Valve's 'Portal 2' ARG Hints at Half-Life 3/Episode 3

Valve Hints At Half Life 3 Gordon Half Life 3 Logo

Rumors surrounding the third installment in the Half-Life franchise have been around since not long after the release of Half-Life 2: Episode 2. For years it has seemed as if Valve was on the verge of announcing another Gordon Freeman adventure, but alas it has yet to happen. Don’t give up hope though, according to some clever sleuthing within Valve’s latest alternate reality game, the next Half-Life game may be just around the corner.

Valve is known for not rushing the development of their games to the point that the term “Valve time” has been widely accepted to mean, taking one’s sweet time. Additionally, some have attributed the delay of a Half-Life 2 sequel directly to the success of Steam. While there isn't concrete evidence of this, it certainly seems plausible.

The recent Portal 2 ARG began on April Fool’s Day and has been messing with fans' heads since then. A series of somewhat mysterious events have been unfolding across the internet and on Valve’s popular platform Steam. One of the most entertaining parts of the ARG has been the Potato Sack bundle on Steam. The bundle contains 13 indie games at a very reduced price, and Valve claims the release of Portal 2 will be accelerated by playing these games more.

Now, another tidbit from the ARG has some people convinced that Valve has a Half-Life 2: Episode 3 or Half-Life 3 announcement coming soon. A connection has been drawn between an image of “hacked Portal 2 information” and a location in Half-Life 2: The Lost Coast. Check out the progression below.

Valve Hints At Half Life 3 Hacked Portal Code

The below image was created from the original hazy image above through masking techniques.

Valve Hints At Half Life 3 Borealis

That may not seem like much, but take a closer look.

Valve Hints At Half Life 3 Lost Coast 1
Valve Hints At Half Life 3 Lost Coast 2

Are you convinced? This connection may seem a little far-fetched, but Valve is known for not holding back when it comes to the difficulty of their puzzles. Personally, I think the work in uncovering this is impressive, but I’m still not sure what it means regarding the next Half-Life game. After all, this could just be Valve’s way of teasing gamers who are obsessed with knowing more about the series. Or maybe the next Half-Life game will include the Portal gun? Regardless, those who did the work in finding the link between the above images deserve major kudos.

Until Valve releases an official announcement, gamers will be left wondering what’s next. In my opinion, the most likely situation is that Valve releases a semi-short Half-Life 2: Episode 3 in the near future along with the promise that Half-Life 3 is in the works. They will take their sweet time (as usual) and Half-Life 3 will be the series’ magnum opus.

It has been over three years since the release of Half-Life 2: Episode Two and over six years since the original Half-Life 2. Many gamers love the series, but are starting to get impatient because of the lag in between sequels. With Portal 2 releasing in a few days, I don’t think it is much of a stretch to think that Valve will reveal Half-Life 3/Episode 3 during this year’s E3.

Is this whole thing wishful thinking or is there a true connection between the images and an upcoming Half-Life announcement?

We still have no official information regarding the release of the next Half-Life game, but Portal 2 will be available on April 19, 2011 for Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Mac. Check out our review now!

Source: LO-PING

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