When will Valve release the “next” Half Life?

Everybody knows the story behind the “next” Half Life. Millions of fans are begging Valve to release the next installment in the Half Life series , but Valve keeps its mouth shut. The game has a gigantic fanbase, so why not give fans what they want? When will Valve release the “next” Half Life?  But before I try to answer the question, lets see the Odyssey of the “next” Half Life game back when the first rumours started:

2006 – 2007

The first news or rumors (call them whatever you want) about Episode 3 emerged back in May 2006, way before Episode 2 was officially released, where it was stated that Episode 3 would release Christmas 2007, but as we all know there was no new game.

Combine Advisors around the Borealis in the first Episode Three concept art image, released in 2007.

In October 2007, Episode Two is released. At the end of the game, Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance are about to leave to Arctic locations, in search of Judith Mossman and the newly recovered Borealis, the Aperture Science icebreaker, suggesting this is what the sequel to Episode Two will be about. Then in November of that same year the first concept art for Episode Three is released by GamesRadar and later was said that Episode 3 would be the end of the Half Life 2 story arch. 2007 passed and… nothing!


Gordon Freeman face to face with an Advisor in the second Episode Three concept art image, created and released in 2008.

In April 2008 source code for three entities are released in the Source SDK in a folder named “Episode3”, but they were removed shortly after by Valve. These showed a new type of enemy, a new enemy weapon and a new weapon for Gordon. Then in July some new concept art from Episode 3 was released again by GamesRadar, but still no announcement.

Leaked Episode Three concept art from mid 2008

During an interview Valve marketing director Doug Lombardi states that news or an announcement of Episode Three might be revealed near the end of the year. Still nothing! In December a video footage of what is presented as an Alpha version of Episode Three is released. It is later revealed to be a fan-made set of maps. 2008 passed and… nothing !


While the community was waiting for an announcement for Episode 3, Valve announced Left 4 Dead 2. Later a petition is created from a user in Steam in which was requested for Valve to release news about the development of Episode 3, but still nothing! In August in an interview, Gabe Newell shared some information about the inclusion of an unidentified deaf character in a future game set in the Half-Life and Portal universe and how he fits in the overall story ( to find more click here). Later that month Gabe stated that Valve is experimenting many techniques on their games, including Episode Three. He adds that he has currently nothing to say about the game, and that the community will be notified as soon as they have material they are ready to share. 2009 passed and… nothing!


List of the hint nodes found in the Alien Swarm SDK.

In a March interview, Newell hints that Valve intends to return the Half-Life franchise to its psychological horror roots by exploiting the fans’ deepest fears, which he sums up as “the death of their children” and “the fading of their own abilities”. The same month Portal ARG was launched and fans rejoiced as they thought it was for Episode 3, but as we all know it really was for Portal 2. During an interview in April, Gabe stated that Gordon Freeman will go unchanged in the next Half-Life game – he wants him to “largely remain an arm and a crowbar”, but no news when the next game is going to release! 2010 passed and… nothing!


The Final Hours of Portal 2 cover

When asked about the future of the Half-Life series in a March interview, Doug Lombardi stated that they are not done with Gordon Freeman’s adventures. One month later, in April, Portal 2 was released and with it The Final Hours of Portal 2 is released too. In it, author Geoff Keighley states that Portal 2 is probably Valve’s last game with an isolated single-player experience, but in a May interview Gabe explained what Geoff meant with that statement. Throughout the year many files,which were tagged with “EP3”, leaked but nothing was confirmed by Valve. Gabe was asked many times about a new game and everytime his reply was “I got nothing for you”. December 2011 sees several rumors about a Half-Life ARG, and that Gabe Newell has given the go-ahead to those in the know to drop Half-Life hints, but nothing new was dropped.

Then a T-shirt with what appeared to be a Half Life 3 logo was seen in public and when the wearer (a Valve dev) was asked if he knew anything about Half-Life 3, he appeared to know nothing.

The Half-Life 3 T-shirt as photographed on December 1, 2011.

This was the moment when things got interesting. Why use Half Life 3 now instead of what has been used for years, Episode 3? Is Valve going to skip Episode 3 and make a totally new game with a new story arch? During the Steam Holiday Sale, Valve drops several Half-Life references in their sale artwork. In the comic Randolph the Red-Nosed Turret released December 22, 3 socks are hung on the mantelpiece, for Gordon,Alyx and Dog. Above is the landscape seen by Chell when she reaches the outside at the end of Portal 2, with 3 clouds in the sky. Furthermore, in the image placed at the end of the slideshow of day 5 of the Holiday Sale showing the Steam mascots riding with Santa Claus in his sleigh, one of the mascots is holding a golden Lambda necklace with 3 specks of light on it, among other things. This further fed rumors and speculation among the fanbase about imminent news about a new Half-Life game. 2011 passed and… nothing!


On January 13, Marc Laidlaw confirms the rumor that a fourth and canceled Half-Life 2 Episode, Return to Ravenholm, was developed by Arkane Studios from 2006 to 2009. Came June and a handful of concept art is leaked. While Valve has not commented on this, several forum moderators confirmed the art! Then came the infamous PDF file. Just before Gamescom 12 started, a PDF file was leaked showing that Half Life 3 was among the games to be shown/revealed during the show. Valve confirmed its falseness with stating “We’re not showing any games in Cologne this year” and as we all saw, nothing was announced from Valve.

PDF file listing games from GamesCom 2012

And for last when Spike TV interviewed Gabe Newell about Counter Strike: Global Offensive and he was asked about Half-Life 3, He replied “I hate sharks”. What?!?! We may never know. This was the Oddysey of the “next” Half Life game in a really short form. If you want to see the full version click here.

Now back the question I made in the beginning: When will Valve release the “next” Half Life? Like a week ago a job listing on Valve’s site confirmd that the company will begin developing hardware. A listing for an industrial designer says:

Valve is traditionally a software company. Open platforms like the PC and Mac are important to us, as they enable us and our partners to have a robust and direct relationship with customers. We’re frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space though, so we’re jumping in.

Steam Box console fan concept

Speculation about Valve’s entry into the hardware market has been flying since March, when rumors suggested Valve was working on a “Steam Box” console. Valve later debunked the rumors, commenting that the world is “a long way from Valve shipping out any sort of hardware.” So what is this job listing for? A new mouse? A new keyboard? Or is it Motion Controls?

I think that they are developing a new kind of motion controls for the PC and Mac. I don’t know if you guys remember this, but back in May of this year Leap Motion unveiled its new gesture control technology and they claimed that it is 200 times more accurate than existing tech like Kinect, Move or Wii.

Leap Motion peripheral

But the most interesting think about it was that in the announcement advert, among the cool things that Leap could do, it also shows some Half Life gameplay at 0:39 being played using hand gestures. Another interesting thing is that the  statement that Valve used in their job listing “Even basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years. There’s a real void in the marketplace, and opportunities to create compelling user experiences are being overlooked” is kind of the same that the creators used to describe Leap when they first unveiled it. Coincidences? Maybe… maybe not!

So here’s what I think: I think that Valve is somehow messing around with the Leap technology, which will be coming out February 2013. Maybe they are partnering up, maybe Valve is creating it’s own “Leap” device or something like a Augmented Reality Peripheral, we still don’t know that. Maybe that’s why Valve is not revealing Half Life 3. I think that they want to use this new tech to play the next Half Life game (which sounds awesome!)  and when this peripheral is released, HL3 will be part of the package to help it kickstart and boost the sales. This is what I think will happen and nothing is confirmed, but all the rumours and statements point to this “future”. What do you guys think?


Months have passed and we still haven’t heard anything from Valve regarding Half-Life 3. Next-Gen is coming this fall and if Valve doesn’t come out and say “Hey the PS4 is looking amazing, great games and all of that, and yeah Half Life 3 will be a timed exclusive for it.” BAM and the people go crazy! We know that Sony and Valve have good relationship with the Portal 2 Steam-PS3 thing and I think we can at least expect something during this Gamescom 2013 that is only a few weeks away. Before E3 of this year, there was a leaked document containing all of the games that would be shown there and Half Life 3 was among them, but as we all saw, NOTHING. Also now there are rumors that Half Life 3 or Episode 3 is in development and that Valve is somewhat changing the formula from a linear story line to a open-world Skyrim-like and we know that they are developing the Source 2 engine. How do I know that? Well take a look at TitanFall, that game uses Source as it’s engine and I don’t think that the current one can make things look that good (look at CS:GO). So yeah Half Life 3 is coming, I strongly believe it that we will see a tease or something during this Gamescom or maybe even at PAX later. Well as the Playstation motto says “Greatness Awaits” and I hope that Half Life 3 will be part of this greatness!

Prepare for unexpected results…

So what do you think, when will we see Half Life 3?

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