We all like to joke about Valve and their unprecedented fear around the number 3. Valve has, quite famously, never made a third game in one of their franchises. Half-Life 2, the most iconic of this dilemma, had two DLC’s (well, not DLC, more like spin-off titles that weren’t spin-offs, it gets confusing) that both never reached the number 3. With Half-Life 2, Portal 2, Team Fortress 2, DOTA 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 all being the latest versions of the games in their respective franchises, it has now become a sort of creepy legend that Half-Life 3 is both in secret development and yet, at the same time, will never see the light of day.
Now it seems like that might actually be the case and that Valve might, just might, have gotten over their irrational fear of the mythical third number in the numerical alphabet. Speaking to Game Informer about the upcoming Half-Life: Alyx, Robin Walker, a game designer at Valve, said in the interview:
“Half-Life means a lot to us, and it's been incredibly rewarding to refamiliarise ourselves with its characters, setting, and mechanics. There are Half-Life: Alyx team members who have been at Valve since Half-Life 2, and quite a few who go back to the original Half-Life. There are also people on the team for whom Half-Life: Alyx is their first time working on this series at all - and many of them certainly hope it's not the last. We absolutely see Half-Life: Alyx as our return to this world, not the end of it.”
Whether that means Half-life 2: Episode 3, Half-Life 3, or Half-Life 33 and a 1/3, it looks as if Valve is certainly not done with the franchise. When asked whether Half-Life: Alyx will be significant towards the overall Half-Life story (considering that Half-Life: Alyx is a prequel), Walker said:
“Half-Life: Alyx is a full-fledged entry in the Half-Life series, both in terms of the sheer amount of content as well as the importance and substance of its narrative relative to the rest of the series. It's a critical part of the larger story, and it does push that story forward.”
So should players revisit the Half-Life story before playing Alyx?
“It's not a bad idea for players to have refreshed themselves on the events of Episode 2 before starting Half-Life: Alyx.”
How cryptic, Walker. How cryptic indeed…
What do you think of this new? Is Half-Life back? Has Valve finally realised the number 3 isn’t all that bad? What would you like to see in the next Half-Life game? Let us know!