We’ll probably never see a new Half-Life sequel

5 min read


Half-Life – the game about a crowbar-wielding, bespectacled, goatee-sporting mute guy – set Valve on its path to become one of the biggest gaming software companies on the planet. Its sequel and their episodic follow ups have become some of gaming most revered properties. For better or worse, Valve now holds the keys to PC gaming. Valve’s Steam platform is largely considered the de-facto PC video game distribution service.

In these days of hats, gun and knife skins and trading cards, it’s easy to forget that Valve actually make games. If there’s one game that would very quickly help people remember that fact, it would be Half-Life 3. For a long time, I’ve argued that we’ll never see it happen. Valve’s become so focused on their service (and their in-game monetisation) that they don’t seem especially concerned with making new games. According to an alleged insider at Valve, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see Half-Life 3.

In a lengthy and fascinating interview at Game Informer, an apparent insider has spilled the beans of Half Life 3. Or rather, on the fact that Half-Life 3 doesn’t, and likely will never exist. It’s worth pointing out that Game Informer themselves say this information is verified, but they consider their source trustworthy. Take it, then, with a boulder of salt.

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According to the insider though, “there is no such thing as Half-Life 3”.

“Valve has never announced a Half-Life 3,” the source continues. “The closest they’ve come is after Half-Life 2, they said there would be three episodes. We only got two of those. That is arguably an unfulfilled promise. Anything else that we might think about as a full game or sequel has never been promised.”

Apparently the game did reach the conceptualisation stage, but with Valve’s corporate culture, it’s never really progressed far beyond ideas. People would start projects that they hoped would become the next Half-Life, with a handful of people working on them. Sometimes they’d become larger projects with bigger teams of a few dozen, but they’d ultimately go nowhere.

There was meant to be a third episode of Half Life 2, but that, as we know, didn’t happen.

“There’s something with that third episode that isn’t sitting right with Gabe and other people at Valve. Ultimately it just starves to death. The people that tried to give it life find themselves better off working on other projects.”

The insider suggests that Half-Life 2: Episode 3 will never happen – and it’s unlikely that Half-Life 3 will happen either.

“I don’t think there will be any more. But at any given moment, they make decisions as they come. If some people within Valve make something that they collectively feel is exciting, then it will happen. That’s going to be hard for that to happen now. Every time a Half-Life project gets some gravity and then collapses, it becomes harder for the next one to start up. Because the business changes so much, and there are so many other things to do, it just gets harder and harder. It’s one of those things they’ll always have to accept. People are going to harass them for more Half-Life. The idea of delivering a third episode of Half-Life 2, that’s dead. There’s no universe where that will happen. I think there is a universe where a standalone thing could come together to fill in that hole, but that’s tough.”

I think it’s really time to give up on the idea of a Half-Life sequel. Perhaps we’ll see it one day in the future, as a Virtual Reality game, or something exclusive to Steam Machines – but I doubt it. There’s too much at stake, and with expectations where they are, anything less than perfect would be deemed a failure – tarnishing the entire series’ legacy.

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Last Updated: January 12, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Magoo

    I’ve read some interesting and informative takes on the half-life series. It makes a lot of sense that they will not just pop up one day and say “Half-Life 3.” The first was a breakthrough in graphics and physics, the second a breakthrough in story telling. The third a breakthrough in what? VR? Please. No matter how good it is, it won’t be good. It’s too late to go back.

    • Hammersteyn

      But then we will never know how the story ends for…. what’s his name… crowbar guy….. it’s been so long I forgot his name.

      • PurplePariah

        Let me help.

        When you break up, you are a: ???

        • Ritch Man?

        • Hammersteyn


        • Lu

          Mess of viscera and gore?

      • Magoo

        Everyone dies!

    • Don’t be so hasty to rule out VR. It truly is a massive breakthrough in gaming. The only stumbling block is the stupidly massive price and availibility. Not a comment on HL3. Just an observatioon from someone who really enjoys his VR indie titles more than any other standard game he bought last year.

      • Magoo

        Fair enough, but I think it will have to really stand out as a breakthrough in VR. Which I don’t think Valve has the capacity anymore to do. I could always be wrong!

        • I used to think that but then I got my hands on The Lab. Simple stupid VR demo games … yet no other VR demo comes close with 1 exception. ILM’s Star Wars technical demo.

  • I still feel it is a disservice that the never made epsiode 3 and left 2 in a state that is beyond hell. But what can you do.

    • Hammersteyn

      Nothing, especially with the Master Race praising his nuts every time there’s a sale

    • HvR

      Actually borders to me on just plain skelm.

      Whole damn point of episodic play is that you buy them with the idea that there will be a fix set with a complete story.

      • Yep … I generally liken what they did to the HL franchise as what GlaDos does to your character in the Portal franchise.

      • Magoo

        Good point. I would not spend R60 on 2/3s of a movie but gladly spend R90 on a full movie.

  • At this point someone just needs to mod in a better non cliff hanger ending onto episode 2.

    Hell slap on the Mass Effect 3 ending. Even that is better than what we were left with.

    • konfab

      Eli gets brain drained.
      Dog tries to attack combine advisors and gets thrown against the wall.
      Alyx gets brain drained.
      As you are about to get brain drained, Gman comes along and puts you into stasis.

      That would end it properly.

  • Hammersteyn

    Called it a long, long time ago. It’s gonna have to be an exclusive for the Steam Machines. As for the third episode possibly tarnishing the rest of the series? It could never do that. We had a lot of Rocky movies but people still love the series despite some sequels being inferior to the first three. I think most people just wished Gabe would say yay or nay.

    • This. He is keeping us hanging. Put us out of our misery.

    • Magoo

      An exclusive for Steam machines? I don’t think EA are even that cruel!

      • Hammersteyn

        Gabe might be

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    They’d be better off skipping it & coming up with something new… should they ever make a game again.

  • Captain JJ

    People seriously need to let go.
    Yes, Half Life 1 and 2 (and the episodes) were brilliant. But let it die in peace now. Rather live with the memory of what it was than see it turn into something that could ruin the franchise.

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