I was browsing pop-culture standout, Rolling Stone and the top article on their ‘Feature Wall’ was a piece about Half-Life 3, the MIA continuation of Valve’s premier series. You know the legend of Half-Life 3 is serious when a site like Rolling Stone takes a look.
[Editor’s note – I’m using this as a chance to get back into the writing groove after being distracted by Wales’ adventures in Euro 2016, there’s no great insight ahead]
What really caught my eye is that Rolling Stone took a few moments to talk to my friend and current director of ValveTime.net, Glenn Lawrence. In the article, Glenn makes some comments which certainly ring true in my ears:
“There weren’t many FPS games that were as story-driven, and done as well as Valve did them. Who walks away from a Half-Life game thinking they weren’t totally satisfied? No one.
This is a huge, huge game, and it’s very bizarre to leave it. If they had come out with a statement, or said we’re working on other projects…I think that’s why people are upset. It’s such an important game to people.”
Indeed, the lack of information about Half-Life 3 or as some still think, Episode 3 is something which still grates. I was late to the party with Half-Life, and only gave it a whirl after randomly picking up the old Ultimate PC magazine and noticing the game on the cover of the demo disc (remember them?). After plucking up the courage to try the demo, I was immediately engrossed and soon bought the full game.
Unfortunately, my first trip to Black Mesa ground to a halt during Blast Pit, through poor management of quicksave and autosave functions, I found myself stuck outside the rocket test silo after accidentally destroying one of the bridges. I later lent my game disc to a friend, then tried to crack the game again. Misfortune stuck again on the lift to the surface in We’ve Got Hostiles – without the CD, the game would kill me every time I neared the top of the lift shaft.
Ultimately, I would get around to finishing the game when it was released on the PlayStation 2! Heresy as it is for any die-hard Half-Life fan, that was the first time I defeated Nihilanth, and I’m sure the boss fight was easier on console than PC. As my knowledge of PC gaming grew (thanks PC Gamer!) I eagerly awaited the arrival of Half-Life 2 and filled in my knowledge of the lore (now deemed non-cannon I believe) by completing Opposing Force and Blue Shift.
I put up with the awful, clunk and fairly horrible early days of Steam to play Half-Life 2 on release day, and again absolutely loved it. My thirst for more information about this series of games led me to joining the old halflife2.net forums (now the ValveTime.net forums) in May 2005 after much lurking. I even joined the team as a staff writer for a time (my first steps towards being involved in the creation of The Reticule) and rapidly worked my way through Episode 1 and 2 and joined the efforts to pick Portal clean of Half-Life references.
As Valve moved towards focusing on Team Fortress 2, CS:GO and, ultimately, DOTA2, I slipped away from the forums and my passion for all things Half-Life ebbed away. But still, I hold out hope that one day we will hear more from Valve, either for good or bad, about Half-Life 3.
One day, I am sure, the G-Man will return.