The number 3 must not be said

Some news (or lack of news) from Gabe Newell about Valve’s franchises.

This comment from Newell is particularly revealing:

The issue with Half-Life for me is that I was involved in a much higher percentage of the decisions about the games, so it’s hard for me to look at them as anything other than a series of things I regret. There’s no information in my response about what we’ll do in the future. It’s simply easier for me to be a fan of things that in which I was less directive.

He also says that there’s a chance that Valve will introduce a new IP that takes place in the Half-Life/Portal universe. Of course that’s not a confirmation, but if the story is continued, perhaps we’ll see it told through a new IP rather than a direct Half-Life 2 sequel.

There’s also this news from a year ago, where the sole writer of Half-Life 1 and 2 announced his retirement from Valve. So if there is a new Half-Life game, it would likely be written by a new writer (or team of writers). Whatever story Half-Life’s writer had in mind may or may not be continued.

My guess from all of this - and it really is a guess - is that Half-Life 3 is not in active development. Valve is a company that explores new approaches to gaming, so if there is a continuation to the story it would need to be break new ground as an FPS or explore some other innovative mechanics. Because the writing does not seem to be a priority here, Valve are possibly waiting on the right gameplay mechanics to emerge before making a continuation they deem worthy.

Now here’s a question for you all: do you think Half-Life 2 needs a sequel, or could the story be continued as a new IP?

The Half Life lore was amazing. They could set another type of game in that universe very easily IMO.

You could continue the story as a new IP, but really why would you want to? Half-Life already has the brand recognition and character development necessary to ensure any sequel will be a mass financial success.

At this point I’m sure Half-Life 3 sales are only a secondary concern for Valve, and they want to put out a fantastic product. Well, the harder they try the harder they’ll fail. Very rarely do innovative products get it right on the first go.

Valve should just accept there are no imminent tech break throughs and just make Half-Life 3 as a standard FPS, albeit with the best, most polished example of everything that’s currently out there in games (graphics, audio, physics, etc).

The Half-Life brand is also associated with innovation, so there’s a risk that the brand’s reputation could be hurt with a standard FPS sequel. It’s like with the Halo games, they became less and less innovative with each release. They may still be solid games, but people don’t think of the series as being a leader of the FPS genre anymore. Same with COD. I thought the Doom reboot was well done because it focused on a different style of FPS gameplay to what we’ve become accustomed to in the last 10-15 years; it felt like it could be the beginning of a new subgenre of modern shooters.

Valve are developing three VR games; does anyone else think that one of these games is Half-Life 3?

I only wish, but I have no faith in Valve these days. They seem happy to make money doing as little as possible.

Steam these days is old, allows to much garbage through, and in general isn’t as necessary to me as it used to be. Searching for games have become a nightmare. To many of these games are early access betas that do not end up getting finished. Anything new I want to buy I am already prioritizing on GOG due to being DRM free. My distaste for Steam has even caused me to avoid buying Humble Bundles due to most being Steam exclusive.

The few titles I have bought on Steam like the new Deus Ex were picked up heavily discounted as it wasn’t available anywhere else. Right now, HL3 being released and tieing up the story without continued cliff hangers would be the only way for them to make me stay in the Steam ecosystem. Otherwise with as few new games I buy now, I am perfectly happy sticking to my backlog and any new releases on GOG.

I’ve been wondering about that. Steam has basically become like a mobile app store, letting almost anything and everything in. GOG’s approach is more of a curated garden. That means that average quality of game releases is going to be higher, but with stricter curation seems to come delays. For example, two indie games that I purchased last year Firewatch and Undertale didn’t arrive on GOG until quite some time after their initial releases, and I had already purchased them on Steam/Humble by then; this seems to be true of a lot of releases. GOG are getting better at releasing indie games on the same day as Steam, and have added early access etc, but I can’t help but think they’re not going to be able to directly compete without relinquishing some control… and they may not want to do that. So the Steam + Humble combo for DRM free + client remains quite relevant for gamers seeking new indie games I think, and the GOG Galaxy client still needs work. I will be interested in seeing how things change over the next few years.

Steam isn’t really any better at releasing indie games. There are so many new indie releases these days that a lot of the new ones disappear into the Steam databases and don’t get views. The sorting/filtering in Steam is terrible. You can try and search for a genre, for instance, and games that you expect to show up do not. For major large dev releases Steam works, but if you are trying to find anything else in the store, it is a mess.

As for GOG not getting games until later, I guess I just don’t notice as I am not one to rush out to pick up a game. I just like that the GOG galaxy client is simple and I can also download every game I want to and save it to my backups so that I don’t have to rely on galaxy, or even GOG. The flexibility of games purchased on GOG is what I really enjoy. The fact that they curate releases a bit more seems great to me. I don’t like early release, beta gaming. I want to buy a completed game that just works. Like I said before, a few of the indie games I picked up on Steam were really not finished and some of them still haven’t been updated (Road Redemption and Everspace come to mind).

As to the original topic, the chances of a new Portal or HL just dropped a bit more.

That’s a good point about Steam making it hard to find good indie games among the garbage. GOG usually does a news post for each new release, making the event prominent on the front page.

One of the great things about the Internet is that very easy to release content - good quality or not - so I’m always wary of gatekeepers who might take away some of that freedom for the wrong reasons. But that freedom may be reduced on Steam soon anyway, given that Greenlight is coming to an end. GOG does seem to be a doing a good job with curation and not letting their storefront getting clogged up with low quality releases. I think that if you don’t mind not necessarily having access to games straight away it’s a great place to buy games.

It isn’t looking for story driven games coming from Valve in the forseeable future. Perhaps Half-Life 3 will never be confirmed. :anjou_sad:

Just tried Galaxy again @frelled I somehow missed the fact that with GOG you can download a game using the Galaxy client but after that you don’t have to have the client running to play the game. That’s really cool. For some reason I assumed it was either you manually install it (tedious) or use always use the client (no different to Steam), but this way you can just occasionally open the client to get updates but nothing is forced.

I’m going to pick up a few games in the sale and try playing this way. I already brought across a bunch of games using the awesome GOG Connect service. The main downside I think is the lack of cloud saves.