UPDATE: The alleged Half-Life 3 copyright turned out to be fake. So this article still has a valid argument. I’m not saying I don’t want Half-Life 3 to ever happen, I just don’t see it happening. Please refrain from negative comments, disagreeing is fine as long as it’s polite.  – Joshua Mobley

Last week Valve announced its SteamOS software and Steam Machines console. Many hoped that during the week, Valve would announce a killer app for its new console. Theories and expectations pointed to either Left 4 Dead 3 or the long awaited Half Life 3. However, all of the announcements were Steam Machine related and no new software was announced. It’s getting to the point where people are starting to lose hope that Half Life 3 will ever be developed and honestly I don’t expect to see it in my lifetime.

Half Life 3

When Half Life was first released it was hailed as a revolutionary shooter experience; then Half Life 2 was released and pushed the bar even further. However, in this day and age, Half Life 2 is starting to look and feel dated. Its revolutionary ideas have been done over and over again to the point that Half Life 2 doesn’t feel as special as it did when it was first released. If Half Life 3 were to be released it would have to do something completely different and stick to the series-long tradition of innovating the shooter genre. If Valve released Half Life 3 it would be met with much love and hate. Many would love that they finally got a conclusion to a story they’ve been waiting years to wrap up. However, many would have certain expectations, and if  those weren’t met people would be incredibly upset. The pressure of trying to please all of their fans might be a crucial part of why the team at Valve isn’t developing, or talking, about Half Life 3 at all.

Valve CEO Gabe Newell has been talking about the free-to-play genre for years. The last game Valve released was Dota 2, a free-to-play MOBA title. Valve also re-released its highly popular shooter Team Fortress 2 as a free-to-play title. If the trend continues it would seem that Valve is only interested in making free-to-play titles as opposed to full fledged games. Valve makes more money off of community created items than they ever did selling $60 games. In fact Valve has even stopped making content for its free-to-play games. Instead Valve  steps aside and lets the community create the premium content for the games. Valve also takes a cut of the fund generated by community item purchases ensuring a large cash flow from titles like Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2. With this business model making Valve money hand over fist why would the company ever go back to making $60 premium titles? I feel like the only way Valve would consider making Half-Life 3 is if it could somehow give it to you for free and offer optional content for a price. However, Half Life would not fit into this model well since it’s built as a full title.

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57 comments
Rune the Red Panda
Rune the Red Panda

Half life 3 (and L4D3) was confirmed by Counter-Strike Co-Creator, along with Gabe Newell confirming the Source2 leak.

Dan
Dan

I agree that you won't see HL3, but for a much less complicated reason. Gabe Newell doesn't feel like making it, that's it.

John McLoughlin
John McLoughlin

A well thought out and reasoned argument. And kudos to you Joshua for replying to the comments. I'd love to see HL3 happening but I'm losing hope at this point. It's been a long time. And my dream of a portal/half life crossover is never, ever going to happen.

Chris
Chris

Half-life 3 is coming; it's a perfect storm: Steam OS comes out, Oculus Rift consumer version comes out, and Half-Life 3 pushes the envelope on shooters by being the first made-for-immersive VR video game, pushing both the VR/Oculus Rift experience and Steambox sales. :) Just my thoughts.

Jonathan Justin Hard
Jonathan Justin Hard

If there is no money in full 60 dollar games, tell me why GTA V made over a billion dollars in a weekend and has become the most successful entertainment launch in history.

Ziggy Nobutz Forewe
Ziggy Nobutz Forewe

Honestly? No matter if or when they do make Half Life 3, it's guaranteed not to do as well as they would hope. Remember Duke Nukem Forever? You can't have a game delayed that long without it failing due to never being able to match expectations. HL3 is already doomed to fail because it's been too long in coming out.

STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM
STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM

Valve used to be my favorite game developer, but now I pretty much hate them, I consider Portal 2 to be their swansong maybe they might make a comeback, but if all they care about is free-to-play garbage then fuck them

Avi Bernshaw
Avi Bernshaw

Have you considered the idea that Valve might use it's own Greenlight community, coupled with insane amounts of front page and banner advertising in the Steambrowser, as a Kickstarter type thing to test the waters? As you said, Gabe's a good businessman, and he effectively runs the platform. If the Homestuck guys can raise a an 8 figure budget in less than a week, I'm 100% certain Valve could absolutely guarantee millions upon millions of dollars in presales with slightly discounted rates, and higher tier rewards like having people's faces skinned onto backgrounds characters, or sending people crappy little plastic crowbars.

Jared Jeanquart
Jared Jeanquart

This is all true, except I think you're leaving out an important element: Valve is a GAME company, and it employs people who want to make GAMES. This isn't EA, where all the higher-ups are Money Men who could be making microwaves for all the shits they give. Most of the people at valve are/SHOULD BE creative types, not mercenary code-monkeys. And if Valve has ALL the money, then they can afford to take risks and maybe lose a bit of short-term revinue by creating a masterpiece that their fans will love. Its the equivalent of giving money away to charity; something that astronomically rich people do all the time. You seem to think that Gabe Newell has been turned into some sort of soulless ghoul who only cares about making money. But Valve's a small company with one of those fancy unconventional structures; being incredibly rich doesn't CONSTRAIN them to only do things to make even more money, it FREES them to do shit that other companies wouldn't be able to do.

TheRealTimewarp
TheRealTimewarp

Companies copyright things all the time to keep the IP protected.

TheRealTimewarp
TheRealTimewarp

Actually I'd say with the way FPS Games are going these days, the industry needs a game like Half Life 3 that'll break the mold for the FPS Genre. I mean I can't see the likes of Call of Duty or even Battlefield setting the standard and to be honest apart from Bioshock, Half Life is the only game I can see doing that. Not just in the way of gameplay but also storytelling which if you look at the industry at the moment, that's something a lot of people fall short on. A lot of the next-gen games look good but what about their stories? The only next-gen game I can see having an interesting story is The Order and that's got an entire year to show how bland and boring it actually is (Seriously guys, remember back when Watch Dogs looked like it might have an interesting premise). We don't need Half Life to finish some storyline but to show the others how you make a game with brilliant gameplay and an amazing storyline where the main character doesn't even speak a line of dialogue.

OIOIOI
OIOIOI

F*ck HL3. We want Portal 3.

Joshua_Mobley
Joshua_Mobley

I think if he wants it done, he wants it done right. Also he seems more keen on their new business model which makes then a lot of money. HL3 doesn't really conform to it.

pacpunk
pacpunk

No problem, love keeping the conversation going

pacpunk
pacpunk

I wouldn't count on it

pacpunk
pacpunk

I didn't say there is no money in AAA games, it's just harder to make a profit. Also Half-Life isn't as well known as GTA believe it or not. No way in hell HL3 would make a billion dollars profit. It would probably sell 10 million copies max. You're also forgetting that GTAV costs a quarter of a billion dollars to develop in the first place. Half Life in no way compares to the popularity of GTA.

Danix Defcon 5
Danix Defcon 5

Yet it isn't the only game with a 10+ year gap between installments. HL2 was 6 years after 1; and I'd add up StarCraft 2 which didn't just take 12 years to get released (the same as DNF's delays), but the second episode took 3 years to get released as well! None of those games suck.

usman muhammad
usman muhammad

Have you heard of Shadow Warrior? The reboot of the old shadow warrior? I wished they used the same voice actor but that game blew me away. So, your argument doesn't count on all games released after years. Only the shitty ones :)

Scase
Scase

DNF wasn't bad because it took 10 years, it was bad because it was a crappy 2 weapon limit, cover based, health regen, every-other-god-damned-shooter-from-2000's. There was nothing that set it apart from any other game other than the IP, even the humour was gone.

Cliff Harald
Cliff Harald

Same here. Nothing they make nowadays entices me tbh. Portal was fun and challenging with it's puzzles, although the story wasn't impressive, but quaint and funny. L4D never even garnered any interest with me as I've come to despise the zombie genre in game/movie/any form. Neither did Dota because it's not a genre I was ever interested in. I'm not asking for them to be solely a Half Life company, but don't leave people hanging on a cliffhanger and say "Bah, we don't care anymore, buy our other products instead". Not happening.

red_greenlight1
red_greenlight1

You might be right about that. You can tell a company has hit rock bottom development wise when they push F2P.

pacpunk
pacpunk

Dota 2 is great though, they made that as well.

pacpunk
pacpunk

I bring that up in the article. " If anything, the only way Half Life 3 would be developed is if it was a community-driven project, or could be converted into a free-to-play format." I think the community should try to make it, Valve probably wouldn't stop them. They let them make Black Mesa and even put that on Steam.

Valaska Averia
Valaska Averia

Yeah but then what about a lot of the developers from the Half Life franchise leaving to other studio's, one of them outright stating "Valve is no longer interested in developing AAA games." http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-07-30-half-life-2-art-director-left-when-valve-stopped-making-aaa-games Many multiple others left, Valve isn't a game company, its a money company just like EA, only EA still produces and in a few of its products, develops actual games, which in its own way is far more admirable to what Valve is doing now... Valve is the real money monger in the gaming industry now adays, for quite awhile really.

Avi Bernshaw
Avi Bernshaw

While even more likely to never EVER happen, if they handed it over to Bethesda to make the single player game, you know you'd be guaranteed an amazing story driven event with insane amounts of replay value... and a way to monetize micro-transactions for community made items even.

pacpunk
pacpunk

I agree, it's not like I don't want Half-Life 3. I would love to play it, especially with todays technology, it could be incredible. The article is about why I don't think they will take to time to make it at all, Valve seems to have a different focus these days. Never the less I would love to see it happen, I just don't think it will.

Avi Bernshaw
Avi Bernshaw

No we really don't. Portal 1 was amazing because the game mechanic had never been done before and the dark humour was interesting. Portal 2 was milked for merchandise and frankly annoying as the jokes were trite and forced making them not nearly as enjoyable as the first time around, and the game mechanic had been done to death by everyone else by then.

Mfilms2000 .
Mfilms2000 .

as a matter of fact, Half life 3 would make more money, because for years everyone has been desperately wanting it to come out, unlike GTA 5. With GTA 5, they announced it, and then everyone freaked out about it. With Half Life 3, it hasn't been announced, and people are freaking out about it even more than GTA 5. And then there who are people like me who love the HL series so much that I would buy like 5 copies of the game.

Garrett
Garrett

Even if half life also costs 250,000 to make, and it is sold for only 50 dollars, it would only take 5000 copies to turn a profit. It could easily make that. All of the money would go back to Valve if they sold it exclusively through Steam rather than retail. Breaking even would in reality cost more due to advertising costs, but the point is that it would not be very hard for it to make a profit.

Danix Defcon 5
Danix Defcon 5

Agreed. When DNF finally came out, it had the same crap limitations and all the awful suckage "features" which plague Call of Halo Battlefield: Evolved Warfare. Duke3D had exploreable levels, much like Doom and Quake; DNF was just short of an on-rails shooter. The little humor they did manage to stick on the game would've been funnier if the game had been actually fun.

Garrett
Garrett

In addition, it was sold to a new company who pushed it out as fast as possible.

STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM
STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM

I can't call them greedy so much as lazy, why put the effort into a full 60$ game when you can just add a few new hats to TF2? I never would imagine that I could call Valve lazy, but here we are

Bkid
Bkid

I disagree. If you want to look for anything resembling a balanced MOBA, look very far away from Dota 2. No doubt it's fun to play, but I don't understand how it can be competitive.

pacpunk
pacpunk

That and Valve is a business, businesses exist to make money.

TheRealTimewarp
TheRealTimewarp

If Bethesda did handle Half Life I'd rather the team behind Dishonored make the game then the guys behind The Elder Scrolls

TheRealTimewarp
TheRealTimewarp

I know, I just think given how important Half Life is to the games industry and the gaming culture I think we'll see Half Life in some shape or form even if it isn't Half Life 3. It's true that one game can't shape the industry but for a genre like FPS that's constantly used, it's amazing how many games stick to the status quo instead of attempting something new. Even with Bioshock Infinite, Ken Levine made a comment on the gameplay that amounted to "It's how everyone else does combat in FPS games so it's how we have to do it" as if because other FPS Games handle combat in a certain way, Bioshock has to do the same. For a game that attempts to explore new methods of storytelling in gaming it's a shame that even Irrational are too afraid to try something new, personally I'd have liked Bioshock Infinite if it had more in the way of puzzle solving.

Mike Lee
Mike Lee

I'm as annoyed as anyone that idiots picked up portal humor and ran with it, but it doesn't make portal 2's use of their own story conventions trite because a bunch of meme jockeys hammered them into the ground until they weren't funny anymore. Portal 2 continued the legacy of Portal by giving us more of what we enjoyed in the original. Interesting physics puzzles and cheeky geek humor. They didn't just stick with the cake joke, they created new characters, made more jokes, which themselves have been adopte as memes, explained the back story of other characters, invented new and interesting game mechanics to enhance the complexity of the problem solving, I think they did an amazing job. I doubt they'll make a third, they kinda slammed the door, reopened it, tossed a companion cube out, and slammed it again on the franchise, seemed like as good a place as any to end it, but I would play Portal 3 if they made it.

Brendan Rogers
Brendan Rogers

Thanks for speaking for us all, Avi. We really appreciate it. (just kidding, you should probably speak for yourself)

Joshua_Mobley
Joshua_Mobley

...Also HL3 is in no way as popular at GTA, maybe with the gaming community, but if you ask a random person on the street they know what GTA is, they probably wont know what Half Life is.

Joshua_Mobley
Joshua_Mobley

yeah, but you're forgetting Valve's new business model. They are pushing free-to-play, they've made more money with Dota 2 already then they ever would developing HL3, and that profit margin will only continue to grow. They get money everytime people buy and sell in-game items on their market, everytime someone buys a trading card, or some TF2 hat they get a slice. Now remember that the are 65 million steam accounts. Even if 1% of the players participate in that system every day, Valve is making a boatload of money. HL3 would never adapt a free-to-play model lest they be crucified by the community. HL3 could come out, and yeah it might make profit and money but then what? it's out and it's over. Sure they will sell a couple copies now and again during steam sales and new adopters but there isn't that big economy that Valve loves fostering. It just simply doesn't fit into their new business model.

Joshua_Mobley
Joshua_Mobley

yeah it would make a profit off hype alone, but you are forgetting Valve's new Free-to-play business model. They are creating games that make lots of money overtime, where the community creates the content. HL3 would never work, or be fun, in a free-to-play model. They could develop it and make money, but once everyone's bought it, it's over and done with.

GestapoKitteh
GestapoKitteh

Let's not forget ALL the people that work on a game expect to get paid. And they don't get paid minimum wage.

Brandon Ruiz
Brandon Ruiz

it is not common anymore to make triple A games for 250,000. Honestly to compete with other triple a games I'd say it'd atleast take a mil.

pacpunk
pacpunk

That's fine, everybody has their own tastes. But you can't deny MOBAs (especially DOTA) are a huge part of the PC market.

pacpunk
pacpunk

How so? I've got over 400 hours in Dota 2 and I feel like it's the most balanced MOBA I've ever played, and I played a lot of LoL, HoME, and HoN.

Scase
Scase

Businesses exist to make money and please customers. PUBLICLY traded businesses exist solely to make money. "All [companies that float] end up getting their customers changed," Valve's Erik Johnson told the latest issue of PC Gamer. "Any bad decision I ever see out there is because somebody created this different customer that was whoever funds them, and not the consumer of the product." That's a quote from Erik Johnson when he was asked why Valve isn't publicly traded. They are a very customer oriented business, I find it hard to believe that it's changed so drastically that they will no longer make games to please customers instead of roll around in beds of money.

pacpunk
pacpunk

I can agree with that. I gave Infinite an A, but in hind sight it was more of a B. There were some problems with it. It is a shame that companies don't want to try new things, which is where indies come in. Indie developers get to try new things, and the really good ideas take off.

pacpunk
pacpunk

I kind of doubt Portal 3 would happen as well. They have a map creator, you can basically play Portal 2 forever, and the story felt over at the end of 2.

Valaska Averia
Valaska Averia

So that's why they haven't released products, or information, and basically said eff you to their entire franchise' fanbase whilst just raking in money from STEAM and buying small indie teams developing mods?

TheRealTimewarp
TheRealTimewarp

Yeah. I've found recently that I'm not excited for the indie games then the Triple A. AC: Black Flag, Watch Dogs and so on don't get me that excited but I'm really interested in The Stanley Parable, Outlast, The Witness and so on. So hopefully the PS4 being so involved with the indie scene can only be good for the industry, Lately Microsoft reversed their policy with self-publishing so maybe in this next generation we'll see a lot more indie titles.