Half-Life 2: Episode 4 was being developed by Arkane; now cancelled

Phil Savage at

The spies at ValveTime have unearthed some intel about a Half-Life 2: Episode 4 project that was being developed between Valve and Arkane Studios. An anonymous source provided the site with screenshots and animation tests for the now cancelled project - also known as Return to Ravenholm - showing new textures, locations and a curious new HUD element.

While we can't be 100% sure of the legitimacy of the screenshots, Valve's Marc Laidlaw confirmed the existence of the project last year. Speaking to Lambda Generation, he said, "We are big fans of Arkane and wanted to come up with a project we could work on together. We threw ideas around, they built some cool stuff, but we eventually decided that it didn't make sense to pursue it at the time."

"As I recall, we felt like a lot of the staples of Ravenholm – headcrabs and zombies! – were pretty much played out, and the fact that it would have to take place sometime before the end of Episode 2 (so as not to advance beyond where Valve had pushed the story) was a creative constraint that would hamper the project... and Arkane."

The screenshots are below, along with a video ValveTime produced collecting together all the media they received. I'm really curious about what the "Absorption" HUD counter is referring to. Any guesses?