Half-Life 2: Episode 3 and Half-Life 3 have been a meme for years; ever since 2007 fans have been waiting for some sort of conclusion for the series. It’s hard to believe that it really has been just under a decade since the last game in the franchise, but here we are. At this point it seems like we’ll never get complete closure for the franchise, but earlier today Marc Laidlaw, a former writer on the series, seems to have posted a name-swapped plot synopsis of what would’ve happened to Gordon Freeman and company in Episode 3. The post, which was originally posted to his blog (which at the time of this writing is experiencing an unsurprising hug of death due to exponentially increased traffic, hence the archive link) was “translated” back into Half-Life lingo and re-posted to Pastebin.
Of course, no one will come out and say this is the real Episode 3, but there are more than a few hints that point to this being the case. As far back as 2013 it was rumored that the NDA for Episode 3 would expire in 2017, and at least some parts of an earlier “leak” from the same person purporting the 2017 date for the NDA’s expiration match up with Laidlaw’s telling of events. For fans, this appears to be about as much closure as one could expect; if nothing else, it feels inevitable that this signals the end of the Half-Life series of a whole; though, by the look of things it wasn’t fairing much better half a decade ago.
Gordon Freeman’s story seems doomed to remain unfinished. The last single-player Valve game was Portal 2 all the way back in 2011, and the company has definitely moved on. The only thing possibly single-player minded are the three VR games Valve is working on. One can only hope that Marc’s post gives longtime fans of the series at least some form of closure.