For what feels like the umpteenth time, rumors have begun to fly about the possibility of a Half-Life 3 announcement at this year’s E3. While I’ve prepared myself for these rumors to be completely false (Valve seems to think they are), I can’t help but feel as if Valve has been mum for far too long regarding the Half-Life franchise’s future, and that this really could be the year that we see Gordon Freeman and Co.’s next big step. Expectations are high in general, but given just how insanely influential Half-Life 2 was on the shooter genre when it released, mine could be considered astronomical, unrealistic even. I expect nothing but near perfection after almost 8 years of waiting, but I believe Valve is up to the challenge. Here’s what I want to see.
1.) A New Engine
Okay, Source is great, I know, but it’s been almost a decade since it was released, and the engine is beginning to show its age. What better way to introduce the next generation of gaming a little early with a brand spankin’ new engine to show off what could arguably be the biggest PC game of the last 5 years? Valve has made Source look considerably better over the years, but with Unreal Engine 3 able to match its performance and annihilate its graphical capabilities, it’s time to move on. Much like CryEngine for Crysis, Valve could use Half-Life 3 as the poster boy for its new technology, which would double as a means of impressing gamers and advertising to potential clients. Talk about an easy sell!
2.) A Real Multiplayer Option
While Half-Life Deathmatch was a fun distraction, it felt pretty dry and unfinished, and really had no right to be anywhere as fun as it turned out to be. Although bundling Counter-Strike: Source with Half-Life 2 was an excellent workaround to this problem, the Half-Life series has such honed and smooth shooter mechanics that it completely deserves its own multiplayer component. Vehicles, physics, and hot Combine vs. Resistance action would be staples of the gameplay, as would the trademark speed and fluidity of the series that would likely lend itself well to adrenaline-soaked multiplayer matches.
3.) Tie-Ins to Other Valve Franchises That Aren’t Cheesy
Valve has gone on record stating that Portal exists in the Half-Life universe several times, and that plans to integrate the two have been underway since the beginning of the puzzle-solving franchise. While it’s a bit of a stretch to assume that Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life coexist as well, there’s a possibility that Valve will find some sort of meaningful (or trivial) way of integrating it into Half-Life 3 without too much effort. Due to the sorta-kinda ecosystem that Valve has created with its games, this kind of thing would tie everything together neatly into a coherent and (hopefully) interesting thread that could further engage Valve fans. Whether that means integrating Portal gun mechanics for brief mission segments or trudging through the remains of GLaDOS’ testing facilities is unclear, but either would be pretty neat.
4.) Another “Gravity Gun”
The Gravity Gun was such an enormous selling point of Half-Life 2 that using it to kill baddies was almost entirely worth the price of admission. Nothing beats blasting a Combine soldier with your SMG only to fast swap to your Gravity Gun and pick up the body to shield yourself from incoming bullets. The idea was simple and brilliant, and Half-Life 3 needs to either expand on the Gravity Gun concept in a meaningful way, or introduce an entirely new weapon that has the same “wow” factor” as the Grav Gun did back in 2004. What, exactly, that weapons turns out to be is beyond me, but the creative minds at Valve can almost certainly come up with something that puts the PC gaming world into a tizzy all over again.
What do you think? Does Half-Life 3 need all these things and more? Or do you just want to see how the G-Man and Gordon wrap things up? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!