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Every popular video game has its following of wishful thinkers, wannabe designers, and straight-up trolls. None has more hard at work on the next title than Half Life 3. And they've been very busy lately.
There is, of course, this total fakey-fake-mcfakerson website, a goldmine of cognitive dissonance that's not even registered to Valve. Then there was this brilliantly unconfirmable pile of horse dung, later debunked and then disavowed by the friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who heard from a friend at Valve that Gabe Newell had "authorized" certain people to start leaking about Half Life 3.
That hasn't stopped the I-Want-to-Believe Crowd, so late last night, Valve's Chet Faliszek, co-writer on the last two Half-Lifes (and of Portal 2) did the humane thing and took everyone's hope out behind the woodpile and shot it.
"You are being trolled. There is no ARG," Faliszek wrote. "There has been no directive from Gabe to leak anything. That is all false."
Faliszek also specifically debunked the idea that this speech by Wheatley, the Portal 2 AI, in the Spike Video Game Awards a couple weeks ago, contained all sorts of hints and clues and teasers that Half-Life 3 was coming in 2012. "Wheatley's speech was set in Portal 2 fiction—that is all." he said.
Yeah, well, maybe Gabe authorized him to say that, right? Right? Well, Gaming Bolt pinged Gabe about it. (You can too, I guess; he answers his own email). Answer: No.
People have got to realize how far they've sunk to self-parody here—and I'm not talking about the trolls, I'm talking about the believers. Every year, it seems, we have some crackpot troll tell us he's parsed some new sample of numerology and derived the date of the end of the world; and every year it never fucking happens. Not that I want it to, unlike Half-Life 3. But this process has an analogue in Half-Life 3. Every year people create bullshit websites and issue phony proclamations that the day is coming. And it never does.
"I just want to say this so there is no confusion," Faliszek wrote. "This is the community trolling the community nothing more. While it is nice to see people excited about anything HL, I hate seeing people be trolled like this."
It'd look great with that last set of Half-Life LEGO we saw, give those Combine someone to chase after.
You can check out more pics of Lil' Gordon, and some of Brandon's other work, at the link below.
It's slick, it goes to the trouble of adding copyright notices and the essential "small logos" that lend credibility to the site, but come on. This is not how video games are revealed.
Well, it might be, but come on. The website's URL is black-aperture.com, with Black Aperture being the name of a blogging theme for video games. And it's registered not to Valve, but some dude called David Hassen.
Why, then, do I point this out? For two reasons. One, that HL3 logo would make one hell of a wallpaper (so I've resized it accordingly). And two, when you crank the brightness up on the thing, you get a little Valve-related surprise that's a cute touch from whichever troll put this thing together.
Half-Life 3 [Black Aperture]
Figure maker NECA took the wraps off the first Left 4 Dead action figure, the Boomer, which isn't due until well into 2012. NECA's figures can be pretty hit-and-miss when it comes to things like proportions and joints, so it's good to see him looking spot-on.
In addition to the Boomer shots, NECA also showed off a prototype image of a Smoker zombie, which is looking just as good.
Valve's Left 4 Dead Boomer – 1st Full-Color Pic Out! [NECA, thanks John!]
Republished from Rock, Paper Shotgun
I've been playing games on computers for the vast bulk of my life. From BBC Micro to Spectrum to 486 to assorted Athlons to the quad-cored radiator I used today, I've rarely been far from a keyboard. I have seen much, I have played much, I have learned much. But learning so often comes from failure. There have been many, many failures: these are but a few.
More top stories from Rock Paper Shotgun
• Impressions: The Wreckless "I've been playing The Wreckless on and off throughout the day, and during that time there have been moments when I've thought – 'holy crap, this is the answer to my TIE Fighter cravings'"
• The Games Of Christmas '11: Batman: Arkham City "Superhero games exist in a weird bracket where they have to do some of the stuff that superheroes do, within both the constraints of what videogames can do, and within the constraints of what the original fiction says the hero can do."
• The Importance of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. "There's something far more important about S.T.A.L.K.E.R., however, and that's the kind of game it was trying to be – a singularity that is both alien to and coexistent with the tradition of Western shooters."
This one's a bit of a stretch… but then, what am I talking about? It's never a stretch when it comes to Valve.
People are already parsing the video that the company showed at last weekend's Spike Video Game Awards show, in which the Portal 2 character Wheatley put in a humorous, short plea to the audience to A) give him the "Character of the Year" award and B) help him get home.
This being a Valve video, viewers are convinced that the video also contains clues to the studios inevitable (but maddeningly mysterious, eternally unannounced) follow-up to Half-Life 2. Found via Rock, Paper Shotgun, this 1/2-speed video helps to parse whatever clues there were in the 30-second video.
For starters, Wheatley ends his speech by saying "one, one, one," which of course adds up to… three. Also, the text in the video reads "Observation Satellite "Lanthanum," which (apparently) is Greek for "To lie hidden." It is also a medication for use helping those with kidney disorders, and is a chemical with the atomic number 57.
It could be a reference to just about anything, including Wheatley himself ("lying hidden"), but as RPS points out, the first letter of "Lanthanum" in Greek is indeed a Lambda, otherwise known as the symbol for Half-Life.
Hmm. Seems like a stretch to me, but then again, why the heck else would they choose to include a greek word beginning with "L" in their video? Oh, Valve. How you taunt us.
Source: Rock, Paper Shotgun
Made internet famous by similar projects based on the weapons of series like Mass Effect and World of Warcraft, the gun has that post-apocalyptic finish you'd expect, along with some amazing lighting effects that bring the whole thing to life.
If you actually want to own it? It's being auctioned off at a Child's Play dinner in Seattle. Details on how you can take part (and more photos from Dan Almasy, who took all the snazzy pics) at the link below.
It's not a Photoshop and it's not a lie. Seattle-based game developer Chandana "Eka" Ekanayake really did see a Valve Software employee wearing a Half-Life 3 t-shirt at a local developer event last night.
Eka is sure that the man wearing the shirt works for Valve, the great video game company that famously doesn't want to publicly discuss another Half-Life yet/ever/whoknows. But this Valve guy must not be working on the Half-Life 3 floor at Valve HQ, if such a floor exists.
"I got the sense that this developer knew as much about Half-Life 3 as we do, which is absolutely nothing," Eka told Kotaku. "I asked his permission to take a photo because it was the first sign of HL3 I've seen and I'm a huge fan of the series. I sure hope they have it in development."
Eka's company, Uber Entertainment, is making Super Monday Night Combat. Valve? Who knows what they're doing. Maybe they're eschewing Game Informer covers and just announcing new games via t-shirts. Probably not.
I've asked a Valve spokesperson to comment on the shirt and on whether HL3 is in development. If they respond, I'll
be shocked add that to this story.
Eka's Twitter [Thanks, David!]