A new batch of rumors regarding Half-Life 3 have started flying around ever since being dropped by French site journaldugamer. The word is that the game is currently in development, though it has been dropped and revived several times over the years, and is targeted for a release date of 2014 at the earliest.
DISCLAIMER: These are rumors, nothing more. Remember that Valve will not so much as confirm that the game exists at this point. That said, let’s take a look at this stuff and have some fun.
The game’s long development time is supposedly the result of drastic reimaginings that took place each time the game was picked back up. While originally Half-Life 3 was supposedly a “pure shooter” much like Half-Life 2, focus is said to have shifted heavily towards puzzle-solving and free roam exploration-based gameplay, complete with a larger number of NPCs and the addition of sidequests.
The supposed source of these rumors, said to be a “person close to Valve” (sounds legit), goes on to claim that the game will be released sometime after 2013, and may be targeted to release alongside the super-mysterious “Steambox” project.
While these rumors should be taken with a mountain of salt, the suggestion that Half-Life 3 would move towards a more open-world, Rage-like style of gameplay isn’t all that far-fetched. While the original Half-Life confined Gordon to cramped corridors, tunnels and vents of a single facility, Half-Life 2′s action took players all around City 17 and the surrounding areas. The logical progression would almost certainly be a further expansion of the game world’s scope. Quests could be an interesting way to develop side characters and expand on the series’ rather scarce story elements, though until now it has always been Half-Life’s preference to leave many things regarding its plot to the imagination.
If open world does happen, how would transportation be handled? Will we stick to driving around? If so, some major overhauls would be needed to how that works, because Half-Life 2′s long, tedious driving sequences were by far the low point of that game. Perhaps the nod to Aperture Science via their research vessel, the Borealis, can be seen as a hint? Maybe Gordon will make use of their teleportation technology to fight the Combine on a global front?
And what about Valve’s statements in the past about wanting to integrate multiplayer into all of their future games? An open world would likely make for a better experience on that end than, say, allowing a second player to control Alyx during the typical linear campaign. Perhaps some quests would require teamwork to complete, or scale to the number of players participating in them? They probably won’t go all Borderlands on us with the multiplayer mode, but it’s fun to speculate how something like that might work.
Whatever Half-Life 3 actually turns out to be like, at this point I wish Valve would just say something concrete about it. Black Mesa can only hold me over for so long. After almost five years of near complete silence on the series, anything at all would be nice. One thing is for certain: the long silence has led to a plethora of rumors and speculation to draw some good ideas from.