Half-Life 3 would likely have ended without resolution, says Marc Laidlaw

Half-Life 3, aka the Half-Life game that doesn't exist, probably wouldn't have tied off any narrative loose ends anyway, according to series writer Marc Laidlaw. The former Valve staffer and Half-Life 2 writer said as much in a new interview over at Arcade Attack, and the reason? So that there could be more Half-Life games, of course.

Asked whether Half-Life 3 will ever be released, Laidlaw was pretty blunt. "No idea," he said, before confirming he wouldn't return to the company even if it did return to active development. 

"I had ideas for Episode 3," he said. "They were all supposed to take the series to a point where I could step away from it and leave it to the next generation. I had hoped for a reset between HL2 and HL3 that was as dramatic as the shift between HL1 and HL2. I honestly don’t know if anyone else shared this goal, but it seemed important to me to give ultimate freedom to whoever inherited the series, with my own personal set of loose ends tied up to my satisfaction. 

"Unfortunately, I was not able to do that," he continued. "But I never thought as far ahead as HL3, unless you were to say that HL3 and Episode 3 were the same thing. I will say that I expected every installment would end without resolution, forever and ever…"

Sounds promising! Oh, and Half-Life 3 or HL2 Episode 3 wouldn't result in the end of Gordon Freeman's story necessarily. "There was some rumor going around that Ep3 or HL3 would end Gordon Freeman’s story, and I don’t think that was accurate. My intention was that Ep3 would simply tie up the plot threads that were particular to HL2. But it would still end like HL1 and HL2, with Gordon in an indeterminate space, on hold, waiting for the next game to begin. So one cliffhanger after another."

So there you have it: even if there was a Half-Life 3, it would likely only leave you wanting for a Half-Life 4, and then a Half-Life 5, and then more and more Half-Life games, until finally the apocalypse arrives, and computers no longer work (because there's no electricity!). Perhaps under those circumstances, as we trawl the ruins of our civilisation in search of Spam cans and undiseased rats, we would still be in want of a new Half-Life.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.