Half-Life 3 is a title that gets people excited. Rumors are started all the time about an official reveal from Valve, yet the people who get too invested in those rumors are always disappointed. (We took a look at a few of the more recent rumors in a piece called "Do You Believe in Half-Life 3?") By now, fans have some pretty serious expectations, and in this feature we look at the things we'd personally like to see in Half-Life 3.
A New Game Engine
Half-Life has become Valve's preferred series for showing off its newest tech. The original Half-Life was built in the GoldSrc engine, which was actually just a modified version of the Quake engine. Valve released some modding tools for Half-Life, and a fervent modding community sprung up around the game. Several years later, Half-Life 2 was released, revealing the brand new Source engine. One again, modding tools were handed out by Valve and a massive community embraced them. Source may have been an incredible engine back in 2004 when Half-Life 2 launched, but now it's showing its age. Half-Life 3 needs to bring us the next major step in Valve's evolution, introducing us to a brand new powerhouse of a game engine.
The Next Piece of the Story
Less tech-savvy fans may not get excited about a new game engine, but they are undoubtedly looking forward to the continuation of the Half-Life story. Half-Life 2: Episode Two gave us an incredibly bewildering set of information that made us eager to keep playing, then ended with one of the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) cliffhangers in all of gaming. We need to see how this thing plays out, because it's driving us mad.
The Portal Connection
Not long before Episode Two's infamous cliffhanger, we were introduced to the thread that connects Half-Life and Portal. Half-Life's Black Mesa and Portal's Aperture Science are two companies competing for government grants, both of which have harnessed various forms of portal technology. While Portal's tech stays mostly in the lab, Black Mesa's links mankind to another dimension and unleashes a catastrophe known as a "Resonance Cascade." Now, the discovery of an Aperture ship called the Borealis has startling implications for the future of Gordon Freeman and friends. What are those implications? Well, we aren't exactly certain, but it has something to do with a weapon of some sort. We're all waiting eagerly to find out more about this in Half-Life 3.
Perhaps Freeman's brand of ever-silent protagonist has become a bit clichéd by now, but Half-Life's supporting cast has always been nothing short of incredible. Alyx Vance, in particular, has been referenced countless times as the epitome of a strong female character done right. She's smart, witty, and has an interesting personality, all without being slowed down by an impossible anatomy. On the flipside of this is Wallace Breen, Half-Life 2's major antagonist. Breen delivered several passionate and extremely long-winded monologues during the game, revealing how skilled he was in the art of manipulation and making him an unforgettable villain. Half-Life 3 needs characters like Alyx and Breen to keep us immersed in its world.
Half-Life's story has always been a single-player affair, with players in the shoes of Gordon Freeman. However, Valve has been toying with the whole co-op thing quite a bit as of late, even adding a very successful co-op mode to Portal 2. Much of Episodes One and Two had Freeman working alongside Alyx, and this dynamic would only need to be tweaked ever so slightly in order to make for a great two-player experience.
Geoff Keighley, the man who wrote "The Final Hours of Portal 2" made this claim: "Portal 2 will probably be Valve's last game with an isolated single-player experience." Of course, Valve's Gabe Newell went on to clarify this statement, saying, "It's not about giving up on single-player at all. It's saying we actually think there are a bunch of features and capabilities that we need to add into our single-player games to recognize the socially connected gamer." This got many people speculating that the next Half-Life would include some sort of online co-op. Either way, looking at what they were able to do with the Portal series, we are confident that Half-Life 3's co-op would be in good hands.
ADS (Aim Down Sight)
Half-Life 2 is an old game, and as such, it has a fairly archaic control scheme. In the modern era, we've come to expect first-person shooters to allow players to aim down the sights of their guns. If Half-Life 3 leaves this out, it will feel more like a relic of an older era in gaming than the brand new forward-thinking game it deserves to be.
An Official Announcement
At this point, the things fan want the most is some confirmation that the game actually exists. A release date, or even a general launch window, would be good too. Come on, Valve, don't just leave us hanging here.
Editor / News Director
Date: January 13, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*