Half-Life 2 was released in 2004 and the last game of the series came in 2007 when episode 2 hit on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. We are currently eight years from that point, and still one of the most talked about, anticipated, and sought-after games that has never come to fruition is Half-Life 3. Possibly as infamous as BattleToads has become, Half-Life 3 being announced would turn the gaming world on its head and flip it into a submission hold that would silence the world for a complete second, nothing but dead air. That’s just how big a game Half-Life 3 is to the gaming community and more importantly the industry in general. It may be developed by Valve and mean more to them than anyone else, because of sales, but the rest of the gaming industry takes notice of games like this. It makes everyone better when we see games this highly coveted come into existence. However, this is where the problem en-lies with a game of such prudence. Half-Life 3 and its mythology of development rumors has created a sealing so high, and at times a comical relief in its actual permanence, the games infamy is sometimes hard to grasp. In other-words the hype machine has brought it up and down so much that it is destined to disappoint even the largest of Half-Life fans.
If the game does exist and is being developed by Valve, and whether for a VR Headset or not, potential consumers and fans of the series are going to listen. There have been enough Easter Eggs dropped by the development parties along the way to make even the biggest pessimist believe that there is some plans there to release another title in the series. Just two months ago, Valve insidiously released a link to an app on their site with the Half-Life logo attached to it along with the tantalizing number 3 in-laid. The Motor Crunch Wrote at the time: “This is evident after Valve’s very own Steam network was mistakenly updated with Half Life 3 on it. In detail, Steam listed the App 323900 on their database as Half Life 3. Of course, the reveal has already been removed by Valve”.
We have seen neither hide nor hair from the game since, not even a peep other than conformation from one Valve programmer that pieces have been used in their VR headset to test it. Admitting then that the assets were pulled over simply for the benefit of the headsets application testing and development. “We’ve said, ‘Let’s take some existing art and see how it fits, So yeah, we’ll grab some headcrabs, we’ll grab the machine guns from Half-Life, the rocket launcher-all those different fun things-and see how they play in VR. But right now, it’s a tool for exploring the different kind of game designs we want to do'”. Jeep Barnett said to Kotaku. If the game does exist, why nothing to this point?
For this very reason, there reaches a time when every game passes the point of no return, and Half-Life 3 has reached that crossroads and potentially passed that time as well. Look at the history of games that get stuck in limbo for as long as a game such as Half-Life 3 has. Duke Nukem Forever can be discerned in the same way as Half-Life 3 remaining in development for 15 years before seeing its eventual launch in 2011. That development purgatory damaged the game so much so, that reviewers and fans alike were disgusted at the final product. You would think that a game that has this much time to be developed would be the gold standard of video games, but that is typically quite the contrary.
The issues surround the technology that it runs on and the ever-changing environment of gaming. As things improve, the technology goes with it. This is something that causes for issues surrounding the game and the engines, as well as the amount of refinement that each character and assets within the title can have. Each time the technology changes, so does the development of the title. Along with the development of the title itself, typically the story does not change and never stands the test of time that well either. Even if it does see the same attention and revisions, they struggle to hold together the same level of integrity. The essence of the narration falters and lacks the ingenuity that it once held so firmly on to.
Half-Life 3 is one that will live in infamy as long as it awaits a release and even a launch, a trailer, a hint of the fact that it isn’t just a figment of our imagination. Personally, Half-Life 3 is something that will even get my personal excitement up as well, however I know that the level must be capped and harnessed because so many before that have remained in question have been nothing more than a let down when they hit the shelves. The games always have this aura about them that is a level that they can never live up to. Half-Life 3 will be a title that sells, that gets other companies rejuvenated to see such a iconic game get another run, but truth be told our levels of expectations, with this much time in development and evolving, will always be too much for a game such as it to live up to.