Anyone who wants a lesson in how to speak without really saying anything should listen to Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director of Valve. That’s not said to denigrate Mr. Newell, of course. Valve is one of the most respected brands in gaming, with innovations like the digital distribution platform Steam, titles like Portal and Team Fortress 2, and the upcoming virtual reality system Vive to its credit. It’s incredibly likely that none of those would’ve happened without Newell’s leadership.
However, for all of its fan-friendliness, Valve’s fallen down on the job in one key area: its once-flagship Half-Life franchise. The first Half-Life title changed first-person shooters forever, with an immersive world and best-in-class storyline that was only rivaled by its breathtaking gameplay. To this day, Half-Life is still considered one of the greatest games ever made. Half-Life 2 upped the ante, introducing Valve’s then-revolutionary Source Engine and a physics system that was both strikingly realistic and a lot of fun. Half-Life 2 was followed by two episodic follow-ups, the last of which ended on a massive cliffhanger.
That was in 2007. Since then, fans have patiently waited for Valve to return to the Half-Life universe, answering lingering questions while (hopefully) continuing the series’ tradition of radical innovation. After all, this is a world where Duke Nukem Forever came out (and subsequently disappointed), and Final Fantasy Versus XIII is, however improbably, still in development. Half-Life 3 can’t be that far behind, right?
Think again. In an interview with Geoff Keighley, Newell seems to put the kibosh on seeing the long-awaited sequel any time soon. The reason? Half-Life might be too traditional. Newell says:
The only reason we’d go back and do like a super classic kind of product is if a whole bunch of people just internally at Valve said they wanted to do it and had a reasonable explanation for why….
If you want to do another Half-Life game and you want to ignore everything we’ve learned in shipping Portal 2 and in shipping all the updates on the multiplayer side, that seems like a bad choice.
Instead of returning to its classic roots, Newell says, Valve will “keep moving forward,” although he does note that that “doesn’t necessarily always mean what people are worried that it might mean.”
Ultimately, that’s a slick way for Newell to neither confirm nor deny anything. A traditional Half-Life 3 sounds like its out of the running. Something a little more daring, however? For example, the rumored virtual reality edition? Don’t rule that out – not just yet, anyway.
Source: Geoff Keighley