This coming Tuesday, May 24th marks the 10 year anniversary of Valve’s announcement for Half-Life 2: Episode 3, promising it to be released by Christmas of 2007.
For years, fans have joked that Valve “can’t count to three,” and it’s hard to disagree with that sentiment. We have yet to see a third Left 4 Dead game, we haven’t seen Portal 3, and so far, Valve has only released Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2. We can trace this history of Valve’s games failing to reach the third entry to the studio’s flagship Half-Life, as fans have been waiting for Half-Life 2: Episode 3 for almost 10 years now.
It was on May 24th, 2006 when Valve released the first teaser trailer for Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Said to be the last of a trilogy, Half-Life 2: Episode 3 was set to release by Christmas of 2007. Of course, that never came to pass, and then company head Gabe Newell hinted that Valve was done with episodic content altogether, indicating that the story would conclude with a full-fledged Half-Life 3. Unfortunately, we still haven’t seen anything substantial on that front either.
Over the years, we’ve had some hints here and there that Half-Life 3 is in development. Dota 2 files have teased the possibility of Half-Life 3, and Gabe Newell has hesitated to outright deny the game’s existence, but at this point, many fans seem to have given up on the possibility that the game will ever actually see the light of day, as there’s a chance it’s not even currently in active development.
However, we have been given a general idea of what to expect from Half-Life 3, if the game is ever actually developed. Valve has said in the past that Half-Life 3 will not support VR, but even so, it may still be something innovative. That’s because Newell has said that he only wants to make Half-Life 3 if it “moves the franchise forward,” and isn’t interested in making a traditional FPS to serve as the next game in the series.
What that means exactly remains to be seen, and we may never find out. The Half-Life series writer left Valve four months ago, and at the time of his departure, claimed to know nothing about Half-Life 3, which doesn’t bode well for those looking forward to the game. Of course, he could be playing coy to avoid violating potential non-disclosure agreements he signed with Valve, but considering the long wait fans have had to endure for the game, it’s certainly possible that the game isn’t in development at all.
While Valve used to be concerned with making games, the company has since shifted its focus to its Steam marketplace and developing virtual reality technology. With this new direction for the company, the prospect of Half-Life 3 seems even less likely than it did years ago. However, with May 24th marking the 10 year anniversary that the game was originally announced, perhaps Valve will surprise fans with an update on the long awaited Half-Life 3 – but don’t count on it.
Half-Life 2: Episode 3 was in development for PC and unspecified consoles.