Valve explains why it tried and failed to make multiple Half-Life 3s


Posts: 910   +838
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Gordon Freeman is supposed to be a scientist and it makes no sense that this guy doesn’t speak.
We know nothing of Freeman's psychological state or social cognitive functionality before the Black Mesa incident. We have no idea about how he was affected by the resonance cascade. In fact, how do we know that Freeman is even human anymore after the event?

but if you were to release a first person shooter like that now, many developers would say that the gameplay felt dated.
Which is true of many games from nearly 16 years ago - for example, who would make, let alone publish, a new batch of Leisure Suit Larry games? The 2013 remake of Painkiller (originally a 2004 release) wasn't received half as well as the first title, namely for it's poor AI and overly simple nature. And we will never see the likes of Catwoman (the game) ever again - thankfully. Yes, the gameplay in HL2 has dated quite poorly, but why would design choices made more than 16 years exclude a return to that franchise?

In my opinion plot is not an issue. A factor, sure, but not what stopped them in the first place. They can and will hire AAA Hollywood storytellers to put something truly amazing together in terms of plot. It's gameplay/experience where they fell short (by their own expectations).
I think this is the issue, for Valve at least - there's pretty nothing about any 1st person shooter that comes out today that offers something completely new or innovative. VR provided an escape route to follow that allowed them to create afresh, rather than fundamentally rehash the same old game mechanics. But I can't help feel that Valve are not seeing the bigger picture here: games don't need to be revolutionary to be successful, commercially or critically, even today. Doom (2016) is an excellent example: it's about as generic as you can get, but each mechanic was tuned to near perfection. As a game, it's hugely more than the sum of its parts.


Posts: 48   +14
What attract me to Half Life is not the gameplay actually.
It's the places, the story and the characters, the pacing, the sens of adventure and be part of the rebel.
Gravity Gun and all the puzzle were not the main focus to me. I just messed with them a little.

If Valve launch a new HL focused on the story, I would already be really happy.


Posts: 132   +108
I haven't played it yet but I've seen many people criticizing the story, especially for
pulling time travel shenanigans
which many believe was a cheap shot and way out.


Posts: 195   +95
People expect every sequel to be better, but their "better" is a subjective one. And when you build an almost perfect game, what is better? Better becomes for many something else entirely, that is a new and completely different game, related only by name and characters to the original. And I don`t think this is right. Valve sure thinks this is right and that they should reinvent the wheel every time they release something. But they forget the main drive in HL was storytelling. Sure, the physics, graphics, AI completed the experience, but nobody plays a single player game just for that. I have over 200 hours playing Witcher 3, still not bored, doing basically, the same hack`n slash all RPGs have. It`s just storytelling and carefully detailed environment, animations, styles of combat that make it special. And that`s why I don`t get Alyx. I mean more that 10 years later and you make a game for like, I dunno, 5% of gamers who own VR, just to say it`s special? So you have revolutionized VR? Who cares? But do you have a great story, detailed environment and you can replicate that organic feeling that was present in all HLs? Then just make another FPS, this would be the minimum requirement for any HL, if it were to become another iconic game.
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Posts: 203   +224
I can understand being frustrated not having VR but I can not understand those leaving negative reviews because of that. The only negative reviews this game is getting on Metacritic are 0 ratings from people who are angry they can't play it.

This is why we can't have nice things.
Yup exactly. Its like getting angry and throwing trash in your neighbours yard because you can't drive a fancy sports car like his. Sound logic.


Posts: 1,191   +724
It really depends. Silent protag is good for role playing and bad for others. Fallout 4 is a good example of a voiced main character that simply does not work. Divinity Original Sin 2 has a silent protagonist and the game is fantastic.
I'm normally ok with having a voiced protagonist as it increases the feeling that you're playing a quality game where they took the effort to voice everything. My problem comes when the voice is jarring. In Fallout 4, Nora had a perfect British accent. Not very Boston-like. Also I'm sure it was the same voice actor as from Mass Effect, so it completely breaks my immersion. It also doesn't help that many of the male NPCs are Garrus!
I installed a silent protagonist mod in FO4 and it helps me a lot in terms of role-playing, especially playing in first-person mode.
So I get what you're saying.
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Posts: 2,621   +1,791
I think the real problem that valve is going to have is ultimately that Half Life, as it was, does not make sense anymore.
This comment doesn't make sense.
Lots of innovative and industry changing titles at the time are now part of the norm as much of their concepts have been copied, replicated or mutated into something different.
That doesn't take away from the glory it once was and will always be, only folks that experienced it first hand will know what I mean.
You can always update a theme, story or idea with modern or unheard of concepts and make it fresh again, like HL Alyx is doing with a world I've spend hundreds of hours in.

What was then "groundbreaking gameplay" is now stale and anachronistic.
This statement has no substance.
It's like saying, 'the more pizza you eat the more full you will become".

The technology to make a new HL game is better than ever and HL has its own visual style - which newer technology, as we can see in Alyx makes the world itself look fabulous but if they release that game now I believe many people would be disappointed by it no matter what the product was unless they were somehow able to swing for the fences and give us never before seen gameplay ideas.
They did release that game, its called HL : Alyx, and it experiments with gaming elements, abilities and technology no one has put together as well as Valve.

Morphine Child

Posts: 47   +51
Well all things considered, I would rather never see Half-Life 3 than have it turn into Call of Duty-like franchise just for profits.

If they ever find a way to make it worthy of Half Life name - I will happily buy it.