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The Half-Life series, created by respected game developer Valve first hit the scene in 1998 with the Half-Life. Half-Life 2 was announced quickly, but fans of the series didn’t get a hold of it until 2004. The game was a huge success, considered by many critics to be one of the greatest games of all time, but fans of the series, seeing the 6 years between the two games, quickly learnt that this would become the norm for Valve.

Where are you, Gordon Freeman?

It is now 2012, 8 years since the release of Half-Life 2, and fans are still waiting for Half-Life 3. Although we have seen some Half-Life content in the past 8 years. In February 2006, Valve announced that they would be releasing a trilogy of episodes covering the same story arc. The first of these was Half-Life 2: Episode One, released in June of 2006. Half-Life 2: Episode Two followed in October of 2007, released as part of the crtitcally acclaimed The Orange Box (a bundle featuring this, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, the very fun Team Fortress 2, and the very awesome Portal).

And after that… nothing. It’s been 5 years now since any Half-Life release, and no word from Valve at all. As a comparison, Diablo II from Blizzard Entertainment was released in the year 2000, and fans are still waiting for the third title. The difference being though, that Diablo III has been officially announced, a beta has been released, and the public should hopefully see it sometime this year. As far as the Half-Life series is concerned, nothing, not even an announcement. No Half-Life 2: Episode Three, and no Half-Life 3.

In regards to Half-Life 2: Episode Three, Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve, had this to say:

We went through the episodes phase. Now we’re going towards shorter and even shorter cycles. With episodes, I think we accelerated the model and shortened development cycles with it. If you look at Team Fortress 2, that’s what we now think is the best model for what we’ve been doing. Our updates and release model keeps on getting shorter and shorter.

So it looks like the idea of episodic content is over, with Valve focusing more on treating individual games as platforms that can be periodically built open with minor updates, patches and tweaks, which can be easily done through Valve’s own famous Steam platform.

So that leaves Half-Life 3. There has to be one coming. There’s still so much story to be told. The question remaining is of course: when the fuck will we get to play it? A large number of Steam users have gotten together to form a group on Steam, called A Call for Communication (Half-Life) (HL-CFC), asking that Valve at the very least announce that a Half-Life 3 is coming. The group is now close to 42,000 members. As part of their attempt to get Valve to notice the increasing number of people who are chomping at the bit for even a smidgen of news, they’re organising an event called A Red Letter Day: Let’s Play Half-Life 2!, in which they’re trying to get all Steam users who own a copy of Half-Life 2 to jump on this weekend, and give it a play, to show how much interest there is in the series, and hopefully get Valve to give us a little “somethin’ somethin'”.

For my Australian readers, the event starts on February 5th at 6:00am AEDST. I would urge you, Dear Reader, to join me this day, and play a little, or a lot, of Half-Life 2. Will it actually achieve anything? Probably not, but who knows? It might. And besides, do you really need an excuse to play Half-Life 2? It is, after all, fucking awesome. BRING ON HALF-LIFE 3 MOTHER FUCKERS!

“Rise and shine, Mr. Freeman. Rise and shine.” – G-Man