Valve Staffer #1: I can only play one more, I have a meeting at 2:30.
Valve Staffer #2: Orly? Left 4 Dead stuff, or (pregnant pause, meaningful glance) other stuff?
[Awkward silence, all eyes swivel in unison toward the visiting game journo.]
Valve Staffer #1: Other stuff.
GamesRadar: What? Don’t pay me any mind. Please, discuss freely!
Valve Staffer #3: This conversation is over.
GamesRadar: If you tell me something in confidence, I won’t say a word to anyone. Promise.
Valve Staffer #1: Start the round or I’ll be late.
GamesRadar: Or we could do a big exclusive blowout on GamesRadar, or—
Valve Staffer #2: You better grab your medpack, I just alerted the horde!
GamesRadar: Oh, shit!
Obviously, Valve is a company with a lot going on. And while the above-mentioned “other stuff” could mean anything from Steam updates to TF2 patches, we prefer to dream big. Could they have been discussing Half-Life 2: Episode 3, the final chapter in HL2’s story arc? Dream bigger? OK, how about HALF-LIFE MOTHERF***ING 3?! That’s right, a proper full-sized sequel with Portal guns and extreme physics puzzles and time travel and whatever other inspired madness the alchemists at Valve concoct.
Above: Our sophomoric attempt at inspired madness. We’re certain Valve can do better
When Half-Life 2 arrived back in 2004, it rewrote the book on videogame physics. With that kind of pedigree to live up to, Half-Life 3’s potential for awesomeness is huge. Of course, developing Half-Life 2 was a 5-year grind that would have broken the spirit of lesser men and women. If Valve had launched straight away into 3, and it took the same amount of time as 2, it would be just about ready to show at E3 this year.
We know, we know: they’ve been busy with episodic content and a couple little projects like Portal, Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead. But somewhere deep in the bowels of a Bellevue skyscraper, a shadow team of code ninjas may yet be stealthily preparing to drop a game-changing bomb on the industry by announcing Half-Life 3 at E3 ‘09.
2) Kingdom Hearts III
Since Square doesn’t seem to have a problem announcing games like Final Fantasy XIII when they’re still four years away, surely they can throw out a tiny morsel of Kingdom Hearts at this E3. Yeah, we’ll be buying both handheld editions the millisecond they come out, but we’d gladly take a mallet to every DS and PSP in our office for a chance to invest 60+ hours in a full blown, 1080p Squisney undertaking.
Above: Apparently, this isn’t Kingdom Hearts III. Unless it is?
As a courtesy, we’ve listed what we see as two primary obstacles to an official Kingdom Hearts III announcement. Below that, we offer our sage-like solutions.
Kingdom Hearts III: Dilemmas?
1. The story is too ridiculously convoluted. No developer dares tackle a plot in which the merging of two drastically different universes is somehow the least absurdly complicated problem with the narrative.
2. Disney loves money. And it’s very protective of its popular stable of characters.
Above: Imagine if Sora could battle Christian Bale and his gang of fops from Disney’s Newsies
Kingdom Hearts III: Solutions!
1. The plot of Kingdom Hearts II exceeded stupidity and entered the realm of irrelevance. So what? Gamers are perfectly fine with any inexplicable story device as long as it introduces them to their favorite characters and allows them to fight in beloved environments. Which bring us to our next section…
2. Nobody wants to go back to Tarzan’s jungle. 100 Acre Poohville is both pace-shattering and exhausted. The last entry’s Little Mermaid portions were an abomination, and no one gives a shit about Chicken Little or Mulan. We think it’s high time to bring in the sexy, sexy stars of Classic Disney B-Squad!
Above: Go ahead. Try to name all the characters in the comments section. We dare you…
Factoring in Disney’s live-action affairs, you’ve got – almost literally – billions of second string characters that would cost a fraction to license. For the price of a single Mickey you could get a Brer Rabbit, two Rescuers, several Fred MacMurrays and The Great Mouse Detective. In that kind of abundance, something’s bound to resonate with Western audiences… and judging by Tokyo Disneyland’s ride retention, the only things the Japanese love more than Final Fantasy characters are old ass Disney.
By the way, the only acceptable rhythmic dance sequences in Kingdom Hearts III are ones composed by the recently acquiredElectric Mayhem.