Half-Life 2: Episode Two - Cyril, Fred, and friends


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Jun 11, 2004
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For today's article, we talked to Marc Laidlaw to learn the story behind Half-Life 2: Episode Two's cut characters Cyril and Fred. Not only did he respond but he also revealed some interesting behind the scenes information about other characters such as Griggs and Sheckley.

Cyril and Fred

In the Half-Life 2: Episode Two files, there are references to two unused rebel characters named Cyril and Fred. They were to appear in the destroyed bridge map where we find the Muscle Car. The Victory Mine Vortigaunt mentions that he knows of humans with a vehicle, so it is possible that they were the owners of the car. Marc Laidlaw doesn't remember any stories about them, but he said he named them after famous science fiction writers Cyril M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl. No remnants of these characters exist in any form in the recently leaked maps.

Griggs and Sheckley

Griggs (John Patrick Lowrie) and Sheckley (Adam Baldwin) are the two rebels who help the player defend against Antlions in the Victory Mine. Griggs was originally voiced by Earl Alexander, the voice of Louis in Left 4 Dead, before being replaced by Lowrie in the final game. Laidlaw vaguely recalls doing some recording with Alexander, but he says it must not have worked out.

Laidlaw says they recorded a lot with Baldwin but used very little of it. His character was to have full of set responses hooked up, but they ran out of time so he ended up with only a handful of scripted lines along with some old lines recorded by Lowrie. Laidlaw remembers being not very happy about it, but he didn't realize it was too late to fix the problem until it was too late.

Adam Baldwin

For a while, every time they sent out audition scripts, they'd get submissions from Baldwin's management. Laidlaw revealed that Baldwin had also submitted auditions for other voice roles as early as Half-Life 2, reading for Dr. Breen and the Vortigaunts.

Laidlaw thought Baldwin was a huge fan of the series. When they finally did hire him to do the rebel voice, Laidlaw was amused to learn that Baldwin had no idea what the games were. He was just doing the auditions his manager sent him, trying to keep working.

According to Laidlaw, actors rarely know anything about the games. The ones who did, would only know about Half-Life through their kids or grandkids. He says Hollywood's awareness of video games has changed a lot since they recorded Half-Life 2.


Barney and Marphy Black

Special Thanks

Marc Laidlaw for answering our questions
Slartibarty for the help