And so it happens again, every time you think the chatter around the long awaited and probably never gonna happen Half-Life 3 dies down some new rumour or supposed leak surfaces to amp up our hopes before shooting them back down to Earth.
Most recently it's been last month's Dota 2 patch that got the fanbase talking again. A set of text files uploaded by developers Valve as part of the patch contained something a little surprising, an odd file titled hl3.txt which contained code that felt a little out of place in Dota 2. Text such as "Combine Pulse Ceiling Turret" and references to NPCs and "Quest Citizens" got Half-Life fans talking again, especially the reference to Combine, the main antagonists of the Half-Life series.
Will We EVER See Half-Life 3?
It's certainly got to the grasping at straws stage by now, what with Team Fortress voice actor John Patrick Lowrie's comments that Half-Life 3 isn't in the works, the numerous previous "leaks" that have led nowhere like the European trademark application and finally Valve managing director Gabe Newell's evasive explanation of why another Half-Life isn't currently in the works:
"The only reason we'd go back and do like a super classic kind of product is if a whole bunch of people just internally at Valve said they wanted to do it and had a reasonable explanation for why. But you know if you want to do another Half-Life game and you want to ignore everything we've learned in shipping Portal 2 and in shipping all the updates on the multiplayer side, that seems like a bad choice."
But, The Dota 2 Files!?
The Dota 2 tease doesn't make much sense when you think about it though, why would Valve include a file this in a game like Dota 2, accidentally or otherwise? It does seem a bit coincidental to not be related but if Valve were going to make an announcement about Half-Life 3 that could potentially break the internet why would they do it this way? And it seems pretty unlikely that the file could've found its way in there accidentally. As usual, Valve is yet to comment on this rumoured tease.
Or maybe we're the victims of one of the biggest trolls in history. The whole Half-Life 3 debacle has been drawn out for so long now that it seems cruel for Valve to keep fans dangling without a definite answer.
By this point we're eleven years down the line since Half-Life 2 and eight years from the last iteration in the series, Half-Life 2: Episode Two and fans have pretty much given up hope, hence why little rumours like this have a tendency to spark up online.
Though Half-Life 2: Episode Three was announced as the third and final expansion and the end of the narrative up until then; Valve reportedly stated at the time of the Episode Three announcement that the series would continue on after that narrative arc ended, yet here we are twiddling our thumbs eight years later with no Half-Life 2: Episode Three or Half-Life 3 to show for it.
At the moment it pretty much boils down to one of two things, either Valve are stoking the hype flames in the run up to making a huge announcement regarding the future of the series or they're just teasing fans. Either way, it's time to cut the rope Valve, seriously.