This is why you'll never see Half-Life 3

Title This is why you'll never see Half-Life 3
Author Nick Diamon
Posted in News
When January 3, 2014

Gabe Newell spoke to The Washington Post about Valve's history, how they work, and what makes their unconventional organization perfect for them. Valve famously has a fluid structure that allows anyone there to take the reins of a project..

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I guess I have to say good for Valve. They have all the resources to just do whatever kinds of games they want to make on their own timeline. But bad for me, because I don't much give a damn about any Valve game that doesn't have Half-Life or Portal in the title.

I pretty much agree, however I am open to any new games they develop, I am not at all interested in any current or future DOTA or Team Fortress titles. I'll take my DogeCoins elsewhere ;)

But they have hats for Team Fortress! What more does any gamer need?

What a load of fucking bullshit. Clearly someone who stopped caring about making good games a long time ago. Time to take old Gabe behind the shed and put him out of his misery.

They sound like a really great place to work, but man, I just could not possibly care less about multiplayer games, even though they've come the closest of anybody to making me care. I wish they'd turn all that talent to something I actually want to spend money on. But I guess they have no particular reason to when they still get plenty of my money through their cut of Steam transactions.

It would be nice if they resolved the cliffhanger they ended on, even if the result is a small, 2-hour game. Finish what you start, Valve!

Same dolts who told Notch he was not good enough to work for them. Duh.

What's most depressing about this is that Valve has some folks over there who do an incredible job with narrative. It's a shame all this talent seems to be going into promotional stuff -- admittedly funny, but still just promotional stuff -- for Team Fortress or whatever.

Why aren't the folks who told us the stories in Portal and Half-Life telling us more stories? Why isn't Valve putting out more smaller projects like Double Fine? Why aren't they using the enormous commercial success of Steam, TF, and DOTA to take creative chances?

Because using their Most talented people on a game is a terrible waste of COMPANY resources. So they encourage them to work on wonderful "mechanics" like early access instead. People still pay for games, but Valve doesn't need to bother with QA . I never would have thought I'll miss that Nintendo Seal of Quality one Day...

While it is indeed depressing that Valve isn't telling us more stories, I'm willing to give them a pass. Valve runs Steam, and Gabe Newell and the current Valve management have kept Steam a very consumer-friendly service. (Especially compared to services like Origin or Games for Windows Live.)

If Steam's integrity as a platform for independent game distribution is guaranteed from the profits from their brilliant-but-cynically-market-oriented multiplayer games, well, I can think of worse business models.

The last Valve activity that I interpreted as a sign of Half-Life 3's existence was the 2012 hiring of Clint Hocking, creative director of Far Cry 2 and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and brilliant game industry person. Clearly a guy who has significant experience with single players games, so Half-Life 3 might still be stealthily chugging along. I did a Google search and discovered that:

Clint left Valve last month.

Half-Life 3 is officially doomed.

I would have thought Valve had more artistic integrity than that. Sure, SP games aren't wildly profitable nowadays, but I thought Valve was all about making the games they want to make and not always about chasing the highest return, come what may. Isn't that how Portal came about?

It's just a bit disturbing to me that Valve has decided that what they want to do is craft real world collect-a-thons wtih limited edition badges, and medals, and hats, and whatever to hook whales into spending a whole lot of money rather than y'know a game you can just buy and enjoy and finish.

It's frustrating the way they view this. This is how I see it:

1) A conclusion to the Half-Life games will be profitable. Period.
2) Having the entire saga concluded will be a feather in Valve's hat, just as Sony has with titles like Flower and Shadow of the Colossus. This isn't just prestige, it's a mark that the company as a whole is at least somewhat in tune with the customer base and is invaluable in building customer loyalty. Not completing it tarnishes the company's reputation, regardless of profitability and long-term corporate success. See also: Shenmue (Sega) and Deadwood (HBO).

3) Talking so much about the economic decisions that drive the company does not endear said company to the public. Yes, everyone needs to make money to live. No, we don't want to hear about how dedicated you are to the pursuit of it. Nobody would have liked Duck Tales as a kid if Scrooge had constantly put off having adventures in order to streamline his business interests.

That's my opinion, and it's things like this--to say nothing of how disinterested I am in the types of games they now specialize in--that make me more and more leery of Valve and anything they might be working on.

I would disagree, I find Steam the most unfriendly platform out there, especially compared to Games for Windows Live.

GfWL was civilised, it ran cleanly within the game, it notified you of new patches and politely enquired whether you'd like to install them and generally kept itself invisible until you asked for it. Yes, it needed better reliability and a log-on process that could run alongside game launch instead of after it, but it was bang on the right approach.

Steam on the other hand is one of those stuck up people who insist of being your 'buddy' even when you don't reciprocate. From the 'patch or you can't play the game' policy to it's insistence on running in the background after the game has exited or installing it's own store regardless of where the game was purchased it's behaviour simply isn't appropriate for a third party component used in the game by the publisher/developer rather than something the player has chosen to install.

Back on topic, Valve never seemed to be in love with making games. Just think back to how little content TF2 shipped with - it was just a handful of maps - and I'm sure the short length of Portal contributed a lot to it's success. I can well imagine that a more serious game studio would have made it more elaborate and twisty, which would have certainly have improved the gameplay but might have reduced the impact of the plot and made it less attractive to the more casual audience.

Personally I never really understood half life, possibly because I played both titles several years after release. I doubt valve could make a successful half-life 3 in the same mould in these post-call of duty days. What sort of approach would they take? Call of duty seems unlikely, Chronicles of Riddick atmospheric might have been a possibility but would hardly work with steam's pop-ups and socialising. Action overload? The first person equivalent of Men of War maybe?

"THey sound like a really great place to work" I guess not. I think the vagueness\absence of clear objectives and projects and hierarchical structure just means that you are paranoid of getting fired for no reason 210% of the time. Better spend your "free" use of work time to play it safe with hats and cosmetics and worthless "social" stuff instead of taking creative chances.

"games"? They are just releasing virtual cosmetic items and doing grandiose but ultimately pointless stuff like trying to propose linux as the next home entertainment system (wtf). Valve is 50% virtual hats, 50% pointless megalomania, 0% games

Well, I think you've clearly established that you don't have the necessary mindset to thrive in that sort of work environment, if not much else.