Friday, May 23, 2014

By Jamaal Ryan

As IGN reported, on the goRGNtv Twitch podcast, Counter Strike creator Minh Le discussed what he might have seen at Valve that looked like Half-Life 3:

“I guess I could say that I did see something that looked kinda like in the Half-Life universe. And I mean it wouldn't surprise anyone if I said they're doing it, they're working on it, yeah. So to go on a limb I'd say I did see some concept art for Half-Life 3."

I know Half-Life 3 is a sensitive topic for gamers, and any hint, rumor or speculation on the fabled sequel sets fans ablaze and generating “Could this be it?” states of mind. But reviewing the quote, there’s a level of ambiguity and uncertainty that just isn’t satisfying or concrete enough to begin looking forward to seeing Gordon and Alyx again. “Something that looked kinda like in the Hale-Life universe… So to go off on a limb…,” I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I don’t buy it, but coming from a former Valve employee, and discussing a company in which Steam and DOTA 2 generate massive chunks of their revenue, I can’t count on Half Life 3 officially appearing in the near future; my gut tells me that it’s being kicked around Valve as nothing more than a passion project.

But what happens if Half-Life 3 is released? Will it live up to expectations? The shooter genre has matured and diversified itself significantly since Episode 2. Even in the over-saturated genre, there are interesting experimental titles such as Far Cry 3, Bioshock: Infinite, Metro, Deus Ex HR (depending on your playstyle), Hard Reset, Crysis 2, RAGE, The Darkness 2, and Singularity. It’ll unlikely stand out as well as it did way back in 2007. Not to mention the 6+ year wait and undulating anticipation sets nigh unreasonable expectations for Half-Life 3. But to be fair, Episode 2 reviewed better than almost all of the above listed games, and few have managed to replicate its narrative style, world building, and that final showdown before the cliff hanger ending.

Nonetheless, I cannot count on Half-Life 3. Valve has adopted other priorities that have proven the company wide success. The simple fact that up to 6 ½ years later, we still haven’t seen a follow up to the events that closed Episode 2 is one of the best examples that Valve, as well as every other game company, is in the business of making money as a priority. Everything and everyone else, including us Half-Life fans, are secondary. 

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