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RIP Half-Life - an account from Valve

UPSLynxUPSLynx Top EA shill, The Dean of Computer GraphicsRedwood City, CA Icrontian

This is a brutal, difficult read, but its also nothing we didn't already know deep down. Game Informer gets an interview with a presumably ex-Valve dev, and gets real talk on what's going on with Half-Life within the company. Worth the read, even if speculative.

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2017/01/11/searching-for-half-life-3.aspx

It's 2017. Orange Box and Half-LIfe 2 Episode 2 came out a decade ago. Half-Life 2 is 13 years old. Thirteen! Valve isn't a game developer anymore, and honestly, it's not surprising. The world has changed, the industry has changed, and why would they make a singleplayer FPS experience in 2017?

I gave up on Half-Life 3 many years ago. It is still one of my favorite franchises in gaming, and I'd still give just about anything to have the cliffhanger of a story hit a proper conclusion, but no matter how you shake it, this is the reality. Tonight I re-read 10 years worth of Half-Life related posts on Icrontic, all full of hopeful speculation and "it'll be announced soon I just know it!" kind of optimism, but man. When Beyond Good and Evil 2 has a better chance of being released than your game, you know things are rough.

I'm not sure if it's the Valve corporate culture, the modern gaming industry, both, or something else that killed off this franchise, but it is disappointing. There is a small chance that this source is truly unverified and everything in this article is false, but at this point I have my doubts. It's been too long, and Valve has changed too much.

And honestly? With how FPS games are these days, this is probably for the best. I can't imagine a world where I wouldn't be disappointed by Half-Life 3 at this point.

Gargoyletrooster89RyanMM

Comments

  • GnomeWizarddGnomeWizardd Member 4 Life Akron, PA Icrontian

    I would without a doubt Drop 60 on HL3 and thats from someone who only play 1 game once in a while

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited 12 Jan

    Nothing about this article shocks me. The nostalgia window has closed. The teenagers who cared are all 30 now and have moved on.

    UPSLynx
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx Top EA shill, The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian

    I completely agree, @CB . I don't feel like I need a game at this point, but I truly care about the story and the characters. The setup at the end of Episode 2 was just... man. It kept me on the edge of my seat for YEARS.

    I'd read a script, or storyboards, or even just simple synopsis for the remainder of the games if it were available and I feel like that would satisfy me enough to finally put it all behind me.

  • RequitRequit That one guy Somewhere over there, I don't know Icrontian
    edited 12 Jan

    @UPSLynx said:

    I'd read a script, or storyboards, or even just simple synopsis for the remainder of the games if it were available and I feel like that would satisfy me enough to finally put it all behind me.

    From what the article said, though, there's nothing to actually release. If their development process is as wonky as the anonymous source said, then anyone at Valve could just say "yo Morgan Freemint is now totally into punching whales," start designing based on the idea, and that's that. I wouldn't be surprised if there's 30-someodd half baked HL3 story lines, each completely unrelated to or conflicting with each other.

  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Not as tall as Bobby Tallbeer. Twilight Sparkle is overrated. Meechigan Icrontian

    They're waiting for the 4th Cloverfield movie.

    primesuspectCliff_Forster
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian

    @AlexDeGruven said:
    They're waiting for the 4th Cloverfield movie.

    Exactly, Valve is looking to become a larger entertainment entity. No doubt in my Mind, Gordon Freeman will be back in some form or another.

  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian

    If the lady from the last Cloverfield movie drives into what's left of town, ends up at a warehouse, and meets a guy with a goatee named Gordon... I'm gonna shit.

    RyanMM
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian

    @Thrax said:
    If the lady from the last Cloverfield movie drives into what's left of town, ends up at a warehouse, and meets a guy with a goatee named Gordon... I'm gonna shit.

    Like the good or bad kinda shit?

  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
    edited 13 Jan

    @primesuspect said:
    Nothing about this article shocks me. The nostalgia window has closed. The teenagers who cared are all 30 now and have moved on.

    I don't buy this argument... the nostalgia window hadn't closed when the Star Wars prequels came out, despite even more time going by (nevermind the fact that they were shit movies). Deus Ex came out in 2000, but Human Revolution in 2011 still sold amazingly well. There's no reason a well executed HL3 (or HL2:E3) couldn't do extremely well.

    That said, I don't think we'll ever see it, and that makes me so very sad. I'd preorder for sure, and probably shell out for whatever deluxe edition Valve put out. Half Life is an itch I need to scratch so bad. I hate the trend toward online focused experiences that everyone is pushing. I want story driven, single player games like Half Life to keep being a thing. I play games to escape from the world around me, not give PFYs another way to invade my life and call me GHEY.

    LincCliff_ForsterThraxRyanMM
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited 14 Jan

    @Cliff_Forster said:

    @Thrax said:
    If the lady from the last Cloverfield movie drives into what's left of town, ends up at a warehouse, and meets a guy with a goatee named Gordon... I'm gonna shit.

    Like the good or bad kinda shit?

    Good because, you know, holy dicks it's Freeman. But bad because I just shat my knickers at the odeon.

    Cliff_Forster
  • RyanMMRyanMM Ferndale, MI Icrontian

    UPSLynx
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx Top EA shill, The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    edited 25 Aug

    @CB said:
    I wouldn't mind if they just released some documents that explain what the plans were for the story, and the unanswered questions about what was really going on... I mean it'd be even better if they made it into a book or a movie or something, but I wouldn't mind if they went the low effort route and were just like: "Well, we're not going to finish the story anyway, so here's access to some of our outlines and notes."

    Welp, it happened:

    http://www.marclaidlaw.com/epistle-3/

    Mark Laidlaw, ex-Valve employee who wrote the Half-Life games, has released the synopsis for Half-Life 3 (or Episode 3, however you want to take it). This is his interpretation of the story, and damnit, as lead writer on pretty much everything Half-Life, I would take it as truth. Presumably this is due to some sort of NDA coming to an end. It's been 10 years, afterall.

    Here's a pastebin if the site is still down (which honestly is a better read, as Marc replaced all names and places with similar sounding names as to avoid obvious connection, while this pastebin corrects all of those): https://pastebin.com/q9DMFa7c

    And here's a good recap of what just happened (without story details, but rather context on what just happened. Watch it.)

    Honestly I don't know how to feel. I haven't read it yet, I'm still kind of in shock. This whole thing is nuts. Like, it's just there. You can read the ending of the Half-Life episodes right now. It's a thing. Out of nowhere.

    A piece of me is really sad, because we'll never get this game. Maybe some day Valve actually releases a new Half-Life game to wrap the story, but it won't be the right story. It won't be Marc's story. This is the ending we should have had.

    What a crazy night.

  • UPSLynxUPSLynx Top EA shill, The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    edited 25 Aug

    Holy cow. look at this (spoilers if you haven't/don't want to read it):

    From the blog: "At this point we were briefly detained–not captured by the Combine, as we feared at first, but by minions of our former nemesis, the conniving and duplicitous Wallace Breen. Dr. Breen was not as we had last seen him–which is to say, he was not dead. At some point, the Combine had saved out an earlier version of his consciousness, and upon his physical demise, they had imprinted the back-up personality into a biological blank resembling an enormous grub. The Breen-grub, despite occupying a position of relative power in the Combine hierarchy, seemed nervous and frightened of me in particular."

    So we never saw Dr. Breen die in the end of Half-Life 2. And if you recall, Breen's voice actor Robert Culp passed away back in 2010. Having Breen be presented as a grub with no discernible features seems to be a good way to deal with Culp's death and the lack of a voice actor to play that character.

  • UPSLynxUPSLynx Top EA shill, The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian

    Wow. The connections between Half-Life and the Portal games is staggering. It's so wonderfully written, I can't believe they weren't able to translate this into a game. Go back and play Portal 1 and 2 after reading this. It'll blow your mind.

  • UPSLynxUPSLynx Top EA shill, The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian

    This is now the thread theme:

  • UPSLynxUPSLynx Top EA shill, The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    edited 25 Aug

    I am so frustrated that Valve wouldn't make this game. For years, Gabe Newell said they were working on it and that they knew the finale to the story and that it would be swift. All along, Marc's had it. His vision for the story is brilliant, captivating, and perfect. And it was ignored for a decade because the company made more money selling game keys and virtual hats. What a terrible way to bring to an end my favorite video game series of all time, one that's meant more to me than words can convey.

    The worst part about this is realizing you're reading the ending to Half-Life 2: Episode 3. The story is STILL on a cliffhanger, and even though some really serious and big moments happen, there are still many questions to be answered in what we must assume was supposed to be Half-Life 3. It's possible that Marc never got that far, and I'm certain now that we'll never really know how the story ends.

    I'm happy to have this piece of closure, to finally know SOMETHING, but man. This is not the ending I wanted. Not like this.

    trooster89
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx Top EA shill, The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian

    I feel like I want to cry after this. So many different feels.

    CBardichoke
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian

    It's been so long since I was invested in this story that it doesn't all make sense anymore, but I'm glad the ending is available for digestion now.

    GHoosdumMAGIC
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    I realize now after reading this that I feel the same way about it as I do about other past losses in my life: wow, that was a long time ago, and I'm having difficulty dredging up any sentimentality or feelings about it. Half Life is truly dead to me, because I just don't care about this story anymore and I can't find any anger or disappointment about the reality that it will never be made.

  • GnomeQueenGnomeQueen The Lulz Queen Mountain Dew Mouth Icrontian

    @UPSLynx I think I want to replay the games before reading this. Would you recommend playing HL2, reading this, and then replaying portal?

  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian

    Bad Robot is telling the rest of the story.

    AlexDeGruven
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx Top EA shill, The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian

    This is pretty bonkers. Looks like Marc was building lore right out in the open years ago.

    https://twitter.com/breengrub

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