There are certain things that made the original Half-Life a great game. The consistent first person perspective during scripted sequences was ground breaking. The complex mix of puzzles and action that inhibited progression, the lack of levels, the interactive environments, the platforming, the setting, added all together it made Half-Life one of the greatest games ever created.
One thing I don’t recall from the original is being scared at any point of time. Anxious, twitchy, and little neurotic yes, but never genuinely scared. And so I can’t help but wonder exactly what Gabe Newell means when he says that the Half-Life series needs to get back to “scaring” players.
Newell had this to say in a recent interview in Edge magazine:
“That isn’t something we think about except as part of each project needing to respect the fact that simply repeating the past isn’t going to have the same impact now as it did then.” … “I feel like we’ve gotten away from genuinely scaring the player more than I’d like, and it’s something we need to think about, in addition to broadening the emotional palette we can draw on.”
Does Gabe means something more similar to Half-Life 2‘s Ravenholm chapter? That chapter among all of the others stands out as the scariest in my mind. A dead town haunted by zombie-like inhabitants. Or perhaps Gabe means something more along the lines of Episode 2, where events including Alyx Vance, and later her Father had me scared in a way no other game has done before. Situations that should absolutely be considered when creating a new Half-Life. If that is the case though, why would Gabe say the series needs to return to that since it’s the most current portion of the franchise.
Altogether I’m unsure how to take Gabe’s comments. If he intends to take Half-Life in a different direction then we might be talking something more substantial than another episode. Perhaps his attitude towards Half-Life‘s current state is one of the reasons development is taking so long. It’s all very confusing, and naturally I’m ranting.
What are your thoughts, Ranters? Am I reading too far into Gabe’s comments? Or is there more than what appears in Mr. Newell’s words? Since there’s no Half-Life in 2010 anyways, why is this even an issue?