Blog - Editorial
Written by Ryan Farrenkopf Wednesday, April 20 2011 13:01
This article contains Spoilers, so if you haven't beaten any of the Half-Life 2 games yet, then go buy them and beat them already.
Now that Valve is all done with Portal 2 (which they did an absolutely amazing job on btw), it would seem that there couldn't be a better time to start talking about the next installment for our old friend Gordon Freeman. It's been four years since Valve gave us Half-Life 2: Episode 2, and we've all been dying to see what's next. However, after all this time, will a simple episodic installment really suffice? Sure, we'll be happy we have it, but it won't be enough. We all know this and I'm pretty sure Valve knows this. That's why I've put together this 'Wish List' that I believe Valve would need to accomplish in order to satisfy it's needy fans. So here they are in no particular order:
Graphics Overhaul/New Engine
I have to give credit where credit is due; the Source Engine is incredibly flexible. For Valve to be using the same engine for seven years is a testiment to that. Not to mention all the improvements they added just for Portal 2. Realtime reflections, blob masses, and some incredible dynamic lighting are just a few of the improvements. However, I just don't see this as being enough going past 2011. There are just too many things at its core that the Source Engine can't do. That's why I think we need to see an all new modern version of the Source Engine for the next Half-Life. Something 'Next-Gen', something with bump-maping and dynamic fluid surfaces. Wait...those are all current gen stuff the Source Engine can't do... more reason for a new version then.
Drop The Episode And Just Give Us Half-Life 3
As I said before a short episode will not satisfy anyone after four years. Valve must know this, and it could be why it's taking four plus years to develop. Fans want a full length game, we want to uncover the mystery behind the Borealis, avenge Eli's death, find out who or what exactly the G-Man is, and most importantly kick the Combine's ass and retake Earth! This is a lot of things to fit into an episode, only a full fledged Half-Life 3 could accomplish all this.
Bring In Some New Mechanics.
When the Zero-Point Energy Field Manipulator (or Gravity Gun) was introduced in Half-life 2, it was a game changer. Players found themselves using physics to take out their foes instead of bullets. It was even cooler when the Gravity Gun became overcharged and you could throw people around (although this was short lived). It's a mechanic we all know and love, and while I don't believe it should go anywhere I do believe relying on it has gotten a little stale. So what new mechanic could Valve introduce? Well, if we end up investigating the Borealis, an Aperture Science ship, them hopefully Mr. Freeman will stumble across the Portal Gun.
I really believe that the Portal Gun would fit right in with Half-life. We all know how to use it and we've even seen some mods that put it into Half-Life 2 (see above video). However, it would need some adjustments if it's going to make the transition from the slightly comical world of Portal to the gritty one of Half-Life. The first change; no long fall boots, at least not on the Combine. What this means is that throwing a combine soldier through the air to land on the cold hard ground will kill them. As for long fall boots on Gordan Freeman himself, it becomes tricky. Valve wouldn't want to take away the fall damage, as that could break the game, but at the same time you wouldn't get the Portal puzzles that we'd love to see. So, why not have a short fall boot that allows him to safely fall shorter distances? Just one idea. Something that they should add to the Portal Gun is portal damage. Basically if you get some one half way between two portals then remove it why not have that kill them? It doesn't have to be incredibly gory, but on the level of slicing a Head Crap Zombie with a saw blade. I this could be incredibly useful when fighting larger enemies like striders. You could take our their legs with a portal and immobilize them.
While the Portal gun could fit in, I don't want Valve to completely merge the two worlds. The Gel's the introduced with Portal 2 are great... in Portal 2. They are just too whimsical for Half-Life, and should stay there.
Stay Silent Mr. Freeman
This is an easy one, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Gordon Freeman needs to stay a silent protagonist. As much as I hate the idea of silent protagonists, and as little sense as it makes that everyone trusts this crazy mute who has been known to run around smashing everything he sees with a crowbar, it's too late in the game to give Gordon Freeman a voice. While I don't think Valve would do this, I just thought it should be mentioned.
No Mushy Crap
Love interests can ruin, well, anything they are forced into. So it goes without saying that Half-Life 3 (or Half-Life 2: Episode 3 if they don't listen to my above advice) should not have one. Even if it wasn't a guaranteed way to ruin any story it gets shoehorned into, it would just be awkward. Mainly because Gordan Freeman is a mute and it would be like watching someone fall for a mime. As much as some fans would like to believe, Alyx is not a sex symbol. Some attempts at making her such are just horrifying. If Valve wants to make some subtle hints, that's fine, but don't force an awkward love story down our throats. I trust this is something Valve wouldn't do anyway.
Once Last Thing.
Keep your fans in the loop. We have been in the dark on this for far too long. We need to know what Valve is doing with the series. If they continue to keep us in the dark much longer, then I might have to force myself into some Half-Life fan fiction (I just cringed at the thought of that).
So there you have my wishlist for Half-life 3/Episode 3. Do I think Valve will do all these things? I hope so. Half-Life is their main franchise, and they need to treat it right. This is just what I think the series needs to do; if you have anything to add, feel free to leave it in the comments below.