Half-Life 3 Story Leaked By Lead Writer; Confirmed As Dead?

At this point, every gamer on the face of the earth is tired of the fake “Half-Life 3 CONFIRMED!” pranks and memes. It’s been 10 years since Half-Life 2: Episode Two gave us balls bluer than the Arctic waters it promised in the follow up. Since then, there’s been plenty of shaky screenshots of monitors left unattended, nebulous tweets, and cryptic design docs to keep us waiting for the faint hope that one day the savior would return and lead us to the promised land of—at the very least—an Episode Three.

As the years went on, hope has died. So much time has passed that even the comedy of the meme has mostly expired. So of course when I logged into Reddit this morning and saw yet another Half-Life 3 post, I gave it a pass. It wasn’t until the post started rising through the ranks to the hundreds of thousands of votes mark that I decided to give it a view.

Lo and behold, it seems that after a decade of false starts, we finally have some concrete evidence as to the fate of Half-Life 3… kind of. Written in the voice of Gordon Freeman by series writer Marc Laidlaw, the post describes the proposed story for a previous incarnation of the next step in the Half-Life franchise. Titled “Epistle 3,” the short length and relation to Episode Two makes it much more likely that this is actually not the story for Half-Life 3, but the equally long awaited Episode Three. Check out the full text in his GitHub post.

In it, Laidlaw as Freeman describes an adventure upon a time traveling, reality bending boat known as the Borealis. Since the full text is right above you I won’t bother with a full recap. As a fan of the series, I could almost see it all as I read through. The Half-Life franchise has always pushed the borders of what we expect from shooters, and this time traveling adventure seems par for the course.

Of course, this wouldn’t be Half-Life if it didn’t end on a sad note (and no, I’m not talking about beloved characters getting their brains sucked out). The final paragraph is cryptic, but very loaded:

And here we are. I spoke of my return to this shore. It has been a circuitous path to lands I once knew, and surprising to see how much the terrain has changed. Enough time has passed that few remember me, or what I was saying when last I spoke, or what precisely we hoped to accomplish. At this point, the resistance will have failed or succeeded, no thanks to me. Old friends have been silenced, or fallen by the wayside. I no longer know or recognize most members of the research team, though I believe the spirit of rebellion still persists. I expect you know better than I the appropriate course of action, and I leave you to it. Expect no further correspondence from me regarding these matters; this is my final episode.

As to what this actually means is unclear. It’s true that Laidlaw has since left Valve, so perhaps he is just speaking through the character as to his own departure from the series. Or maybe this just means that the long awaited Episode 3 is being scrapped. Perhaps Valve really is working on Half-Life 3, but this time with a new protagonist. At this point, rumors of the work environment and the numerous failed incarnations of Half-Life 3  are as abundant as the fans that eagerly await the conclusion of their beloved series. It would be sad if the story of Half-Life ended as that: a series of rumors and dreams on internet message boards.

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Ted Hentschke

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