New Documentary Reveals Why Valve Never Finished HL3 or Left 4 Dead 3
We all know Valve. While they're notorious as the creators of the online PC gaming marketplace Steam, they're also well-known for their handful of video game franchises, such as Half-Life, Portal, and Left 4 Dead. When it comes to their games, though, fans have had a... tumultuous relationship with them. It's no secret that Half-Life 3 (or Half-Life 2: Episode 3) never came to fruition. Episode 2 released all the way back in 2007 as a part of their Orange Box bundle, ending on a devastating cliffhanger that hasn't gotten a proper resolution until 2020. With the release of Half-Life: Alyx, Valve is interested in starting up the series again, and said cliffhanger has since been addressed (no spoilers here, don't worry). But that begs the question: What happened to Half-Life 3? Why all these years of silence? We don't have to speculate anymore, as the answers to all of this come in the form of a new documentary entitled Half-Life: Alyx - Final Hours.
This documentary just recently released on Steam for the asking price of $10. It was put together by Game Awards host Geoff Keighley, and rather than being a simple movie-like documentary, it's an interactive experience that sifts through Valve's history as a company, their games, and what happened over this past decade. There's a lot of insider info to be found here, but the biggest snippets include news about two games that never saw the light of day: Half-Life 3 and Left 4 Dead 3. Let's start with Half-Life. As it turns out, Valve ended up with a total of 5 cancelled Half-Life projects over the years. One of these projects was indeed Half-Life 3, and it would've been pretty different to what we expected. Gone would've been the linear gameplay of the other games; in its place, an open world with randomly generated enemy placements and weapons. While this may not sound groundbreaking, it would have been at the time. The reason it never took off? Source 2.
Valve was heavily invested in the development of the Source 2 engine, the follow-up to the Source engine that was used to create most of their modern games. The real brunt of its development coincided with Half-Life 3's development, making it difficult to make the game a reality. Switching engines mid-development is no easy task, and by the time they did, the novelty of its newer style of gameplay would've worn off (which makes Alyx's VR gameplay feel all the more appropriate). The same fate befell Left 4 Dead 3, a game fans have been speculating about for so many years. Like Half-Life 3, development ran parallel to the creation of Source 2. Left 4 Dead 3 would have featured huge zombie hordes that numbered in the hundreds, and it would've sent the series into open-world (the first two games were linear affairs). Sadly, Source 2 wasn't ready enough, and the project was shelved as a result.
It's rather refreshing to get this insight into Valve after they've been completely quiet on it all since 2007. Better yet is that this info is coming straight from the source, rather than the rumors and hearsay we've had to work with all this time. It's a shame to hear the fate of those projects; makes one wonder what could have been. Despite that, Half-Life: Alyx set a new, fresh start for the Half-Life series. Even with its VR-exclusive entry price, the game continues a story fans long though to be dead, and renews hopes that we'll finally see the conclusion to Gordon Freeman's story someday. If you're interested in the documentary, make sure to head over to its Steam page for more information. With the release of Alyx and the documentary both, I think it's finally safe to say that we can put the 'Half-Life 3 confirmed!' jokes to bed once and for all.