Chariotdrive just released its second Half Life short film in a series it calls The Freeman Chronicles. The film is simply titled Episode 2: Part 1 (below) and picks up on the day following the events in Episode 1 (above), with Freeman, security guard Evan Walsh, and Dr. Tim Reynolds attempting to enter the Black Mesa hydro power station.
Chariotdrive is an independent filmmaking company that specializes in providing various production services to studios, businesses, and individuals. The team is comprised of production professionals from several disciplines including visual effects and 3D animation. In addition to having worked on AMC's Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul, the crew members are big fans of Half Life.
The first episode, which released in 2012, was filmed over a couple of nights in a rented cottage in Hollywood. According to Chariotdrive, the total production costs were only $3000. I don't think that even qualifies as low-budget. Despite the low cost of producing the 10-minute film, the overall quality is pretty good. Even the headcrabs look better than I imagined they would.
Episode 2 clearly had a higher budget, but the studio is not saying how much higher. It has a larger cast, bigger sets, and more special effects. There can be no doubt it took more effort and money. The only negative I have to say about it is that it ends with a huge cliffhanger.
When the first episode ended, you knew there was more to the story, but the subplot was concluded when Freeman, Walsh, and Reynolds headed off into the night to get to the Lambda complex. Episode 2: Part 1 ends in a cliffhanger that gives The Walking Dead's "Last Day on Earth" episode a run for its money in the "leaving you hanging" department.
Fortunately, there is an Episode 2: Part 2 coming. All that Chariotdrive has to say about Part 2 is, "If you like [Part 1], Part 2 will really make you smile." If you watch the teaser trailer below, you will see a few scenes that are not in either of the other two films. These are likely clips from the conclusion to Episode 2.