Of course everyone still cares about Half Life. *nervous laughter* I do, however, have to address the issue of just where in the hell’s our highly-anticipated Half-Life 3. Do people still care? It means a lot to many gamers as the ground-breaking series reshaped what game design is today. But it’s been a long stretch since the last main entry and people are getting anxious.
If any news does emerge about Half-Life 3, will people even care? Will the younger generations appreciate Valve’s golden child, or will they most likely be caught up in the likes of Battlefield or Call of Duty. That said, why is it that loyal fans are happy to wait without fear that HL3 would become the next Duke Nukem.
The original Half-Life was simple, engaging, and exceedingly focused compared to many games at the time. We had the legendary Deus Ex which delivered a fantastic FPS, RPG experience that integrated sci-fi elements. But Half-Life was the kind of game that reimagined the classic FPS and implemented a stronger design and thought-provoking gameplay. It gained a huge fan-base and when a sequel was announced, people cheered. Sadly, Half Life 2 was met with a mother-load of delays, but thankfully, the game got made and plenty of folks adored it.
Half-Life 2 used a remarkable source engine to make a fantastic physics system, stunning facial animations, and dynamic new gameplay opportunities that only the biggest technological advancements could provide – some that inspired designers to develop games that would, as a whole, change gaming itself. Some fans were disappointed with the simple gameplay and the tired narrative that resulted in the most prolonged road trip ever. The main issue, though? The cliffhanger ending.
Half-Life 2 was, in short, a labor of love six years in the making that went through its share of changes as development went on. Fans waited eagerly for its arrival and while a majority loved the game and what it brought, a few didn’t. We were thankfully blessed with HL2‘s episodes, a sort of afterwards expansion of the main game’s story. These further developed the gameplay, but disappointingly left us with even more cliff-hangers.
Episode 2 was the one that generated a lot of dislike with fans. And considering episode 3 was meant to come out shortly after and dolefully after eight years, it doesn’t look like it will. This could be a worrying sign that Valve have left Half-Life 3 on the back-burner for too long, meaning they’re not or ever will be prepared to release a product their happy with.
It seems as though many Half-Life fans are patiently waiting with calm expressions at the ready, chanting the same defensive phrase to everyone asking where HL 3 went. “It’ll be here soon, genius takes time and Valve will deliver.” HL has gained a legion of loyal fans who love the series and all that it has and will offer to the years to gamers and the industry. So why are fans so cool about this huge waiting time?
From their track record, the Valve team’s pretty good at making games and’ll always deliver. It does produce outstanding work even when it takes some time. Redeveloping and cutting out whole segments of a game to perfect it are good reasons to delay a half-finished game. They also put a lot of work into the Source engine and recent news explains that the new Source engine is being introduced. This could mean great physics, graphical enchantments and organic lighting and sound design for their games.
Yet some wonder whether Valve’s lost the means to make a game and if that’d make an impact in an industry that demands something new and engaging simply to survive. To help revive trust in gamers and bring back a new age of gaming? I doubt it…not yet.
It’s extremely difficult to create something new in a beloved series without trashing the original formula. We can trust Valve and good ‘ole Gabe to ensure their games will always give us something cool. But so many developers have done everything possible with gameplay, it seems. Is there anything new and exciting to bring to the FPS genre? Has Valve just hit a wall?
Portal was originally an idea by a group of college students Valve hired and developed the idea from there. Half Life 2’s episodes came out when the current games where introducing more engaging mechanics and matched by the likes of Modern Warfare (one of the few good CoD games) with its brilliantly structured set-pieces and intense FPS gameplay.
Half-Life 2 wasn’t the only game changer around. Resident Evil 4, Gears of War, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and a few others did their part to advance gaming and bring in new mechanics and game-play opportunities. Sadly, we’ve not had another game changer to really make that type of impact. It’s sad times indeed when millions of people consider Dark Souls top be the game to change everything. Many hope that Half-Life 3 will start a new Renaissance of gaming.
One thing that might be keeping Half-Life 3 from being released is that the game changer’s not a game itself, but a peripheral to enhance player interaction: the VR headset. Half-Life’s reported to be in develop for the use of VR allowing players to immerse into a game and as the iconic Freeman. Or hopefully, the game will develop new mechanics that will benefit FPS’s and other genres too. Valve’s always been interested in creating new technologies that actually advance memorable gameplay within the game or outside it.
There’s also some talk that Half-Life 3 could incorporate characters and gameplay elements from Portal elements – something that’d be completely mind-blowing. If Portal becomes a VR game, get ready to be sick.
Valve has respect for gaming and never steeps down to do the same thing twice. Even the HL2 episodes offered something fresh within the advanced gameplay and mechanics. Don’t worry folks, Valve isn’t anywhere close to being the next developer on the list for annual release cycles. (I don’t need to mention who does this.) They’re perfectionists who just happen to be talented at making video games, even if it may take them decades to make them.
At least Half-Life 3′s not exploited as a marketing tool to draw in the masses to buy a game or come to some shoddy media event. Valve wouldn’t abuse a game’s title or reputation like Bethseda or Id Software would. Half-Life holds a higher regard than the PR stunt that’s been Doom, after all. Hopefully some time soon, we will get news on Half Life 3, we just have to be patient and wait until that day.
Do you still care about Half-Life 3? Do you think it’s ever going to come out? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!