It takes more than grit and gumption to stand out in the great sea of Half-Life 3 rumors. You have to be bold. Original. Willing to cross that bridge of ambiguity with a screenshot, an achievements leak, or a Gabe Newell photo-announcement. And, of course, at the very least, you always have dress the part.

Fortunately, today’s latest “report” on the alleged existence of Half-Life 3 doesn’t disappoint.

An alleged source-close-the-matter is claiming detailed knowledge of Half-Life 3’s release schedule and development process. Not only has Valve’s shooter been predicted as a release “after 2013”, but the rumor posits that its final incarnation has evolved into an open-world shooter with several RPG elements.

Spotted this morning by the International Business Times, the report – published by the French gaming news website Journaldugamer – rides on an anonymous source who’s “close to Valve.” She claims that while Half-Life 3 has already spent significant time in development, “much work” remains on the project, and a release is likely to occur shortly after 2013 (which would almost guarantee a launch on next-gen consoles).

And the reason behind the schedule is what grabs our attention: The source claims that Half-Life 3 has undergone multiple overhauls regarding its design philosophy, and is now an open-world/RPG shooter strongly inspired, of all possibilities, by The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Describing development as “chaotic,” she says Half-Life 3 “failed to be a pure shooter,” began implementing exploration and puzzling elements, and is now focused on what would constitute a complete departure from Gordan Freeman’s linear lineage.

Which, admittedly, makes us doubtful of the source’s credibility. Granted, the time frame doesn’t belie logic – any triple-A title that hasn’t been announced at this point may be better off waiting until the next console generation, and given Valve’s ardor for pushing future boundaries, Half-Life 3’s aspirations are certain to be huge – but really? Development “chaos?” A Skyrim-inspired shooter? It would explain Valve and Valve boss Gabe Newell’s czarist no-Half-Life 3-information policy. But it would also contravene the studio’s long-held reputation as a corridor-shooter genius – a style that permeates its resume from Half-Life and Portal and Counter Strike to Team Fortress and Left 4 Dead.

Half Life 3 RPG Open World 2013

That’s not to say it’s impossible, though; Metal Gear Solid – even if there has been growing discontent with its aging formula – looks early on like it might thrive from the open-world shift of Ground Zeroes. While Valve would have to reconcile the move with its famously die-hard Half-Life fanbase, their uncanny ability to eschew deadlines and public pressure would likely ensure we don’t see the game until it looks fantastic.

Ranters, how would you react if Half-Life 3 was announced as an open-world shooter, tinged with the elements of RPGs like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? With the independent Half-Life remake Black Mesa releasing last week on Steam, could the company be prepping a new announcement on long-awaited title?

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: Journaldugamer [via International Business Times]