Another week, another rumour of Half-Life 3. This time it came courtesy of SteamDB, who managed to get their hands on a new list of games possibly coming to Steam in the near future.
The list included PS4 hit Everybody's Gone to the Rapture and Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD, but most interestingly was two words and one letter included about half way down the list: Half. Life. 3.
Half-Life 3 Confirmed!?!??
Woah there, everyone calm down for a second. It's tempting to leap to conclusions and break out that champagne you've been saving for eight years whilst throwing your fingers up at Gabe Newell for making us wait so long and so cruelly but, as with the recent excitement over the hl3.txt found in the DOTA 2 update, it's best to take this news with a bucketload of salt.
Whilst the list does have its origins in a leak direct from Valve, and whilst information of this sort has been accurate in the past, just because a file has the Half-Life 3 label on it doesn't necessarily mean it's the game itself. As SteamDB themselves point out, third-party devs using the Steam system can create and label their own apps and packages.
And of course not all these leaks are accurate, such as the case of a previous report including Halo 3 on the list of games coming to Steam, something which is yet to be realised. They often include old entries which are no longer in development or on their way to Steam too so, don't get your hopes up just yet.
But What If...?
Even if the label is accurate it still doesn't necessarily mean that Half-Life 3 is anywhere near confirmed. As Forbes point out, it could be there for any other reason in the world, especially given Valve's past shenanigans with red herrings and the like (I'm starting to think Newell is the biggest internet troll in the world).
Of course the other games on the list do seem likely to arrive as PC ports sometime in the near future, particularly The Chinese Room’s Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture which was initially announced as a PC game back in 2013 before making the jump to Sony's PS4 as an exclusive.
But, as with all rumours of these sorts, they don't make a whole lot of sense once you take a moment to sit and think about them. Valve Corporation is one of the biggest companies in gaming, their Steam distribution platform boasts more than 125 million active users and corners about 75% of the digital games market.
No longer just a games developer, their reach into digital distribution has made them billions, leading to some speculation that they're just not that interested in software development any longer (a sad trend emerging as of late in the industry).
Valve are infamous for keeping information locked up so tightly, and what little we've heard over the years since Half-Life 2: Episode 2 means that they may never complete the game, or they may release it next week without telling anyone just for kicks. It's impossible to tell with Valve, and they seem happy to keep it that way.
Going through the Steam code with a microscope and a Half-Life 3 focused mind will almost always yield some "evidence" of the existence of the long awaited vaporware, but we won't believe it until we have it in our hands.
Until then, the convoluted wait continues.