Leipzig: The real-life Half-Life 2

A strange thing happened when we arrived in Leipzig for this year's Games Convention. Having left the bright, shiny nucleus of the regenerated city centre for the slightly more distant locale of our hotel, the taxi was all at once filled with a shared change of atmosphere.

Where once there was game-fuelled excitement and lightly beered-up joviality, there was suddenly a feeling of quiet oppression and a nervous silence. Where previously we had leaned from the car windows to take in every new sight and sound, we found ourselves huddling closer to the middle of the vehicle, a new and unexplained paranoia flushing our senses. Something fundamental had changed in the nature of our surroundings, and we all knew it. It wasn't just the weariness of a long, cross-European journey playing with our minds. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong.

And then it clicked, and in unison we exclaimed in shrill terror, "Holy shit, we're in City 17!".

And we were. We really, really were. We swear that Valve must have taken Leipzig as singular inspiration when designing Half-Life 2's Combine-controlled metropolis. It looks exactly like City 17. Take these photos as our evidence.

And not a single one of these photographs has been tampered with. Everything you see in them seriously went down. The gravity gun was a complimentary gift/self-preservation tool we found in our room after checking in. Pretty necessary in that neighbourhood, you see.

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  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - August 28, 2008 4:58 p.m.

    The resemblance is striking... I'm jealous, I want to go to City 17!
  • spiltmilk - August 28, 2008 5:24 p.m.

    This is so fake, the buildings look like they've been tampered with.
  • Tomsta666 - August 28, 2008 5:56 p.m.

    I thought that city 17 was based on Eastern Europe, not Germany? But I see what you've done there :)
  • georgeg1994 - August 28, 2008 7:10 p.m.

    i love germany it's amazing only been to frankfurt on the german exchange though.
  • Ninjagamer12 - August 28, 2008 10:33 p.m.

    OMG Zombie!
  • macfay1 - August 28, 2008 10:53 p.m.

  • ELpork - August 29, 2008 12:41 a.m.

    haha, awww that headcrab is all alone....tear.
  • TheWebSwinger - August 29, 2008 7:55 a.m.

    @Gotxxrock If Dr. Breen were there, that would probably be the WORST thing, not perfect,
  • anime_nut - August 29, 2008 9:18 a.m.

    Since City 17 was based on Eastern Europe and Leipzig is located in (formerly communist) East Germany, it's not surprising they look similar. Still, its a funny montage. Well done.
  • Urahara101 - August 29, 2008 11:59 a.m.

    Hell Yeah...but where's Freeman?
  • Slipknot_Boy - August 29, 2008 12:14 p.m.

    Omg they are so ffake, the treees don't even look real.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - August 29, 2008 12:18 p.m.

    Urahara: You never see Gordon in a Half-Life 2 game, you know that... :)
  • G4M3_N3M3S1S - August 30, 2008 12:29 a.m.

    Holy crap the resembelence is striking that makes me wanna go to germany more lol.
  • MrCynical - August 30, 2008 11:58 p.m.

    @Tomsta666: Leipzig is in the former East Germany. So it IS ex-communist Eastern Europe, in architecture for example.
  • NelosAngelos - August 31, 2008 1:01 a.m.

    SO where's the G-man?
  • The_Tingler - August 31, 2008 10:09 a.m.

    Striking, even though you used the first house twice!
  • Basketcase676 - August 31, 2008 10:47 a.m.

    I would only every go there if i had a crowbar! Cos like theres only a gigantic strider, a hunter and a zombie. Now if there was a super-zombie then i'd be a bit screwed!
  • Schuultz - September 3, 2008 12:57 a.m.

    that's east germany for you! but a little hint to the editor: go to poland, that looks almost exactly like it (minus the striders, of course)...
  • iluvmyDS - August 28, 2008 4:52 p.m.

    Well now I know where not to go when I vacation in Europe.
  • RAdam - August 28, 2008 5:16 p.m.

    Pretty cool but on my journey through city 17 I never noticed a basketball court like in the last picture.

Showing 1-20 of 43 comments

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