To put any outlandish claims to rest, weve gathered every major rumor concerning the next installment in the revolutionary Half-Life series. Given the fact that Valve dishing up info on a work-in-progress game is as rare as an eclipse, these rumors might be all we have to go on for a little while. Well be sure to update the story as new details emerge (or fresh rumors start to spread), but until then, heres what weve heard so far
Half-Life 2: Episode Three is now Half-Life 3
Probability: 75%. Valves full of smart people, who should know that at this point, it makes more sense to just use their time to build a full-blown sequel. Reintroducing the story elements and the events of the previous games is pretty much a necessity therell be very little comprehension for players if things pick up right where they left off.
Itll debut with a huge update to the Source engine
Probability: 90%. Its not a question of if - more of how drastic the updates will be. Were putting our money on new lighting, super-high-res textures, and the further development of the physics that Source is so well-known for.
It's been in development for six years
Probability: 85%. Given how unlikely it is that Valve would announce a game they hadnt started working on, wed imagine that HL3 in some form or another has been trapped in production hell for the past six years. Who knows if it still retains any of its original parts, or if creative differences ran rampant and derailed the entire project.
It'll take place in the frozen wastes
Probability: 90%. Half-Life 2 showed the city; Episodes One and Two showed the great and green outdoors. Trekking to an icy locale like the Arctic (or Antarctic) would make for a perfect change of scenery, and would add even more mystique to uncovering buried secrets. We hope the HEV suit comes with built-in heaters, for Gordons sake.
We won't be revisiting City 17
Probability: 90%. Very little couldve survived the detonation of the Citadel, and that includes concrete structures. Its a shame, really we may never get to hurl empty soda cans at irritable Combine guards again.
It's going to have survival horror elements
Probability: 70%. It probably wont be all-out sci-fi survival horror that seems more like Dead Space territory but it wouldnt be a Half-Life game without some terrifying stages. Perhaps some horrible experiment-born mutants were stowed away in the Borealis, or the Combine have uncovered a parasitic life form in the frozen icecaps, la The Thing.
Gordon will still be mute
Probability: 99.9%. Valves already gone all-in on Gordons lack of a voice changing that now would be lunacy. Gamers have accepted the fact that the events of the HL series are more about whats happening around Freeman, not the heroic lab jockey himself. Judging from the internal backlash Valve received from temporarily giving Portal 2s Chell a voice during the games development, thats not a mistake theyd make twice.
No more "isolated single-player"
Probability: 50%. With the warm reception gamers gave to Dark Souls successful implementation of single player with join-anytime multiplayer elements mixed in, theres a good chance that Valve might do the same. Or maybe they'll throw in a co-op campaign, similar to the one found in Portal 2 (or the rarely-mentioned Half-Life: Decay co-op found in the PS2 version of the game).
You'll use the Portal Gun
Probability: 40%. Valves comic collection, The Sacrifice and other Steam-Powered Stories, features a Portal 2 comic with plenty of references to Half-Life, with health dispensers and the Gravity Gun sitting idly in the Aperture labs. We also know about the presence of the Borealis in Episode Threes plot. Giving Freeman a Portal Gun might cheapen the Portal series as whole, but it'd be a mighty fun way to tackle Combine encounters.
It'll be the conclusion to the HL franchise
Probability: 15%. This ones a tough call. Valve treats their franchises with great care, making sure not to drive a beloved series into the ground. If Gordons scientific storyline concludes nicely in HL3, then there may be no reason for the G-Man to put him through further undertakings. Then again, wed put Freeman at the same level of gaming iconography as Master Chiefand we all know how his final mission turned out.
Rise and shine, Mr. Freeman
Want to delve into more well-kept secrets, but dont fancy yourself to be much of a PC gamer? Check out our Wii U rumor roundup, Xbox 720 rumors roundup, and PS4 rumors roundup to get the unconfirmed details on the next generation of consoles. And if you're hankering after the stories that might shape this year's E3, check out our E3 2012 rumors compendium, which will be updated constantly between now and the show