, but there’s always a revenge story for Alyx to take with Gordon alongside.
See also: GTA 6 news and rumours
Half-Life 3 Wishlist — What we’d like to see
1) Who is the G-Man?
We’ve had four different Half-Life games and we’re still none the wiser as to who the mysterious G-Man is, with his black briefcase. You could even argue that this enigma is more of a central character to the Half-Life series than Gordon himself.
Why is he so interested in Gordon? Why does he keep saving Gordon’s life? What reason does he have to oppose the Combine?
We want all those questions answered and more. Go on, Valve, you know you want to.
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2) Don’t ditch Gorman’s fist-and-crowbar approach
Although we like other FPS titles such as Battlefield or Call of Duty or even Alien: Isolation, there’s no need to make Gordon and co anything like them.
Half-Life always shone for us because of its simplicity. Here’s a man who is fighting an alien race with nothing more than his fist and a crowbar – and some other weapons along the way, of course.
There’s room for some new weird weapons, but if anything happened to Gordon’s roots, we’d be severely disappointed.
3) ...but make him more realistic
With the Source 2 engine, there’s a chance to make Gordon feel more like a real person during gameplay. Let him press some buttons with his hands and let us see some feet walking around for once.
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4) Show us the power of the Source 2 engine
Half-Life 2 can look fantastic on a high-powered PC thanks to the upgrades the Source engine has received since Half-Life 2 was released. Those physics puzzles paved the way in terms of videogame design, and Half-Life 3 should do the same.
We hope the next Half-Life game continues the series’ tradition of breaking the mould in terms of environments, interactions and puzzles, too.
5) Don’t skip any time periods
If we eventually get to play Half-Life 3 rather than Half-Life 2: Episode 3, we’re hoping that Valve doesn’t do anything silly like “10 years later” or “100 years later” after the death of Eli.
Every other entry in the Half-Life series has followed directly on from its predecessor, meaning the story never skips a beat.
We want to see what happens to Alyx and Gordon directly after the rocket launch, not years later.
See also: Xbox One vs Xbox 360
6) Stay true to its roots
Since Half-Life 2: Episode 2 was released back in 2007, there have been a lot of fantastic and successful games that have been keeping our attention. Just look at The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, an entire Mass Effect trilogy, and three Dragon Age titles, for examples.
As much as we’ve loved all of those games and many others, Half-Life is unique. It doesn’t need any additions to make it more akin to other titles, like a levelling system, looting features, and definitely not a third-person camera view.
Keep Half-Life true to its roots and don’t let the last eight years of gaming ruin its history.
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7) Half-Life 3 co-op
We never thought Portal co-op would work, and then Portal 2 came along and blew our minds with Atlas and P-Body’s friendship.
It made us wonder whether we could tolerate co-op in Half-Life 3. Imagine playing as Gordon and Alyx side by side with your buddy. We reckon we could handle that.