As you might've spotted, earlier in December the ever-observant fellows at SteamDB uncovered a list of games that may or may not (but just might) be headed to PC via Steam at some point in the future. Among the games noted were Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Earth Defence 4.1 and Half-Life 3. Half-Life 3, you say? WTF? OMG! And so on.
Before allowing us to get too excited, though, SteamDB quickly pointed out that although the listing is legitimate, it doesn't necessarily mean that any of these games are being currently ported or developed and/or ever will be. For context: Halo 3 for PC once made the same list.
With no way of knowing when – or even if – we'll see the spectacled, luscious goatee-sporting, HEV suit-donning Half-Life protagonist Dr Gordon Freeman in a new adventure again, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I booked a reading with a Glasgow-based psychic under Freeman's name, and posed as a theoretical physicist with the aim of ascertaining more information about Valve's elusive follow-up to 2004's Half-Life 2 and its subsequent episodes.
Here's the conversation, followed by some entirely empirical conclusions drawn about Half-Life 3 – when we can expect to see it, and what it will involve.
On a typically wind-swept and rain-battered Scottish winter afternoon, I arrive at the psychic's place. Hidden down an isolated lane one street over from the perfunctory clamour of the city, the building itself looks more like a community hall from the outside than a location of mystic wonder, with its rusted caged windows, weathered tar roof and obligatory metal ashtray tacked to the ground outside. "Your name is Gordon Freeman," I mutter to myself under my breath.
Upon entering, I'm led by a medium to a room that reeks of incense and is dimly lit by a dusty, 1970s decor-style floor-standing lamp. I can't tell if it's for quaint effect or not, but it wouldn't look out of place in theme park haunted house. I sit across a small wooden table from the medium, who makes me select 16 random tarot cards from a pack, and three "special" ones from another, before she explains what they mean and what they stand for. I'm asked to pick two colours from a selection of multi-coloured ribbons – I choose blue and red. The cards are then laid out in a very specific order in front of us and I'm eventually offered the chance to ask questions.
VICE: You spoke there about employment – can you tell me more about that?
MEDIUM: Yes, I can. I can tell that your work is very important to you and you place a high value on it, would you say that's right?
What line of work are you in?
Science. I'm a theoretical physicist.
Yes, well it's clear to me that you've got plenty of opportunities at work. You might even be looking at a new job, or the chance to pursue a new one, in the not too distant future.
That's funny, I am expecting – or hoping, I should say – to be involved in a big job soon. If this were to be the case are able to tell me, roughly, when that might be?
I would say sooner rather than later. Going by how I sense your drive, I think this will happen in the next five years. Right now, this might seem like a long time, but in our spectrum ("our" is never explained, though I assume it means as a medium in touch with the spiritual world, or something) isn't long at all. One thing that really stands out for me is where you'll be in that time. The Eight of Cups card says it won't be around here. I think you'll find yourself in completely unfamiliar surroundings but you'll be comfortable. You'll be at peace; you'll find Zen, if you will.
You'll notice two cards here relating to work: the Three of Pentacles and the Six of Wands. The former is linked to teamwork, which I sense is absolutely essentially in relation to where you're going and the path you're embarking upon; and the latter is tied to success and public recognition. The future will be fruitful for you.
Related, on Motherboard: The Skeptical Psychic
In terms of the work itself, while I can't expect you be too specific, can you tell me anymore about what it might entail?
Like I said, you'll be reliant on colleagues more than before but in a constructive way. You'll all pull your weight in equal measure to reach your goals. Again, I sense you'll be based away from home, which might not sit well with loved ones at first, but they'll learn to adapt and change. At its core, it's what you're used to, what you're good at, but you'll be doing more for your superiors this time. Perhaps not quite a promotion, but you'll be working for but also with them and earning them a lot of money.
(It gets a little weirder now.)
Unrelated to work, I'm sensing that you might've lost a young child at some point, or know someone who might've lost a child?
Erm... (I haven't/don't.)
Not recently, necessarily – there's no clocks, no time, no dates there (I assume "there" is tied to the aforementioned "our") – but he just wants you to know that he's left this home but is well in his new home.
I'm also getting a sense of a man, a well dressed man, perhaps a father-figure or a boss – maybe this is in fact work-related after all – who might've looked out for you, or watched over you, protected you, perhaps?
Yeah, I had someone who sort of overseen my work on and off for quite a while... (I'm referring to G-Man, pictured above)
Yes, well he obviously can't be with you now, but wants you to know he's still watching over you, as close as ever even if you can't see him. He's not going anywhere, rest assured.
The other cards we have in front of us are mostly positive. We've discussed work and, as you'd expect, money isn't something that will cause you much worry so long as you're smart with it. Just remember you're in control. Two women appear interested in you sexually and this is something you'll have to deal with in due course. One thing I need to bring to your attention is this card here, the Ten of Swords. You'll see it's the furthest behind the others, which is a good sign, but it also represents absolute destruction and death. Its positioning here means that you're on top of any bleakness ahead but you must be mindful of situations that could harm your those close to you of your own wellbeing.
Ah, good to know.
Now, at the start you chose the blue and red ribbon. Firstly, red means determination and focus, but it also means anger. Would you say you have an angry streak?
Yes, I think I do. (Given he had no prior firearm training prior to the Black Mesa incident, Gordon Freeman seems to take pretty well to mass murder, albeit mostly in defence.)
Well, red can mean any one of these things. Blue deals with communication – I sense that you're the type of person has a lot to say but struggles at times to express how you feel. Would you say this applies to you?
Yes, actually, it does. (Freeman is a silent protagonist, after all.)
Let's look at your special cards: Union, Shelter and Birth. Marriage, home and birth – be that the birth of a child or the rebirth of you. These are a nice collection of cards to draw.
That's us come to the end of the session, do you have any more questions?
I think you've covered everything.
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So, what does this mean for Half-Life 3? Here's what to expect:
"...I think this will happen in the next five years."
Half-Life 3 will be with us by Christmas 2020 at the latest.
"...you'll find yourself in completely unfamiliar surroundings. You'll be at peace; you'll find Zen, if you will."
Half-Life 3 will take place solely in Xen, the Borderworld alien dimension from the original Half-Life.
"The former is linked to teamwork, which I sense is absolutely essentially in relation to where you're going and the path you're embarking upon."
Half-Life 3 will have a distinct onus on teamwork and might even be squad-based.
"The latter is tied to success and public recognition. The future will be fruitful for you."
Game of the Year Edition scheduled for Q4 2021.
"Two women appear interested in you sexually."
Gordon Freeman will be part of a love-triangle
"...be that the birth of a child or the rebirth of you."
Half-Life 3 will see Gordon Freeman's character reworked and rebooted à la DmC: Devil May Cry's reinterpretation of series protagonist Dante. Expect a moodier Gordon complete with dyed fringe and lip piercings.
"You'll be working for but also with [your bosses] and earning them a lot of money."
Half-Life 3 will be free-to-play and will incorporate micro-transactions.
At the end of the session, the medium gave me this "spirit stone" to take away:
Roll on 2020.
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