Though the Half-Life news we have for today can be filed under yet another disappointing look at what could have been, it’s actually quite revelatory in terms of its source and connection to the overarching narrative of Half-Life 2. These concept images (seen above) are for what was to be called Half-Life 2: Episode 4 — Return to Ravenholm.

Developed by Arkane Studios (who delivered last year’s Dishonored) few details are known about Return to Ravenholm besides its title and placing in the episodic timeline (more on that in a bit). By all accounts the images give off that very distinct Half-Life feel, even if they feature a few new textures and locales.

Don’t get too ahead of yourself Half-Life fans, though, as the game is said to have been development in 2006 and 2007 before it was inevitably scrapped. Now, some 6 years later an animation demo and concept art have surfaced.

It’s also important to note two things about the images, which can be found at Valve Time, beside the fact the site only mentions their source as a former Arkane developer.

First, Return to Ravenholm presumably skips past what would have inevitably been Half-Life 2: Episode 3, also known as the game we had hoped to see some time in the past few years. As well, the images are concept art and are not indicative of what would have been the finished product.

Valve also has a dedicated mod community out there — an equally likely source for the images — but Valve Time stands by their claim these are official.

That being said, it’s interesting to consider where Half-Life’s episodic storyline might have gone if Valve had kept to a stricter timeline. Moreover, the fact that episode 4 was in development tells us that somewhere Gabe Newell is maniacally laughing knowing that fans will become even more confused by the fact they presumably missed out on two games.

Seriously, though, if Valve doesn’t reveal Half-Life 3 some time soon we have a feeling the fan outrage might hit a fever pitch. And then we’ll just have to wait longer.

What do you think of the concept art for Half-Life: Episode 4 — Return to Ravenholm? How would you like to see Valve pick up where Episode 2 left off?

Source: Valve Time

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