Two Is A Coincidence, Three Is A Pattern


Nov 8, 2014
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First and foremost: hello! This is my first post here on the forums, so here's hoping all goes well.
Secondly: if I make a mistake here please let me know! (I'd prefer a correction in a positive way, but whatever). I'd rather be realistic than blindly optimistic with this topic.
Now, let's start.

Ever since 2007 when Episode 3 was supposed to be released, there have been rumors. Every year many of us get excited that our wait might finally be over for whatever has come of the next Half-Life game, and each year those who gets their hopes up almost universally have them slashed down. In spite of this, and my better judgement, I will try and make a case for why the next two years will be very exciting for Half-Life fans. To do this we will cover a few topics:

• The Engine Comes to Life
It is most certainly not a secret these days that Source 2 is a thing. It's been a 'thing' on some level or another for many years now, but with the DOTA 2 update a few months ago as well as small bits of information leaked here and there over the years we know that Valve are working on the engine that will power their future games.

But what does this mean for Half-Life? It means that an actual release is now more realistic and reasonable -- Whatever Valve were hoping to do with Ep3, now HL3, was almost certainly held back by Source 1's limitations. The fact that they have an up-to-date engine that they feel comfortable enough with to start small amounts of public testing via DOTA 2 tools almost certainly means they've had an internally functional version for some time.

• Into A New Frontier
To compliment their software Valve have been diving headlong into the console market with their Steam Machine lineup. Moving into the living room has no doubt given the employees at Valve a challenge balancing price, production, power and ease of access: the Steam controller is an entirely Valve take on the modern console controller and it looks promising. Unfortunately for those who want to get their hands on it the only way is at a games' conference, or when they ship with the consoles sometime in 2015.

It is here that I pose my first questions -- how will Valve handle their release? What kind of launch demonstration will we see? How powerful will these machines be?

The development of Source 2 provides an excellent look at how Valve may approach addressing these questions. Certain Database leaks have shown possible plans to port existing Source games over to Source 2 in the same manner that DOTA 2 has been. This would be a wonderful example to give for "backwards compatibility". That is to say, source 2's ability to not only run the future of Valve games, but its power to hold on to and consistently update their old ones as well. And of course, what better way to show S2 and the Steam Machine's power than a full-on Source 2 tech demo? This is where the hopeful part of me takes over* as E3 2004 rings in my ears.

• These Things, They Take Time
In spite of Valve's flat corporate structure, they have been fairly regular in their development times. I am obviously leaving a lot out, but here is why I think 2015 and 2016 will be the time we will see something of the next Half-Life game:

Half-Life took four years to develop, being Valve's first game.
Half-Life 2 took six, including having been hacked.
Episode 1 took Three years**
and Episode 2 took Two Years**

Episode 2 was to include a trailer for EP3, as EP1 did for EP2. However it was cut by EP2's release for unknown reasons. I would say that if Valve were willing enough to show a trailer at that point, the episode would have been quite far along (especially since it was originally to ship Christmas 2007).

Taking all of this into account, including development on other games, I would think it's fair to assume a development cycle of 12 years (double that Half-Life 2's) for Half-Life 3. And that, of course, gets us to 2016. Without any other news on the front of engine or console development, I wouldn't normally get too excited. But with everything seeming to line up so perfectly I think you can understand why I am, for the first time in years, actually getting excited.


Please, share what you think. What did I get right? What did I get wrong? Did I miss anything major that would otherwise help or completely destroy this pattern?
Let me know. Here's to a good first post on the forums (y)

*From this point forward I am being optimistic, and most of what I have to say may or may not be supported by anything provable.
**Estimate development time is given one extra year for overlapping development with previous project.
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What did I get right?
I don't think you can get anything right at this point, because all of this is just speculation. Either Valve is in some deep eternal development hell, or Half-Life 3 is just around the corner; patiently waiting for the best time to release. Both is unlikely, but one can always dream or despair. And let's face it, the most real thing we can do right now, is to drool over a fictional copy of Half-Life 3.

Also, welcome to Valvetime.
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There really isn't anything new to speculate on at this point. You could write an entire novel on Half Life 3 speculation, and all of it would come to naught with one word from Gaben. All we can do is wait for an announcement. That's discouraging, I know, since that is what many have been doing since 2007. Nonetheless, I agree with your final point. I think that things are indeed lining up for some big announcements from Valve. Valve is silent now, but when they finally announce all that they're working on, they're going to be at the forefront of everyone's attention. I hope it's soon, but I have no clue.
First post?
I think you'll fit in here just fine.