When Marc Laidlaw, the sole writer of Half-Life 1 and 2, left Valve in 2016 after 18 years at the company, the already slim chances of ever seeing a Half-Life 3 game looked more unlikely than ever. But Laidlaw has just posted what could have been the plot to the long-awaited Half-Life 2: Episode 3 on his blog.

Presumably to avoid any copyright complaints, the story is called "Epistle 3" and the characters have changed genders. Gordon Freeman is now Gertrude Fremont, while Alyx Vance has become Alex, and Eli is Elly, etc. The author calls it "a genderswapped snapshot of a dream I had many years ago."

The amount of traffic making its way to Laidlaw's site means it's currently inaccessible, but you can check out the full piece on NeoGaf, or read a version on Pastebin that's been edited to include the original names.

"I hope this letter finds you well," starts the post. "I can hear your complaint already, 'Gertrude Fremont, we have not heard from you in ages!' Well, if you care to hear excuses, I have plenty, the greatest of them being I've been in other dimensions and whatnot, unable to reach you by the usual means."

"This was the case until 18 months ago, when I experienced a critical change in my circumstances, and was redeposited on these shores." It's unlikely to be a coincidence that Laidlaw left Valve 18 months ago.

On May 24, 2006, Valve said the third Half-Life 2 episode was in development, promising that it would be the "last in a trilogy" scheduled to conclude by Christmas 2007. The last time Gabe Newell spoke about anyone actually working on the project was back in 2009.

The chances of another Half-Life game ever being developed are likely next to zero, especially considering the pressure Valve would be under when developing it - producing anything other than one of the greatest games of all time would be considered a huge disappointment.

Fans may have to accept that Laidlaw's blog could be the final semi-official word in the series. But we still might see a Half-Life movie from The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams.