Over the years, Half-Life 3 has become the stuff of gaming legend. A sequel that fans hoped would replace the long-delayed Half-Life 2: Episode 3 as the next installment in the classic sci-fi series has yet to be announced in any official capacity by Valve. In fact, almost ten years since the release of Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and no clear plan for continuing the story of Gordon Freeman, the series is destined to end on a cliffhanger.
A new report from Game Informer confirms that Valve has no plans to release another Half-Life game, and that attempts to continue the series over the years have all failed. It should be noted that Game Informer spoke to an anonymous source close to Valve and that the outlet was unable to verify the source’s claims with another Valve employee. Please take these next bits with a grain of salt…
The source reveals that there have been multiple attempts to create the next Half-Life game over the years, but that none have bore any fruit:
“Over the years, you’ve probably had many dozens of people within the studio as early as probably 2005 working on things that they would imagine from themselves as Half-Life 3 or Half-Life: Episode 3.”
The source also describes how Valve works creatively, explaining that employees have the freedom to start projects of their own volition and may even team up to collaborate on something, but that it doesn’t necessarily mean something will end up getting made.
In terms of the people who have worked on a Half-Life sequel over the years, there have been groups as big as 40 people working on a potential project before being scrapped at different stages. What’s clear, according to the source, is that no project has ever really come close to becoming the next Half-Life game.
“I’ve heard that some teams have had two to three people working on it, and they eventually ran into a wall, and some teams may have gotten up to 30 or 40 people before it was scrapped. [It’s unclear which project this refers to, or if it’s both].”
These projects have taken many different shapes, according to Game Informer’s source, including a Half-Life RTS.
“Some are all over the place,” the source explains, “From one end of the spectrum being what you would expect – a single-player narrative-focused game – to completely different entertainment ideas that are as wild as they are weird. They were thinking about using the Half-Life characters as a brand for entirely different purposes. Some were bizarre, like turning Half-Life into an RTS, or a live-action, choice-driven game.”
The source explains that people ultimately move on to work on other projects, whether it be another game or on hardware or the Steam platform:
“There’s something with that third episode that isn’t sitting right with [Valve president Gabe Newell] and other people at Valve. Ultimately it just starves to death. The people that tried to give it life find themselves better off working on other projects. What you have left is nothing going on with Half-Life.”
The bottom line is that a new Half-Life game will probably never happen. The sense you get from GI’s report is that the company has simply moved on in a different direction. The source does suggest that maybe if Valve were to contemplate making a new standalone game as a Steam OS exclusive in order to sell more Steam Machines, a new project could get off the ground:
“I don’t think there will be any more,” the source says. “Every time a Half-Life project gets some gravity and then collapses, it becomes harder for the next one to start up. […] The idea of delivering a third episode of Half-Life 2, that’s dead. There’s no universe where that will happen. I think there is a universe where a standalone thing could come together to fill in that hole, but that’s tough.”
Ten years later, if you’re still waiting on a new Half-Life game, perhaps now’s the time to finally let go.