'The dumpster would fly across the alley and slam into the wall,' says Warren Spector of Half-Life 2's ill-fated magnet gun

In March, new images from Junction Point's cancelled Ravenholm-set Half-Life 2 episode emerged. Led by Warren Spector, the studio's take on the eerie zombie town was said to include a Magnet Gun—a twist on Freeman's iconic Gravity Gun—and the creator has now explained what its function within his game would've been. 

Speaking in this month's PC Gamer UK magazine, Spector affirms Ravenholm was not simply an outpost in the ill-fated story's campaign, but that the episode was to be set there entirely. 

"We wanted to tell the story of how Ravenholm became what it was in the Half-Life universe," Spector tells us. "That seemed like an underdeveloped story that fans would really enjoy. In addition to fleshing out the story of Ravenholm, we wanted to see more of Father Grigori and see how he became the character he later became in Half-Life 2."

Speaking to the Magnet Gun, Spector explains how it would use projectile magnetic balls to attract metal objects from a remote location. Even in writing the examples he describes sound like great fun.

"It went through several iterations, but the one I remember was one where you'd fire a sticky magnetic ball at a surface and anything made of metal would be forcefully attracted to it," says Spector. "You could fire it at a wall across an alley from a heavy metal dumpster and wham! The dumpster would fly across the alley and slam into the wall. You can imagine the effect on anything approaching you in the alley—either squashed or blocked. 

"Or you could be fighting two robots and hit one with a magnet ball and they’d slam together making movement or combat impossible for them. Or you could be trying to get across a high-up open space with an I-beam hanging from a cable in the middle. Stand on the I-beam, fire a magnet ball at the far wall, the beam swings across the gap, walk off it, done."

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