For the dedicated Half-Life fans growing impatient waiting for official word on whether or not Valve is working away on Half-Life 2: Episode Three (or Half-Life 3 as it’s more likely going to be called), stuff like this must drive you nuts.

It was just yesterday where we reported about the ‘A Call For Communication’ Half-Life group on Steam that had quickly grown to 10,000 fans (now nearing 18,000). Their goal is to convince Valve to communicate with the Half-Life community about the status of the next Half-Life game, not to rush game development in any way. Nevertheless, the frequent rumors, speculation and occasional tease from Valve themselves must drive them nuts.

While Valve’s not releasing new Half-Life installments, they’ve been annually releasing titles for their other franchises, whether it be Left 4 Dead, Portal or what’s coming this year: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. For months now, veteran CS players and others have been testing the Global Offensive to get it tweaked to the best balance possible and as such, little bits and pieces have been leaking online.

Some of the more interesting images to come from the beta do not showcase gameplay at all, but instead reveal some of in-game assets that Valve put in as Easter Eggs, loaded with jokes and references to other games that fans are already attempting to connect to a potential release date of Half-Life 3.

The crowbar and Blue Mesa Airlines (why blue?) are the obvious Half-Life references but take a look at some of the other interesting and funny highlights:

  • The image with the dates also has a very small post-it note that says September 19. A tease?
  • “What about bagel Friday?”
  • Also on the image with the dates are faded characters reading “S6MU” when when in Google yields a top result of a naval vessel similar to the Borealis, the Aperture Science research ship introduced in Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
  • On the ‘Task List’ image, Eli’s name is crossed out, possibly referencing his death at the end of Episode Two?

There are quite a lot more hidden things in the images if you look close enough, including a sketch of what we all assume is Gordon’s face. Take a look at the altered images from Reddit and Steam users for fun:

Pretty interesting references, but that’s all they are, food to feed the eager and anxious. After all, Valve says all Half-Life 3 rumors are false.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Steam Forums (via Kotaku), Reddit

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