Connect with us


The Game that Never Was: ‘Half Life 3’ Story Revealed



Today we finally lay to rest one of the longest running jokes/rumours in gaming. Today, for the first time in well over a decade, thanks to what appears to be the story synopsis of Half Life 2: Episode 3 from former Valve writer Marc Laidlaw, we can finally say it.

Half Life 3 is confirmed.

Half Life 3 is likely dead.

Leaked concept art of the Borealis

The plot synopsis is a little weird to read, mostly because everyone’s names have been changed and a good deal of the characters gender-swapped, likely to allow Laidlaw to post this without breaking any NDAs hey may have signed. Here’s the translated version (WARNING, Half Life 2 spoilers ahead):

Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance would’ve started the game in an aircraft that’s downed by a blizzard while looking for the Borealis, the research vessel that Dr. Mossman is hiding out on. They would’ve found themselves in a Combine fortress that housed the Borealis in a dimensional prison of sorts. After a time Gordon and Alyx are captured by the Combine and Wallace Breen, who survived the collapse of the citadel in Half Life 2, albeit as a giant slug. The Breen-slug admits that it’s also a prisoner of the Combine, and begs Alyx and Gordon for death, which Alyx refuses before escaping.

Finally Gordon and Alyx would discover where Mossman was being held prisoner, with tensions between Alyx and Mossman understandably high. The three battle the Combine to break the Borealis out of its dimensional prison by gaining control of its power room. Inside they discover that the original crew had managed to build a time control device that stretched the vessel over all of existence at once. This device would allow whoever controls the ship to travel anywhere in space and time, including the Combine’s staging grounds for their eventual invasion of Earth. Mossman decides to try and give the ship to the Resistance to offer them a way to win the war, while Alyx swears to destroy the ship forever instead of risk anyone using it. Alyx shoots Mossman, and decides to turn the Borealis into a time-traveling nuclear weapon aimed at the heart of the Combine.

Soon the G-Man shows up and collects Alyx, who disappears in a bright flash leaving Gordon alone on his ship of death. The Borealis breaks into the heart of the Combine, only for Gordon to realize it wouldn’t have any effect whatsoever before he is saved by Vortigaunts at the last second. Gordon awakens on a shore somewhere, some time far enough in the future that neither the Resistance nor the Combine seem to exist anymore, ending the series for good.

Leaked concept art of Alyx.

That’s a rough version of the story, but fairly close to Laidlaw’s outline. All the familiar elements of the series are there, from the extreme use of surreal science-fiction, to fights with alien forces and occasional bits of character interaction and puzzle solving. It’s not that hard to close your eyes and actually imagine all of this, especially for long time fans of the series familiar with games in and out.

The release of this synopsis, even if Laidlaw claims it was written as a fan-piece, is just the latest entry in the ever growing pile of evidence that indicates Half Life 3 is likely never going to happen. Gabe Newell said in an interview that Half Life 3 isn’t planned for anytime soon unless Valve staff do it in their off time. Aside from Laidlaw, the two other writers of the series Eric Wolpaw and Chet Faliszek have both departed from Valve to seek other opportunities, and Valve haven’t posted any listings for replacement writers anywhere. Most concerning of all is that Valve haven’t released a story-based game since 2011’s Portal 2 and have said multiple times they don’t see a future in single-player experience.

For long suffering fans of the series this should be the final nail in the coffin, proof positive that there will never be a Half Life 3. The series’ influence on the industry is still going strong, sure, with games like the Metro series, Alien: Isolation, and Prey all taking notes from Valve’s magnum opuses, but it’s beyond time that we lay the series to rest for good. Half Life was a great couple of games, with some truly memorable moments, but now that’s all it’ll ever be, and at this point that’s all it should ever be. Valve have made themselves clear, and its high time we accept this and move on.

Or there’s always what I consider the true ending.

Andrew Vandersteen has been watching movies and playing games since before he could do basic math, and it shows. But what he lacks in being good at things, he makes up for with opinions on everything nerd culture. A self described and self medicated audiophile and lover of anything and everything really, really terrible, he's on a constant quest to find the worst things humanity has ever published. He's seen every episode of The Legend of Zelda, twice, and thinks the Super Mario Movie was a war crime. When he's not playing games or writing about them, he's messing around with audio or fixing computers. Perpetually one paycheck short of breaking even, and always angry about something.