Former Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw wants you to know that at one point he did intend to write another Half-Life game that would have allowed him to gracefully step away from the series.
“I had ideas for Episode 3,” said Laidlaw in an interview with Arcade Attack. “They were all supposed to take the series to a point where I could step away from it and leave it to the next generation. I had hoped for a reset between HL2 and HL3 that was as dramatic as the shift between HL1 and HL2. I honestly don’t know if anyone else shared this goal, but it seemed important to me to give ultimate freedom to whoever inherited the series, with my own personal set of loose ends tied up to my satisfaction.”
Laidlaw’s talk about the series’ loose ends will certainly strike a chord with a legion of Half-Life fans who remember Episode 2‘s frustrating cliffhanger that has yet to be formally resolved. However, Laidlaw warns those fans to not think of his never-realized ideas for Episode 3 as some kind of definitive end to the Gordon Freeman story.
“I never thought as far ahead as HL3, unless you were to say that HL3 and Episode 3 were the same thing,” said Laidlaw. “I will say that I expected every installment would end without resolution, forever and ever…”
According to Laidlaw, he still imagined that the next Half-Life game he worked on would have ended with “Gordon in an indeterminate space, on hold, waiting for the next game to begin” in an effort to retain the style of the series’ trademark “conclusions” and ultimately ensure that everything was in place for someone to develop Half-Life 3.
Laidlaw also states that he genuinely has no idea if Valve intends to work on Half-Life 3 or Episode 3 and that he has no intentions of returning to the company even if they do confirm they are developing more Half-Life games. Having said that, Laidlaw still remembers the Half-Life series as fondly as any fan does and credits the Valve design team with any notable legacy that the series retains.
“I helped bring a grab-bag of old storytelling tricks to the new game and level design tricks that the others were pulling out of nowhere,” said Laidlaw. “I was in awe of them…Right person, right place, right time, etc., etc. I owe a lot to luck.”