Right, now brace yourselves but… To properly understand the significance of the story elements in Half-Life 2, we must look at the work of Russian structuralist Vladimir Propp, who in his academic work on narrative in traditional folk tales identified a recurring series of archetypal story elements – or narratemes – which always appear in order to construct the flow of a hero’s developmental journey. Seriously, come back. We promise this bit’s good. While not all of these narratemes appear in every story ever written, every story does include a few of them in some form, and Half-Life 2 uses a great deal of them in absolute textbook sequence in order to create a journey of character progression. In Half-Life 2 though, the archetypal hero developing through this journey is the player/Gordon hybrid, who gets to directly experience the whole process themselves rather than just witnessing it.