One of the video game industry’s biggest players, Valve, has already released one of the year’s biggest titles in Portal 2 and while the developer is subject to insurmountable speculation and rumors about the their future projects, they have confirmed that they will not be at E3 2011 taking appointments.

Does that mean that Half-Life 3 will be not announced? Not quite.

While Valve may not be booking private demos or booth tours with media to showcase their in-development projects, this doesn’t restrict them from making surprise appearances at any of the “big three” press conferences. And by that I mean, Valve could easily step on stage during Nintendo’s conference on the morning of Tuesday, June 7th, and announce Left 4 Dead 3 as a Nintendo Wii 2 launch title. The same could be said for a port of Portal 2 for Sony’s NGP handheld.

Valve had a special Portal 2 event planned for E3 2010, but at the last minute cancelled, promising a special surprise. That surprise ended up up being Gabe Newell showing up on stage for the first time during Sony’s conference to announce Portal 2 on the PlayStation 3. With Portal 2 out, Valve is certainly working on other projects – it’s just a question of when they want to make it officially known to the world.

Could they show up during one (or more) of the conferences with something the gaming world has long been waiting for: Half-Life 3 (and yes, they’re skipping Half-Life 2: Episode 3)?  Maybe they could reveal a trailer for Left 4 Dead 3?

Valve has no need to be at E3 this year to raise hype for their games, especially if they are not planning any to release this year. They can announce another installment for their upcoming titles at any time and succeed in pleasing their vast built-in fan base, but we’d love to see what they’re working on because it’s not a stretch to expect their next game will hit next year.

What are your predictions?

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Header image edited by art from DeathPoint.