In an alternate timeline, we all got to play Half-Life 3 years ago. But in this one, we haven’t even been able finish the saga of Half-Life 2. Today, however, we can get a bit of closure, since ex-Valve scribe Marc Laidlaw has posted his version of Half-Life 2: Episode 3’s story in the form of gender-swapped fan fiction.
Episode 3 would have been pretty bonkers, judging by the synopsis, published by Laidlaw as a letter from mute physicist Gertrude Fremont, Ph.D. His site is, not surprisingly, struggling under all the traffic, so here’s an archived version.
Freeman, or Fremont, and their pals trek across chilly Antarctica after their seaplane gets shot out of the sky, eventually finding a defended facility and the Aperture Science vessel, Borealis. Well, they sort of find it. It’s phasing in and out of time and space. Eventually they get onboard, leading to what could have been Half-Life’s most impressive scenes: a fight on a ship that’s hurtling through time and space.
The ending leaves things open, and many questions unanswered. Mossman dead, Alyx disappearing with the G-Man, the Borealis largely useless as a weapon against the Combine---I mentioned getting closure earlier, but I take it back.
"My intention was that Ep3 would simply tie up the plot threads that were particular to HL2," Laidlaw said in June. "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."
Obviously this might as well be fanfic at this point. Laidlaw is no longer with Valve and who knows if we’ll ever see more Half-Life. But it’s a fascinating look at what could have been.