Whenever there's a major gaming event, rumors start emerging about a Half-Life 3 reveal. SPIKE TV hosted their annual Video Game Awards a couple weeks ago, and this was no exception; just before the VGAs, the Internet exploded with Half-Life 3 rumors.
Now, I can't blame the fans for buying into this time and time again. In fact, there was a part of me that hung onto the shred of hope that there would be something Half-Life related at the VGAs this year. This is simply one of the most anticipated video games of all time.
The thing about Half-Life 3 is that it's not just a greatly anticipated sequel like, say, Metal Gear Solid 5 or Gears of War 4 would be. No, this is something completely different. You see, we never got a real ending for Half-Life 2. Episode Two, the last expansion to the game, ended with a cliffhanger. And not only that, it threw a lot of incredibly exciting information at us. They even gave us insight into the whole Half-Life/Portal connection, explaining that Half-Life's Black Mesa and Portal's Aperture Science are two organizations competing for government grants. We learned that, in the Half-Life world, something important happened on an Aperture ship called the Borealis, and we were thrilled to get to find out more about this in Episode Three.
Then the project went silent. Valve has been very tight-lipped about Half-Life 2: Episode Three or Half-Life 3 (whichever title the new game will have) ever since 2007.
But they've been teasing fans nonetheless, especially lately. In fact, shortly before the VGAs, a Valve employee was spotted—and willingly photographed—wearing a Half-Life 3 t-shirt. This fired up the rumor mill about the release of this long-awaited sequel.
Shortly after, a voice actor went on record to say that work was being done on "Half-Life: Episode Three." However, this person is still anonymous (we do know it's someone from the U.S. though) and we can't say for certain whether there's any truth to this claim. Also, we would expect the next title to be "Half-Life 2: Episode Three" or simply "Half-Life 3," not "Half-Life: Episode Three." It's hard to trust anonymous sources who can't even say the correct name of the thing they're supposedly working on. Then again, it is possible that after so many years, Valve no longer saw a point in including the "2" in the title, and the game will simply be called "Half-Life: Episode 3."
Additionally, a couple emails supposedly went out from Valve CEO and co-founder Gabe Newell himself, telling some angry fans that there will be something revealed at E3, and it's indeed "something with a three in it." Of course, many are left pondering the legitimacy of the emails, especially considering the fact that they were responses to messages that were highly offensive and practically incoherent. I certainly wouldn't have responded to that load of gibberish, and it seems somewhat unlikely that Newell would either.
Then the VGAs came and went without a peep about Half-Life 3. Or so it seems. There was a video of Wheatley from Portal 2 shown during the Awards, which many fans claim has a secret message about Half-Life. Of course, the message was vague, to say the least, and most likely an instance of fans reading too much into things. In fact, Valve claims there is no hidden message in the Wheatley video.
But there was and interesting tweet from the Twitter account of Doug Rattmann, a character from Portal. The message: "Min: 60 days, Max: Unknown." Many have taken this as a clue that there will be a Half-Life 3 announcement in 60 days. The post showed up on December 12, so this would put an announcement on February 11. Of course, Valve claims the Twitter account is fake. Even if this was a legitimate account, though, I would suspect Rattmann to post information related to Portal rather than Half-Life. It's funny that no one read this as "More Portal 2 DLC announced in 60 days," as that would have been far more likely. I mean, if we saw a tweet from Gordon Freeman that told us something was coming in 60 days, that would be a bit easier to tie to Half-Life.
Then, just this week, a website called Black Aperture emerged with nothing but a Half-Life 3 symbol, some copyright text, and a link to the site for the Orange Box, the game collection that includes Half-Life 2: Episode Two and Portal. Obviously the site's title is a reference to both Black Mesa of Half-Life and Aperture Science of the Portal games. Yet many fans are skeptical, as the IP address doesn't line up with Valve's current IP addresses, and, in fact, doesn't even seem to even have originated in the U.S. Still, the image on the site is fairly convincing, certainly enough so that Half-Life fans have something to get excited about.
So what does all this mean?
My prediction: I have a hard time believing that Valve is planning on revealing Half-Life 3 in the near future. Maybe I've just grown cynical after waiting so long for a game we were supposed to have seen by mid-2008. But the fact of the matter is that there has been no solid confirmation form Valve that they are even working on the game. People have gotten very excited about supposed Half-Life reveals in the past, and none of them have ever led to anything. I assume these rumors are just going to lead up to more silence—or maybe a vague and noncommittal answer—from Valve.
Trust me, when Valve finally reveals the next Half-Life game, it's going to be huge news. You're not going to be able to miss the announcement.
CCC Editor/Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*