Valve's Making Up Half-Life Along the Way

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Valve's Making Up Half-Life Along the Way

Half-Life's story has evolved slowly over time.

Read Full Article

You know, I've kinda got a theory about half life 3. I'm pretty sure the reason valve're taking forever is just that they can't think of a decent (and I mean decent by valve's very high standards) way to tie up all these different plot threads and ambiguities.

That or they just can't be arsed to finish it when they make so much money off of steam and TF2 hats.

Who says they need to solve mysteries and tie in plot points. I like Half Life because of its ambiguety dammit. I don't want G-Man to give me a big speech about his employers and their ultimate plans at the end. It fucked up ME3 and i don't want it in HL3.

Well NOW everyone wants Grey Mann to be G-man, so it might end-up being an even bigger cross-over than we thought.

I still say they're going to do what Leisure Suit Larry did and just release Half Life 4. I really need to get around to finishing Half Life 2 at some point, I tried before but shooters aren't really my thing and the game doesn't help my opinion by throwing those sentient flying chainsaw pricks at you ten at once.

BMRF = Black Mesa Royal Fuckup?

--

To be honest, I'm cool with Half-Life 2 ending at episode 2.

I think one of Yahtzee's early reviews discusses the dangers of removing the mystery from something-Condemned 2.

Not every story needs to be told, and neither does every past event. That's not to say that that it should never be done (see: MSG 3), just that you always risk spoiling what you've created by adding on too much.

DVS BSTrD:
Well NOW everyone wants Grey Mann to be G-man, so it might end-up being an even bigger cross-over than we thought.

Oh good lord, that would be amazing. My ideal ending: the G-man reveals that he's Gray Mann (and that the Announcer is GLaDOS), but does so in such a way that implies he's just making up bullshit. Except you can't be 100% sure that he's not telling the truth.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Half-Life 2 throws so much at you that the original game didn't hint at in the slightest - the Combine, Dr. Breen, global occupation, a gun that lets you shoot chairs at people - that one could reasonably imagine that it was an entirely new project with references to Half-Life 1 thrown in for marketability.

That was always my theory. I've never read Half-Life: Raising the Bar (and probably never will if Valve can't be assed to republish it), so I'll probably never know for sure, but it sure seems like they started out making a generic one-man-resistance-movement game and turned it into a Half-Life sequel halfway through. A lot of things can change over the course of developing a game.

DVS BSTrD:
Well NOW everyone wants Grey Mann to be G-man, so it might end-up being an even bigger cross-over than we thought.

Never gonna happen. They look nothing alike.

Steve the Pocket:

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Half-Life 2 throws so much at you that the original game didn't hint at in the slightest - the Combine, Dr. Breen, global occupation, a gun that lets you shoot chairs at people - that one could reasonably imagine that it was an entirely new project with references to Half-Life 1 thrown in for marketability.

That was always my theory. I've never read Half-Life: Raising the Bar (and probably never will if Valve can't be assed to republish it), so I'll probably never know for sure, but it sure seems like they started out making a generic one-man-resistance-movement game and turned it into a Half-Life sequel halfway through. A lot of things can change over the course of developing a game.

DVS BSTrD:
Well NOW everyone wants Grey Mann to be G-man, so it might end-up being an even bigger cross-over than we thought.

Never gonna happen. They look nothing alike.

Ah but you forget
Grey Mann is

SPY

I'm just gonna leave this question mark here: ?

Do I win the thread now?

Valve should skip HL3 and release HL4, just as way to mess with people minds :D

I donno, in Half Life, I figured that the G Man was a government employee dealing with government contracts that Black Mesa had, but he came to work with the government via a somewhat benevolent interdimentional group that opposed some large, hinted at invasion force that would end up being the combine. I mean, much of the points here still stand, and the G-Man certainly has plenty of mysteries left, but it does clear up the ambiguities.

you know i don't even care about HL3. the ending of HL2 ep2 was tragic and left so much open that i kind of finished in my mind. although i would like to see what valve would come up with.

G-man... don't know. i'd watched a friend play HL2 and explain some stuff to me before i played halflife. one of those was the g-man. so no mystery for me.

i jumped the HL train late, so don't have like a decade long fandom and investment in it. Still, HL was great HL2 and it's episodes were great look forward to seeing what vlave does next.

I sort of want the next game to be "Half-Life 3 / Portal 3". As one single game that ties them together.
After Portal 2,

so they can focus on Gordon Freeman.

I am now phantasising about GlaDOS reluctantly working together with Black Mesa scientists to stop the Combine -- and an epic battle consisting of revolutionary humans and Aperture turrets and Aperture bots against Combine soldiers ensues. And then it turns out that Aperture Science was what Eli Vance meant when he said he

and GlaDOS helps them defeat the G-Man and his agency...now I just need to think about what role the Borealis plays exactly.
Edit: Okay, I'm not sure about the last part with GlaDOS fighting him in any way, but something needs to happen. Hmm. G-Man being held imprisoned by GlaDOS? As a new test subject? Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Anyway, the crossover game would of course include Gordon Freeman having to use the Portal gun oftentimes.

Well, first things first, HL3 will be Half Life 2: Episode 3, not Half Life 3. It is in their interest to do it this way, as it lets them finish off the Half Life 2 story arc, whilst leaving them free to persue any new story in any new setting for the real Half Life 3. Think about how different the first and second games are; one is a science lab that's gone ape shit, the other is a battle to save earth from alien tyrants. The third will need to find a totally different direction.

"That struck me as odd, too. You want to tie two game universes together when one is infinitely more comedic and outlandish in tone?"

They've always been a single universe, there were references to Black Mesa as a competitor of Aperture Science in the form of a few conference room bar graphs in the first Portal.

Yes, there was a minor reference to Black Mesa in Portal. More than that, what Yahtzee fails to realize is that Portal -and most of what he described in the article- can be referred to as a type of "minimalism." Though, what he gets wrong is that "minimalism" is not an excuse to make things up as you go, but rather the conscious act of showing the audience only a portion of the world and characters you have created, then allowing their own imagination to fill in the blanks.

At its heart, true minimalism always respects the intelligence of the audience. However, it can lead to people who do not understand the concept attempting to emulate it and producing truly shallow works, which is exactly what I fear will happen with gaming. Valve might be talented enough to avoid doing this, but can we say the same for EA? Capcom? Activision?

Minimalism's other major drawback is its lack of ability to communicate more complex philosophies and ideals. There is a reason that Kierkegaard, Kant, Goethe, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, etc. where not minimalists. Sometimes things need be said, and sometimes these things require lines like Dickens' "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death? The last, much the easiest to bestow, O, guillotine!" So, in my opinion, he is making a mistake by not acknowledging other types of writing philosophy that do not meet his own aesthetics so closely.

valve only has the creative freedom to work on what they are passionate about because of steam however, it is not a luxury 99% of other developers have.

just wanting to point that out when we talk about things like freedom and employees first and what seems like a fairly layed back work atmosphere, compared to most devs that are seen as slave masters and drive their employees to work hospital hours to get games finished and out the door.

but i have to wonder what would valve be like today if they had never created steam, would they be like every other publisher/developer out there, or would gabe and co still be gabe and co in a sea of greed and bad business practices.

Ambiguity is only good up until a point. Frankly, I'd love some goddamn answers to the bigger questions. That is, if I could care abut the story anymore. What with Valve jerking everyone around on when they'll actually continue telling the story (and after that massive cliffhanger that's been unresolved for five fucking years too), I find it hard to keep interest these days.

Basically, if you're gonna be a cocktease, you have to have a timely payoff. Else you'll just piss your customer off and give them blue balls.

This is just the "Viewers Are Geniuses" trope, although in a lesser extent. If the vagueness of the quite upfront HL2 affronts you, pray that the Malazan Book of the Fallen series (or lesser examples like the Stormlight Archives) never get a videogamization.

I've pretty much always thought they've been making it up as they go along, and thought that was pretty obvious.

But you know what? Don't care. If they throw a whole bunch of narrative at the wall and get something to stick, it'll be a grand success.

But then, I know two other stories that were pretty clearly made up as they went along-- LOST and Mass Effect, I'm looking at you-- and the amount of material that was just dropped as a "fuck it" and the few threads that were strung together into the final denouement pissed a whole lot of people off, in both cases.

Valve faces an uphill battle with this one. The longer it takes them to stitch these threads togther, the higher their chance of failure and the risk of fan backlash is. I wish them godspeed. Goddammit, even if it ends in the most crappy, expected way possible, I still want to see their honest effort. They have a crack writing team, and think they have a pretty good shot. If. They. Would. Just. Do. It. Already!

Disclaimer: I am a huge fan of Half-Life. Probably to an absurd degree. There isn't one facet of the story I haven't discussed to death somewhere at some point, so I came by this agreement that they are just making it up as honestly as someone really can.

As far as I can tell they've spent this whole time trying to give HL3 a portal gun without it seeming too contrived. Once they complete it, the internet will have ejaculated so much money at them that they can retire, buy an island (a fucking big one too, like Australia or something) and stockpile nuclear missiles so they can launch them at third world countries whenever they get bored.

I was pretty disappointed when at the end of Portal 2, when Chell left the Aperture science facility, there wasn't a column of marching combine troops and striders off on the horizon.

dharmaBum0:
I was pretty disappointed when at the end of Portal 2, when Chell left the Aperture science facility, there wasn't a column of marching combine troops and striders off on the horizon.

The changed Portal 1 before 2 launched so.... they could do it again. Just say'n

Sherpa

SlightlyEvil:
Oh good lord, that would be amazing. My ideal ending: the G-man reveals that he's Gray Mann (and that the Announcer is GLaDOS), but does so in such a way that implies he's just making up bullshit. Except you can't be 100% sure that he's not telling the truth.

Or do it in TF2, end Gray Mann's story arc in a more ambigious Doctor Who Jack Harkness/Face of Boe type thing where he develops a speech impediment somehow, or his life extending machine alters his body, there are endless possibilities.

Seriously though, I don't think they'd try to force TF2 into a combined universe. Portal sure, since it's lore is fairly compact and nothing much is mentioned outside of the facility itself, but a super high-tech moustache-wearing kangaroo-boxing Australian monarchy does not fit particularly well into the fairly grim world of Half Life.

dharmaBum0:
I was pretty disappointed when at the end of Portal 2, when Chell left the Aperture science facility, there wasn't a column of marching combine troops and striders off on the horizon.

I'm pretty sure the two are hundreds if not thousands of years apart.

In this column, we twist a flaw to keep talking about how awesome Valve is.

Let's see, "I'm pretty sure these writers are flying by the seat of their pants and have no sort of story structure or foresight. Awesome! That's how all creativity should be done!"

I'm kind of taking offense to this as a writer myself. I agree completely that you have to let your characters react to the situations, but the situations have to be provided by the writer with some sort of larger plan in place. What happens otherwise? You pray to god the right ideas keep coming before you wind up wasting all your time when your characters are written into a dead end and they have to macguffin their way out.

Not to mention, every writer has different methods that work for them. It's pretty shitty to imply this is what everyone should be doing. As if the success of Valve is all because they don't know what a storyboard is.

OK now I see why the bullshit that's the Half-Life non-story appeals to adventure gamers. I don't mind some ambiguity, but I like it much more when I get a coherent and good story instead of needing to make up my own. My life is ambiguous enough, thank you. I paid for the game, so I'd say the developer is obliged to provide me something more than some vague hints about a story I'll never get to see (especially not with Valve).

And yes, HL2 is a completely different game than HL. I seriously can't understand why people complain about sequels, but always leave out HL2. It's a shitty cash-in that has nothing, NOTHING in common with the original.

DVS BSTrD:
Well NOW everyone wants Grey Mann to be G-man, so it might end-up being an even bigger cross-over than we thought.

Oh SHIT! D:

Honestly though, Half-Life 3 is fast turning into the new Duke Nukem Forever. The longer we wait, the more obvious it becomes that it shouldn't be released. DNF was a tragically unfunny trainwreck that only served to ruin a good joke and piss off the more sensible Duke fans (I'm not a fan since I never played previous titles but I'll be damned if I can't relate to them either way).

As far as not wanting to see HL3 for the ambiguity it would destroy, that's part of why I'm on the fence about whether I'll get ME3 someday, even when it drops to $15. The spoilers I've heard suggest that all the things in the series that were awe-inspiring and interesting because they were unknown get explained, and the explanations are the most disappointing deflations of mystery since we first heard the word "mitichlorians" or however it's spelled.

Seriously, I didn't appreciate how much I liked not knowing the Reaper's motives until I read it in a forum. If more like that is what's in store for me if I play the game, I'd prefer to just stick with 1 and 2 and imagine my own conclusion, because the game is unlikely to make up for that loss.

People arn't complaining about how this implies Valve isn't perfectly perfect.

...I'm so proud of you guys, man. :')

o_O:
What with Valve jerking everyone around on when they'll actually continue telling the story

Um... Valve hasn't been jerking anyone around, people have been jerking themselves around on the matter by constantly asking about it; Valve has kept a consistent "We don't have anything to say on the matter" tone, and they've never brought it up unless someone else specifically asked them about it.

So by all means, be annoyed that it's taking so long for a sequel to come out, but don't act like Valve is specifically dangling a carrot in front of our faces when they clearly prefer to avoid talking about it.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here