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."
Dec 23, 2011
Even though Lego Lord of the Rings has been announced, we reckon they’re fast running out of franchises to render in acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. Lego James Bond is the one we always mention when we see the Traveller’s Tales guys, but so far we’ve had no luck convincing them that squashing a plastic version of Sean Bean with a giant satellite array would be a very good thing.
Flickr user Catsy has completely inspired us to believe that a Lego version of Half-Life would be the way for Lego to go. As Kotaku reported, he/she has created a Lego version of Gordon Freeman using stock Lego bits and bobs, equipped with a customised Overwatch Standard Issue Pulse Rifle made from a Lego tommy gun.
As Catsy notes, Freeman needs a little more smoothing and painting. But between his/her and Orrange Stahl’s attempts at Lego Half-Life, we think there’s more than enough to convince the Danish toy giants to create Lego versions of Freeman, Alyx Vance, The G-Man et al. Who knows, maybe they could even make a game of it.
Dec 22, 2011
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]
Dec 15, 2011
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!]
Dec 13, 2011
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.
- I spent what was then my life savings on a Voodoo 2 card – my first ever 3D card – specifically to play Half-Life. Excitedly fitting the card and installing the game, I was depressed by how poorly it performed, how the game would only run in software mode, and how any sequences that involved swimming were impossible because the entire screen turned flat, soup-thick grey. I should have bought an ATI Rage, I thought. I didn't play many games for a while, because they either didn't run or looked hideous. PC gaming wasn't me for me, I decided – too expensive, too inconsistent, too mysterious. It was a full year before, when opening up my PC to fit a new hard drive, I realised the Voodoo was only resting lightly on the edge of its slot. A little gentle finger pressure later, a whole new world awaited.
- Having breezed my way through Quake 1 on easy with only a few hundred deaths, I confidently accepted the challenge of an older acquintance to hook our PCs together with a serial cable and engage in dramatic deathmatch. I'd absolutely murder him, I was sure of it – and I told him so. I think I even bet him a Mars Bar or something. Of course, he knew what strafing was. I didn't. And I was playing on cursor keys with left and right set to slowly turn rather than sidestep. And I wasn't using a mouse. I believe, to this day, that this was the formative moment that made me primarily a singleplayer gamer, often nervous to the point of terror about stepping onto a server in case that dread childhood humiliation is repeated.
- A little later, after my Voodoo 2-inspired sabbatical, the release of Aliens vs Predator led to my deciding to build a new PC from scratch. I'd never done this before, but I had upgraded pretty much every common component at some point or another. What could go wrong? Blazing, humiliating rows with the impatient manager of a PC hardware shop in Swansea coloured a full month of my student life, with him stubbornly refusing to refund what I'd paid for a motherboard that clearly did not work. I can't remember how we worked out that I'd bolted the board directly onto the PC case – no static-blocking separators or washers or the like, just screwed straight onto the bare metal. The first time I turned the new build on, the motherboard and everything attached to it was instantly fried. So I never did get my refund from that angry Welshman. But I did send the motherboard back to its manufacturer, plead ignorance and somehow wangle a replacement.
- I was convinced Thief was a jolly cartoon PlayStation platformer until around 2001. I have no idea what I was actually thinking of.
- The first time I played it, I couldn't complete Doom II without cheating. From the second level onward.
- I managed to hack some ancient, incredibly basic but undeniably entertaining DOS game about trying to catch fish that fell from the sky with a basket so that the introductory screen declared I had written it. This copy of the game somehow made it all the way over school, most every pupil with access to the computer room spending their lunchtimes playing it. Normally something of an invisible man to my peers, for a short time I was approached with something like reverence. "Did you really make that fish game?" I'd smile smugly and say something like "oh, y'know, piece of piss." My invisible status returned all too swiftly when another pupil wandered in one day with an elderly boxed retail copy of the Spectrum version of the game in question, whose manual declared a rather different author.
- As a young boy impatiently wanting to access to my family's PC so I could play more X-COM, I would occasionally sneak out to the garage and flip the electricity breaker switch to interrupt my mother's word processing (she was studying for an Open University history course) in the hope she'd give up. "Another power cut?" I'd wonder innocently as she fumed. "This probably wouldn't happen so much if we didn't live in the middle of nowhere."
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• 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."
- In my initial forays into World of Warcraft – on its original beta – I had no idea whatsoever of MMO lingo. Playing primarly solo as a Night Elf priest, I fought what I believed to be a titanic battle against a pack of gnolls (about three), somehow surviving by a whisker. Another player had wandered up to watch me and my eventual victory, and as I self-adoringly wrote in a magazine preview of my experiences a little later, he uttered "way to go" in awe at my actions. Because I was amazing – he knew it, I knew it and the reading public of PC Format magazine should know it. Of course, what he'd actually said was ‘WTG' as he'd spotted how cackhandedly I was fighting and thought I needed a hand, but I didn't know the abbreviation for Want To Group? back then. Thank the lord not too many people were still reading PC magazines by that point.
- I critically mis-described the Witcher 1 combat controls in a magazine review, which was then used as incontrovertible evidence by a small but very loud and utterly fearsome contingent of outraged Witcher fans as to why my 68% score for the game was because I was an idiot, rather than because I didn't like it that much. I will, I suspect, never escape that shadow. (It was a lousy review in many other ways, in fairness – I'd been given way too short a deadline for a massive game, and did a horrid rush job. Lesson learned: I always take/ask for more time if I need it now, or pass the game onto someone else if I can't/aren't allowed to give it the hours required.) I still shudder.
- I've said this before I know, but I was humiliated in front of my entire history class for drawing dozens crude Dune 2 Ornithopters on my exercise book when the teacher noted my lack of attention and asked me who Churchill was.
- Believing it to be my likely big break, I sent a reader review of Deus Ex into PC Zone. It was 90% ranting some crazy grievance about ladders I can't even fully recall now, and said nothing of the game's achievements. Suffice to say they didn't publish it, but I live in fear it still exists in someone's inbox and could be unearthed.
- I bought the PC version of Street Fighter II.
This is my shame. What is yours?
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.
Dec 2, 2011
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!]
It's just a man in a T-shirt of course, but there's a Half-Life 3 logo on the front of it and a Valve employee inside it.
Art director and executive producer at UberEnt (the team behind Super Monday Night Combat) posted the photo above on Twitter with the message "All I'm saying is I saw this at a local game developer event worn by a Valve employee," sensibly attaching a #ValveTrolling hashtag. He couldn't get any more info out of Valve's man but he confirms that "I did try to smother my face in his chest on the HL3 logo." This did not help.
A long time ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, Valve announced that they'd release three follow up episodes for Half-Life 2, allowing them to put out shorter stories at a faster clip. The episodes so far have taken longer and longer to develop, and Episode 2 ended up being longer than most modern shooter campaigns. Years on from Episode 2's release, it would make sense for the next game to ditch the episode format and become Half Life 3. Recently, the Cambridge Student asked Gabe Newell whether he considers releasing Half-Life 2 sequels in an episodic form a mistake. "Not yet," he said.
Valve have repeatedly said that they're still committed to the Half Life series. We'll surely see another one one day. WE JUST WANT TO KNOW HOW IT ENDS.