Half-Life 3 and the problem of seeking perfection: when good is never enough

Half-Life: Alyx – Final Hours Now Available, an interactive book written by Geoff Keighley (responsible for “The Game Awards”) that has come to Steam and confirms what was an open secret, which Half-Life 3 was in development, but in the end it was canceled. This book also refers to other interesting projects that were also canceled, but we will talk about them later.

The development of Half-Life 3 started long after the release of Half-Life 2: Episode Two. Valve did not consider the development of an episode three because, in theory, Gabe Newell himself wanted to abandon that business model and return to the traditional system. This caused Half-Life 3 to go into development between late 2012 and early 2013, but it eventually ended up being canceled in 2014.

This new installment of the well-known Valve franchise was conceived, from the beginning, as a very ambitious project, but also was problematic, since at that time Valve the Source 2 graphics engine was not finished, and therefore did not have the tools that he really needed to achieve a truly revolutionary degree.

One of the most interesting concepts underlying the development of Half-Life 3 was that of procedurally generated scenarios. As many of our readers will know, this technology is not new, we already saw it in the Diablo franchise, and also in other games such as Hellgate London or No Man’s Sky, and it allows you to generate scenarios randomly. This means that the maps change with each new game, allowing you to enjoy a “new” experience and improve replayability.

Valve was very serious about this project, in fact they got to capture the actor who lends his face to give life to G-Man, but in the end he ended up being canceled because failed to meet Valve’s expectations. Gabe Newell’s company set the bar very high with Half-Life 2, and the expectations generated by a possible Half-Life 3 led the company to such a complicated situation that it generated marked insecurity. Valve preferred to cancel projects before risking defrauding fans of the franchise.

Half-Life 3 was canceled, and also four more projects associated with the franchise

Yes, you read correctly, the cancellation of Half-Life 3 is just the tip of a huge iceberg that is loaded with cancellations. Among the canceled projects mentioned are Four games linked to the Half-Life franchise:

  • ARTI: a title inspired by the essence of Minecraft that was used to recreate in a very curious way the Half-Life universe.
  • Borealis: a virtual reality game also focused on the well-known Valve franchise.
  • Shooter: another project like the previous one, focused on bringing the Half-Life saga to virtual reality.
  • Known as Half-Life 2 Ravenholm.

In addition to those titles we have referred to, we know that Valve was also working twice on Left 4 Dead 3., and in an RPG project no definite name that was heavily inspired by the “The Elder Scrolls” franchise.

We only have information about the first project of Left 4 Dead 3, which in theory was going to have a open world approach, would be developed in Morocco and would allow hundreds of zombies to be shown on screen. The Source 2 graphics engine was not finished when this project started, and so it ended up being canceled. It seems that Valve does not want to develop games without finishing first, completely, the graphics engine of these.

As we can see Valve has canceled many projects, but I wanted to keep good news for the end, and that is that the book Half-Life: Alyx – Final Hours confirms that Valve has a great project in development since 2018. I know what you are thinking, will it be Half-Life 3? Well, it would be fantastic, the truth, but for the moment there is nothing confirmed, so we will keep expectations under control and hope that Valve learns that the idea of ​​perfection should stop guiding its developments, and that it is not always necessary to give in the target with the first shot.







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