Valve’s ‘Portal 2′ ARG Hints at Half-Life 3/Episode 3

Published 4 years ago by , Updated April 20th, 2011 at 9:00 pm,

Valve Hints At Half-Life 3

Rumors surrounding the third installment in the Half-Life franchise have been around since not long after the release of Half-Life 2: Episode 2. For years it has seemed as if Valve was on the verge of announcing another Gordon Freeman adventure, but alas it has yet to happen. Don’t give up hope though, according to some clever sleuthing within Valve’s latest alternate reality game, the next Half-Life game may be just around the corner.

Valve is known for not rushing the development of their games to the point that the term “Valve time” has been widely accepted to mean, taking one’s sweet time. Additionally, some have attributed the delay of a Half-Life 2 sequel directly to the success of Steam. While there isn’t concrete evidence of this, it certainly seems plausible.

The recent Portal 2 ARG began on April Fool’s Day and has been messing with fans’ heads since then. A series of somewhat mysterious events have been unfolding across the internet and on Valve’s popular platform Steam. One of the most entertaining parts of the ARG has been the Potato Sack bundle on Steam. The bundle contains 13 indie games at a very reduced price, and Valve claims the release of Portal 2 will be accelerated by playing these games more.

Now, another tidbit from the ARG has some people convinced that Valve has a Half-Life 2: Episode 3 or Half-Life 3 announcement coming soon. A connection has been drawn between an image of “hacked Portal 2 information” and a location in Half-Life 2: The Lost Coast. Check out the progression below.

Valve Hints At Half Life 3 Hacked Portal Code

The below image was created from the original hazy image above through masking techniques.

Valve Hints At Half Life 3 Borealis

That may not seem like much, but take a closer look.

Valve Hints At Half Life 3 Lost Coast 1

Valve Hints At Half Life 3 Lost Coast 2

Are you convinced? This connection may seem a little far-fetched, but Valve is known for not holding back when it comes to the difficulty of their puzzles. Personally, I think the work in uncovering this is impressive, but I’m still not sure what it means regarding the next Half-Life game. After all, this could just be Valve’s way of teasing gamers who are obsessed with knowing more about the series. Or maybe the next Half-Life game will include the Portal gun? Regardless, those who did the work in finding the link between the above images deserve major kudos.

Until Valve releases an official announcement, gamers will be left wondering what’s next. In my opinion, the most likely situation is that Valve releases a semi-short Half-Life 2: Episode 3 in the near future along with the promise that Half-Life 3 is in the works. They will take their sweet time (as usual) and Half-Life 3 will be the series’ magnum opus.

It has been over three years since the release of Half-Life 2: Episode Two and over six years since the original Half-Life 2. Many gamers love the series, but are starting to get impatient because of the lag in between sequels. With Portal 2 releasing in a few days, I don’t think it is much of a stretch to think that Valve will reveal Half-Life 3/Episode 3 during this year’s E3.

Is this whole thing wishful thinking or is there a true connection between the images and an upcoming Half-Life announcement?

We still have no official information regarding the release of the next Half-Life game, but Portal 2 will be available on April 19, 2011 for Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Mac. Check out our review now!

Source: LO-PING

TAGS: Half Life, Half-Life 2: Episode 3, Half-Life 3, Mac, PC, Valve

  • Ken J

    Geez I really hope so. Half Life 2 and its episodes are probably the best single player games I’ve ever played in terms of narrative. I can’t wait to see the conclusion to the episodic content, what a freakin’ cliff hanger at the end of Episode 2!!

  • Danzflor

    it’s not that freaky, after all it seems the ARG it’s not over and it will continue after Portal 2 launch, the folks over discovered a morse code in last night episode of “The Steamcast” telling them that “it’s not over the others have been compromised” and this make a lot of sense since a lot (now even more) ARG players are “missing” and the only one giving life signals is Dougley, but the rest of them…

    Also, I really liked this site, after a couple o views, I’m staying here, Destructoid it’s my official news source, but now I have a new one to add.

  • Alexander anonymous

    I think that hl2e3 is around the corner because of this image thing. That’s similar to how they announced portal 2 after the whole “morse code” thing being introduced in a patch for portal 1. And I love the concept of valve time (actually taking ur time) because most games today are too rushed and if you rush to complete something, it’s crappy. Kind of like call of duty mw2. Also, valve probably makes the best singlellayer games ever because they come up with so many ideas to keep you interested in a game unlike other games where all you do is shoot and then get a cutscene. Hl2e1 and hl2e2 both took more than 1 year to make and they were amazing. Hl2e3 is taking more than 3yrs so maybe it might be the best hl game yet! Take your time valve!

  • Fenix

    I completely agree Ken J. HL 1 and 2 are the best single player experiences I have ever had in a game hands down. For me particularly HL 2 and its episodes bc I’m still in love with the source engine. I’m excited to see what they do next and if they will take another giant leap in technology like they did with HL2. I have a feeling they will announce something at e3 this summer. I mean its been wayy too long since any kind of half life game has come out… (not including portal 2) But HL 3 should be the magnum opus like he said, It should wrap the series up as a whole but not without going out with a bang! I love how they seamlessly intertwine great puzzles with excited gunplay and strong dialogue. The relationship between gordon and alyx and dog are absolutely amazing in these games. I’m curious to see how they expand upon that in HL3 or episode 3. Maybe episode 3 will be HL3 who knows…

    • Ken J

      I hope part of the reason they are taking so long is because they are remaking all of the previous games from HL2 on with the new graphics and physics of episode 3, and release a sort of Orange Box type deal where it’ll include all of the previous games, but new and improved. I would so play the whole thing over from the very beginning and then straight through into episode 3 if they do that…

      • Tang

        i suddenly hope not? i hope they are taking so long, for a ONE perfect game. why remake the old games? they are the heart of pcgamers. you might as well remake the original starwars triologi. its just stupid.

  • Fenix

    Good call bro but if they are remaking hl2 and the episodes, you might as well remake the first one. At least hl2 and its episodes were in HD and had a robust physics engine (which still holds up beautifully today). The first HL had the story down but as far as the tech goes… its more than a bit outdated. But I agree, I would play them all from beginning to end again if they remade them on the HL3 engine. I’m also thinkin that episode 3 will kind of lead into HL3 or actually be HL3. I mean why else would they take sooo long to finish it. episodes 1 and 2 came out fairly quickly after HL2 but we haven’t heard anything on episode 3. Hopefully they are keeping it under wraps bc its secretly hl3. I don’t think valve is making any more left 4 deads ATM so Half life is the next logical step i would think.

    • Ken J

      Well, if they decide to make it HL3, then it better be as long as HL2 was, the episodes were awesome but were a bit shorter than the full-length HL2. Either way, I’m anticipating an explosive, and shocking, end to the series. I just hope that shock does not involve Alyx dying… You know, if it ends in a “happy” ending, where everything is calm and you actually get to settle down and relax, that would be a nice ending to it all imo. Hours and hours and hours on end of hectic violence and craziness, then everything is good. That would be a great break, lol. Maybe the world you just fought through will open up and become an almost sandbox type place where you can go back and explore whatever you wish, haha.

  • Fenix

    Yea i hope she doesn’t die… I dont’ think thats valves style. I think they will end it peacefully. So wait didn’t her father die at the end of episode 2? Yea i doubt they will kill her off too. Shes a pretty important part of the story so even if it did happen, it would most likely be the ending. Maybe even Freeman makes the ultimate sacrifice and dies. That would make more sense I think and prolly be insanely epic. I think your going along the right lines with the whole “sandbox” idea. I think originally they intended HL2 to be sort of a sandbox type game but they soon discovered that its very hard to make a sandbox game and have any kind of linear narrative. Games like GTA, Red Dead, etc. have shown us that a sandbox game can have an amazing story it just has to be done the right way. I’m thinkin they will go this route and maybe add some more vehicles to make getting around way easier. Also, I’m thinkin that some of the story might not even take place on earth or wherever you were in hl2. I’m thinkin they might go to the alien homeworld or even back to the infamous black mesa. The possibilities are endless so hopefully we will get something this summer at e3!!!

    • Garmanbozia

      I think that you are right. Episode 3 will be the final Half-life to feature Gordon Freeman, so I believe that Valve has been working on the game for a while now: they wanna create an amazing experience for the finale, so they need lots of time. I think that there will be alternate endings. Maybe in one you use the technology in the borealis to destroy the combine, followed by nasty consequences, or you destroy the tech. in the borealis for the good of everyone and defeat the combine the hard way.

  • juggernaut

    Jesus f-king christ just stop the bullsh-t and give me my fix!!!!! I’m going to pee my pants when this comes out LOL
    Anyway, after hl2e3 comes out, I’m dying to know what’s in store for the 3rd HL as well the cliffhanger coming for the remaining episode 3, if any.
    This is perhaps the greatest story in any game, and the way Valve screws with your head on the waits and hush is just ingenious.
    I’d love to Alyx nakey. I’d do her.

  • mgaroz

    Personally I think it has little to do with Half Life, I do believe it could be the Borealis, but nothing more than a reference, since well the ship is owned by Aperture. You can even find its dry dock in a secret room in Portal 2.

  • Garmanbozia

    Why is everyone still doubting Episode 3? It will come out! and it will be the last game featuring Gordon Freeman. If there will be a Half-Life 3, it will be a totaly different story. Valve is eager to end the Half-Life story, so I am pretty optimistic that Valve will make an official anouncement concerning Ep.3 by the end of this year. And this picture of the borealis DOES have something to do with Ep.3, those who denie it did not pay attention in Episode 2.

    • juggernaut

      @ Garmanbozia; what sense does it make to NOT have Gordon in it? And forget the end of this year for the announcement…I have a strong suspicion it may be coming sooner now that Portal 2 is out.

  • Fenix

    dude, half life isn’t complete without gordon freeman… of course he would be in the 3rd half life.

    • Garmanbozia

      Well actually, Episodes One, Two and Three ARE essientially Half-Life 3, Gabe Newell stated so. And I strongly believe that Episode 3 will be the end of Gordon’s story. But the franshise will continue with games occur in the Half-Life universe such as Portal for example.

  • juggernaut

    I don’t think Gordon’s out. The guy is the one that this entire experience is centered on. Why would start a whole new character, because then you need to restart a relationship with Alyx…I think Gordon should f-k her after this is all done anyway. Most of the broads in HL are dykey and annoying.

    • Anonymous

      “Most of the broads in HL are annoying.”

      sounds like alyx to me

  • juggernaut
  • Gordon Slaveman

    STILL people haven’t gotten it into their thick skulls?????(except Garmanbozia) Episodes 1, 2 and 3 IS “Half-Life 3″. Meaning the next game will be HL4 not 3, we are just waiting for the last part of the third game.

  • nick

    Wait a minute, where are those last 2 screen shots from?

  • Theo

    The person who sent those images was a troll. That was clarified at the valve arg wiki.