There are running jokes in the video game industry, and then there is the ethereal state of the next Half-Life game. The desire for a Half-Life 3 has become the stuff of legend among fans of the series, and just days ago the latest update on a potential third instalment was that Half-Life 3 may never release after all. The fact is, there are literally millions of gamers who want a third Half-Life game because they are either fans of Half-Life or simply heard so much about the potential for a trilogy that they now want it too.
Given the current state of affairs surrounding the Half-Life series, then, it should come as no surprise what many of the questions put to Valve president Gabe Newell during his Reddit AMA today revolved around. Surprisingly, Newell broke his long-standing tradition of ignoring questions about Half-Life 3 and fielded a few choice inquiries, the most intriguing of which was a simple one word answer:
Newell, better known as Gaben to his fans, didn’t offer more details beyond the affirmation, but it was enough to start rampant Reddit speculation about the possibility of a new title set within the Half-Life universe. However, given the success of the Portal games, it wouldn’t be surprising if Newell’s answer leaned more heavily into exploring the world of Aperture Science than another segment of the Half-Life universe. The Portal games have made Gabe Newell a lot of money, and it is entirely possible he would view making more games like them as the “right” direction for the Half-Life universe.
If there really is a brand new IP coming set within the Half-Life universe, it will be interesting to see how Valve handles the looming specter of Gordon Freeman. Portal succeeded because it relied on its very different tone to separate it from Freeman’s adventures in Half-Life, but a new IP might have to finally address some of the cliffhangers that remain after Half-Life 2. If Valve is hesitant about exploring Freeman’s story because the company and Newell aren’t sure where to take it, they could always reach out to other well-respected developers – Neil Druckmann of Naughty Dog fame joked about acquiring the Half-Life license from Valve, and there would be many other suitors as well should Valve ever decide to go that route.
For now, however, all speculation will be baseless, as Newell’s answer merely states that the Valve boss is open to the idea of a new IP in the Half-Life universe. Even if Valve already has that new IP in development, if Half-Life 3 is any indication, fans could be decades away from discovering what that IP actually is.