Attendees at Gamescom 2016 might notice a particularly eye-catching Half-Life 3 banner hanging at the convention center, baiting those gullible enough to believe its ruse.
What looks to be a Half-Life 3 promotional poster hanging proudly at the Kolnmesse convention center is actually a devilishly clever ploy to get a rise out of those attending. The signature bright orange color of the banner and the suggestion of another sequel in the Half-Life franchise were likely enough to stir the less keen-eyed attendees to excitement. However, upon closer inspection this parlor trick is easily debunked.
There is power in the colon – meaning the mark of punctuation, of course – and it is the key to this specific troll. The poster does not actually read “Half-Life 3,” but rather “Half-Life: 3,” followed by the phrase “Redakteure, die es damals gespielt haben,” which translates to “Editors, who played it back then.” The “3” is in reference to the editors and not Half-Life 3.
So who are the wily fellows that would go through all of this to troll thousands of attendees? Allegedly it was paid for or arranged by GIGA games and Spieletipps, two German companies who apparently have good senses of humor – despite choosing such an easy target. Unfortunately, this does mean that Half-Life fans after a rare bit of news on the beloved Valve series have not had the confirmation they were hoping for.
It is simple to muster reactions from gamers who have been waiting on Half-Life 3 for a very, very long time; desire and gullibility work hand in hand. Ever since Half-Life 2: Episode 2 release back in 2007 – which ended on a cliffhanger, mind you – fans have been clambering for some kind of conclusion.
For the most part, the hope for a release of an Episode 3 has been abandoned. Instead, many are holding out for a proper sequel to the main series, because, understandably, a decade is enough of a wait. It is not clear when or if Half-Life 3 will ever get released, and many believe the game will be stuck in some kind of development hell for the rest of eternity. There are small bits of information discovered that keep the faith alive, but nothing concrete. It is this faith, however, that allows people to perpetuate the rumors, the evidence, and the trolling that has occurred at this year’s Gamescom.
Perhaps Half-Life 3 will eventually see the light of day, and Gabe Newell, Developer Valve’s co-founder, was still talking about the game a year ago so that is encouraging – though only slightly, considering. Until something official is disclosed, the gossip and hoaxes will continue to permeate the gaming world, which is a testament to how important Half-Life is to that culture.