Half-Life 2: Episode 3 Plot Posted By Writer

monkeymagick

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Taken from the NeoGaf forums. According to user dex3108, former Valve writer Mark Laidlaw posted on his blog the plot to Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Announced almost ten years ago, the sequel has yet to be released, leaving Half-Life 2's ending without closure. Laidlaw's blog is currently getting hammered. Although, the text dump can be found here for those of you interested.

I hope this letter finds you well. I can hear your complaint already, "Gertie Fremont, we have not heard from you in ages!”\" Well, if you care to hear excuses, I have plenty, the greatest of them being I’ve been in other dimensions and whatnot, unable to reach you by the usual means.
 
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Derangel

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I don't think it really is the entire plot. Laidlaw said on Twitter that is is fanfiction based on his work on HLEp3/HL3. Either way it is pretty much confirmation that the series will never see a continuation.

 

Trimlock

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Episode 3 will go down in history. It's astonishing that a company as big as valve wouldn't dedicate resources to release an EXPANSION that would have brought in unfathomable (sp?) amounts of money.

It is a recurring cash cow much like WoW. They didn't stop when their subscription rates tanked, they just restructured and keep raking in money. At the time HL was never more popular, so why end it?
 

TorxT3D

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hate being reminded of anything hl3 or 3 period. sad as hell. unless valve is waiting for vr to become what it needs to be for hl3, ep3, portal 3 etc
 

rudedog

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hate being reminded of anything hl3 or 3 period. sad as hell. unless valve is waiting for vr to become what it needs to be for hl3, ep3, portal 3 etc

I bet they are waiting for the halodeck to be invented...
 

KillRoy X

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Ugh this is frustrating. Think about all the great games on PC coming out right now. (well in my opinion) The graphics improvements that Valve could have taken advantage of, and what appears to be a great story to base the 3rd ep on. Jesus, I just can't believe they would let this lapse. Terrible, but cool ep 3 plot
 

Exavior

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Based on the tweet I am assuming that isn't really the expected plot but was just something he made up.

hate being reminded of anything hl3 or 3 period. sad as hell. unless valve is waiting for vr to become what it needs to be for hl3, ep3, portal 3 etc

They have no reason to make the game. They make enough with Steam by itself they don't need to really make games anymore. Even fi they did they had previously used Mass Effect as an example of why they would not want to make another HL game and with how true that was with Mass Effect 3, after the release of Andromeda and how that played out that is even more proof. At this point everyone has such high hopes for a new HL game that no matter what they release people will be disappointed as it won't live up to their expectation. So why bother making a game that you know is just going to be ripped apart and bashed by everyone.
 

NickJames

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Based on the tweet I am assuming that isn't really the expected plot but was just something he made up.

Read between the lines. He changed all the character names and references to any Valve franchise to avoid copyright. Him calling it fanfic is just another way to avoid saying "This is the story I intended for Episode 3.".
 

cvinh

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Reading that gave me chills. Having all that played out in a game would have been epic as fuck.
 

U-238

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They have no reason to make the game. They make enough with Steam by itself they don't need to really make games anymore. Even fi they did they had previously used Mass Effect as an example of why they would not want to make another HL game and with how true that was with Mass Effect 3, after the release of Andromeda and how that played out that is even more proof. At this point everyone has such high hopes for a new HL game that no matter what they release people will be disappointed as it won't live up to their expectation. So why bother making a game that you know is just going to be ripped apart and bashed by everyone.

At this point no, they don't really have a reason to because it would mean a far more significant investment than it would have if they had released it according to the original plan. But back then, or even a year or so later, they wouldn't have had to make any changes to gameplay or engine or graphics to keep people satisfied. They could have rolled with the same ol' Source engine and, as long as the story was solid (which, given the text, it was), it would've sold and people would've been happy.

But, they didn't. And now that it's been 12 years they're in a DNF situation where anything they do will never be "good enough" and going to HL3 will take 1) a new engine, 2) something innovative gameplay-wise, 3) be up to all the modern "standards" of graphics/physics/etc.
 

Ieldra

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Episode 3 will go down in history. It's astonishing that a company as big as valve wouldn't dedicate resources to release an EXPANSION that would have brought in unfathomable (sp?) amounts of money.

It is a recurring cash cow much like WoW. They didn't stop when their subscription rates tanked, they just restructured and keep raking in money. At the time HL was never more popular, so why end it?

Would it really make that much money though ? Doubt it.
 

Youn

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Damn all you guys with your "they're too late, it'll suck no matter what" attitude just illustrate why it was never done in the first place... I dunno if it's high levels of estrogen or what, but being a little pussy and crying about things potentially not being dainty-perfect is just such a vortex of suckage... but hey, maybe Valve could use your help, you seem to fit in to their philosophy these days...
 

NickJames

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Would it really make that much money though ? Doubt it.

Nope, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the monster revenue maker that is Steam. Steam grosses roughly $3-4 BILLION a year on sales, that's including their 30% cut. Even if Half-Life 3 sold some crazy number like 20 million copies, that's still only 1/4th of Valves annual revenue. The way they see it, why put 2-3 years of hard work into a game that only nets them less than a years profits when they can focus their assets on expanding Steam into a money milking machine.

To put it blunt, the ONLY reason Half-Life 3 would EVER get made is if Valve decided to finally appease their fans. And with every creative story writer and game designer that worked on Half-Life moving on or retiring, it most likely will never happen.
 

alexyang

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As an anecdote, Starcraft 2 was released 12 years after Starcraft 1, and it sold well enough to warrant 2 expansions. So there's at least one counterexample to the "it's been too long, no game can live up to that kind of hype."

Also, for those who argue that it's not in Valve's financial interest to expend the resources to finish the series, can't they just license it out (and get paid) to some group that loves the franchise enough to see it done?
 

NickJames

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As an anecdote, Starcraft 2 was released 12 years after Starcraft 1, and it sold well enough to warrant 2 expansions. So there's at least one counterexample to the "it's been too long, no game can live up to that kind of hype."

Also, for those who argue that it's not in Valve's financial interest to expend the resources to finish the series, can't they just license it out (and get paid) to some group that loves the franchise enough to see it done?

I think Blizzard was a largely different company back then before the Activision Blizzard merger. Blizzard doesn't seem to be too interested in working on story based franchises lately. If they can't turn it into an E-Sport or sell a monthly subscription or loot boxes then to them it's not worth it.

I have no doubts someone is going to take this story and turn it into a mod. Valve gives modders free use of their assets to create source engine mods so I am sure it'll happen. Being a paid mod on the other hand requires permission. Voice actors for some of the main characters would be tricky though.
 

Youn

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it most likely will never happen.
A typical days-worth of Valve's auto-rejected job applications based on detection of HL-related keywords:

paper-waste-in-a-landfill.jpg
 

alexyang

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I have no doubts someone is going to take this story and turn it into a mod. Valve gives modders free use of their assets to create source engine mods so I am sure it'll happen. Being a paid mod on the other hand requires permission. Voice actors for some of the main characters would be tricky though.

I'm not talking about a mod or even a paid mod. I'm talking about Valve licensing out HL3 to another group to finish the series. As I understand it, you're arguing that Valve has no financial interest in finishing HL3 because it would cost a lot, might not sell well, so why risk it, especially since they are making so much easy money with Steam?

Fine. License it out so another group takes the risk if HL3 bombs, but Valve gets their Steam cut no matter what, and if that group's HL3 does well, so does Valve via Steam.
 

NickJames

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I'm not talking about a mod or even a paid mod. I'm talking about Valve licensing out HL3 to another group to finish the series. As I understand it, you're arguing that Valve has no financial interest in finishing HL3 because it would cost a lot, might not sell well, so why risk it, especially since they are making so much easy money with Steam?

Fine. License it out so another group takes the risk if HL3 bombs, but Valve gets their Steam cut no matter what, and if that group's HL3 does well, so does Valve via Steam.

These days that's still highly unlikely. The last game they did that with was the HL expansion Blue Shift back in 2001 which wasn't that great. Now a days Valve just likes to buy up interesting IP and their studios to merge their team together. Is it possible? Yes. But I feel like Valve would rather burn the house down than have someone else live in it.
 

Merc1138

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Episode 3 will go down in history. It's astonishing that a company as big as valve wouldn't dedicate resources to release an EXPANSION that would have brought in unfathomable (sp?) amounts of money.

It is a recurring cash cow much like WoW. They didn't stop when their subscription rates tanked, they just restructured and keep raking in money. At the time HL was never more popular, so why end it?
Not really.

Valve makes fuck loads of cash from Steam, and that is a cash cow which isn't going anywhere any time soon, and while there's still overhead I suspect there's a lot less issues involving money spent and development time for a burst of income since it's a steady income stream.

They make money off of every game sale, every microtransaction for their own games, every marketplace transaction, with peak total player counts being around the 13 million mark. Just look at what Valve has done for the past few years? Big picture mode for steam, steamos, steambox, steam controller, it's all about finding ways to expand their user base because that's what they make money from. Just look at CS:GO, it's 6 years old, still sells copies, still turns a profit off of selling keys for crates, they won't get that out of making a single player focused game.

Actually developing a game means spending money on marketing, pay salaries of developers, continuing to support the game after sales have dropped off and the price drops, and so on.

Then you have to consider that there is no way in hell Valve can meet the hype surrounding an episode 3 or even HL 3 at this point. And that doesn't even get into weird conspiracy theory territory about Valve not releasing a "3" for anything. TFC was called such and allowed TF2 to remain being called 2. They dropped the numbering from CS so they don't even have to worry about making a "2" let alone 3. Sure there's left 4 dead 2, portal 2, dota 2(unlikely to ever see a "3" since it's still raking in cash). Hell, their next big game they've announced is a fucking collectible card game spinoff for DOTA 2, which is likely to also be a F2P game fueled by microtransactions using steam's marketplace. It's entirely likely that their bean counters indicated long ago spending money developing and marketing an ep3/hl3 would actually cost them money in the long run by comparison when you look at their projects for the past 5-7 years.
 

Azphira

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The steam box not many wanted because of windows 8 paranoia instead of HL3 people do want is why I buy games from Gog first if they have them before Steam.

Because honestly, if Valve/Steam went down in flames because of poor decisions, kiss your games goodbye, they won't care, because whatcha gonna do?

Sure someone may buy Steam, but then it will be like Direct2drive becoming Gamefly, then Direct2drive again while spilling out owned games here and there in the process and most publishers won't replace your missing games.

Because if publishers cared, gog connect wouldn't be the trickle it is.
 

Sonicks

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That was great. I only wished I could have played through that.

It's sad but its closure and damn good confirmation that there is no longer any point holding onto even a sliver of hope for an actual conclusion to this series. The entire last paragraph is talking about Valve and how the series is no longer any real part of what's going on there.
 
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Ieldra

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Half life is so legendary at this point that anything they do will inevitably disappoint half the fanbase for one reason or another. Thats just how it always is.

I am confident that if Valve employees find inspiration in a project they will commit to it and develop an excellent product, financially it may not even make much sense but they can still do it.

I personally am bored to death of run of the mill story based FPS, that's why doom was so refreshing and in a sense quite witty with the doom guy being essentially as invested in the plot as the player.

You really don't have to sell me on shooting people/things in the face, that's what what I bought the damned game for.

Edit:
I personally refuse to play games with an unskippable starting cutscene. Unbearable, I bought thhat Hellblade senhua something to check out the graphics and I instantly refunded it after suffering through 20 seconds of agony as I tried to skip the thing then I just alt-f4d.
 

Mchart

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I completely disagree. If they released Ep3 with Portal 2 graphics for $30 I don’t think many people would complain as long as it had decent gameplay.
 
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Travolta

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Valve is the current 3DRealms, with a safety net (Steam). They’re too lazy to make games anymore, except they have another revenue stream so it doesn’t matter.
 

Domingo

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I'm still convinced we'll see it at some point. Just about every album, movie, game, band reunion, etc. we've been assured will NEVER happen has happened. When enough time passes and people realize that money can be made, opinions change. That doesn't mean it will live up to expectations or it will even be from Valve, but I'd bet money that we'll see it in the next 10 years.
 

Merc1138

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Maybe if people could stop buying TF2 hats and CS:GO knives we could get another Valve game someday.
LOL
The steam box not many wanted because of windows 8 paranoia instead of HL3 people do want is why I buy games from Gog first if they have them before Steam.

Because honestly, if Valve/Steam went down in flames because of poor decisions, kiss your games goodbye, they won't care, because whatcha gonna do?

Sure someone may buy Steam, but then it will be like Direct2drive becoming Gamefly, then Direct2drive again while spilling out owned games here and there in the process and most publishers won't replace your missing games.

Because if publishers cared, gog connect wouldn't be the trickle it is.

The steam box no one wanted, because any hardcore PC guys would have built their own HTPCs, and while it could have served as a means to entice some console gamers over the fact that the specs were essentially open ended so anyone who had the slightest interest looked it up and saw prices ranging from $500 to $4,000 likely immediately threw their hands in the air and said "fuck that".

As far as steam making enough bad business decisions to just go down in flames, that's not going to be sudden. The simple fact is that Valve has such a foothold on the market, it would take multiple successive years of fucking up for that to happen at this point. I'm not saying it's impossible, it's just that the odds of it sneaking up on anyone are highly unlikely.

Regarding GoG, to say that if the publishers cared GoG connect wouldn't be a trickle is absurd. The simple reality is that most publishers like DRM, they see where the marketshare is for distribution, and see where the money can be made. The only real exceptions to this from big publishers are battle.net(which pre-dates steam by a while in various forms), Origin(because EA is just that damn big), and the windows store(because it's Microsoft). I left out uplay, because not only is their client still retarded after years, but even they still sell through steam because they can't get enough people interested solely in their own marketplace at this point.
 

yourgrandma

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I don't think it has anything to with the ludicrous hype or them being scared to release a disappointing hl3, it's that the incentive isn't there anymore. Even without the $ from microtransactions, Dota 2 has brought in more 10x new customers for the store then a hl3 ever would. Valve only cares about 1 thing anymore and that's growth. If you've been paying attention at all their main goal is bringing in new customers and getting them lock into their system buying games they didn't make for profit. Why pander to a shrinking minority of hl fans, majority of which are already locked in to steam.
 

BETA.

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Money making incentives for Valve aside, they have waited far too long to just develop and release the next installment of series. When Half Life 2 was released, everything about it was innovative and fresh. Fast forward 10 years and really Valve has not given one hint that they are even capable of releasing something innovative to release the next installment under.
 

Madoc

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Game developers develop games. Valve doesn't seem to be doing that anymore, so my conclusion is that Valve is no longer a game development company, which is a shame.
 
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