It’s been a long time since we last saw an entry into the Half-Life series, 12 years now in fact. It feels like just yesterday that I went through try after try on my first completion of Episode 2. Those really were the good old days, and I remember just how excited I was to see the series finished in its third installment.
To all of us here, it should be pretty clear that the day never came. We’ve heard many “leaks” from Valve “employees”, and the infamous “when it’s ready” repeated response from Gabe Newell. Still, there’s been no finite proof that Half-Life 3 is or will ever be a thing and honestly, it should stay that way.
If you think about it, the game has had twelve years spent in development hell which is exceptionally long. In that time, players have had time to play through the previous entries and spectate what a final installment could look like. This image has inevitably blown up in people’s minds to very large proportions (including mine). These expectations would put a lot of pressure on the developers which no doubt does not help a game’s development. At this point, you might be asking “But other games in development hell have come out just fine years later?”. This is true, but none of those games have come close to the infamy that Half-Life has created. That isn’t even considering all the revived games that have inevitably become cash grabs.
On top of this, the Half-Life series has spawned a massive amount of innovation in the industry and continues to do so to this day. I watched a documentary by Noclip that described this better than I ever could. I would highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already. The point is that the existence of Half-Life and the lack of 3 has created many new experiences both related and unrelated to Half-Life.
These projects are still being developed to this day in fact such as Project Borealis and Boreal Alyph. These two are recreations of Half-Life 3 using Marc Laidlaw’s (lead writer on Half-Life) “fanfiction” titled Epistle 3. Neither of these would exist without the absence of Half-Life 3, and make the best of unfortunate circumstances. There’s many projects I could go into (such as the plentiful game jams), but we’d be here for ages talking about them. Without Half-Life 3, we’ll see these projects flourish and show what a passionate community can come together to create.
Despite all this, I wouldn’t be completely against the idea of Half-Life 3 releasing in the future. To see closure to such a beloved game series would be a treat no matter how it’s designed. With that in mind though, it’d be extremely difficult for developers to bring closure to a twelve year hiatus. On top of that, the community’s Half-Life 3 imaginings would come to an end which would be bitter sweet. For whatever reason that the game doesn’t exist, I’ll live calmly knowing the community it has created and the memories that have been shared thanks to it.
With that, I will leave you all with this short clip: