Half-Life 3, gaming’s greatest unicorn, can finally be with us — albeit in text form. Marc Laidlaw, the now-retired lead writer of the Half-Life series, has published what appears to be a summary of the plot of Half-Life 3or Half-Life 2: Episode 3entitled “Letter 3.“
letter 3 takes the form of a fictional letter addressed to “Dearest Playa” from a character named “Gertie Fremont.” It features a ship ‘Hyperborea’ and alien baddies called ‘Disparate’, which – when swapped out for original half-life names and places – makes the letter as close to a solution for the series as players are likely to get.
An edited version of the synopsis on Pastebin – which is currently the only place to read it given the unwashed mass of the internet that Laidlaw’s blog has deleted – has already replaced the names of places and it is ready to be read. The beginning of the synopsis reads:
I hope this letter reaches you under good conditions. I can already hear your complaint: “Gordon Freeman, we haven’t heard from you in ages!” Well, if you want to hear excuses, I’ve got plenty, the biggest of which is that I’ve been in other dimensions and all, unable to reach you in the usual way. This was the case until a year and a half ago when I experienced a critical change in my circumstances and was once again deposited on these shores.
In the time since then I have occasionally been able to think about how best to describe the intervening years, my years of silence. I first apologize for the wait, and having done so, hasten to finally explain (albeit briefly, quickly and in very little detail) events following those described in my previous game (hereinafter referred to as Episode 2).
Or letter 3 is a final draft of the plot or just Laidlaw’s idea of how it might read, we’ll probably never know. However, the writer said in one: tweet: “My website is down for now. I think fanfic is popular, even a gender-swapped snapshot of a dream I had years ago.”
With the likes of Duke Nukem: Forever have been released, and Beyond Good and Evil 2 underway, Half-Life 3 is now the oldest vaporware product in games. While Valve CEO Gabe Newell has called the game on and off for the past ten years, in recent years Valve has waived any mention of the game in favor of its efforts in esports games such as doTA 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, as well as virtual reality where three “full games” are promised. Valve’s most recently announced game is Artifacta doTA 2 card game.
Whether that means the world will or won’t? never to see Half-Life 3 remains to be seen. But Valve’s push on esports and continued work on the Steam platform in recent years, while undoubtedly a money guzzler, hasn’t left much room for the kind of story-driven experiences the company was once known for. Valve’s latest, the sublime one Portal 2was released in 2011.
Laidlaw’s letter 3 is the first piece to conclude the beloved series. It’s up to Valve to take care of the rest – and given it was half-life fans who helped turn Valve into the PC gaming powerhouse it is today, it’s about time the company stepped into the limelight.
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