Marc Laidlaw's 'Epistle 3'

Marc Laidlaw posted this on his blog tonight, and I think this is the closest we’re going to get to a conclusion to Half-Life.
Some assembly required, as it’s an IP-free bizarro world, but it’s closure.

Episle 3

Now at least we know what the BM team has been working on!

This is the largest quantity of emotions I’ve ever gone through in such a short span of time.
On the bright side, maybe a team of talented modders and soundalike voice actors can make this.

I’m guessing this blew up big. The page won’t even load for me. Did Laidlaw’s website crash?

EDIT: Yes, yes it did.

Here’s an archive version.

DOUBLE NINJA EDIT: Here’s a pastebin version that changes all names to canon characters.


Really sounds like an awesome premise for a game, sad we’ll probably never see it. :frowning:
It’s probably been discussed to death but IDK why Valve hasn’t/won’t make HL2:Ep3/HL3. Sure it might not live up to expectations or hopes, but isn’t it better to make something that gives a sense of closure and finality?

Here the script with the right character. BM Team, please, consider to realize this game for us. I’ll pay for it, even 60 euros. You are truly the only developer I trust for this dead game.

What a bummer.

Could have been a fine game to play.

Wonder what was going through Gabe’s mind when he kept delaying the game over and over.

I guess this is the end then. Well, gentlemens, it’s been a wonderful 19 years. And while it’s sad to see the series I grew up with, fade and die, I must say thanks to Marc for finally giving us the closure we waited for so long.

beautiful…and sad at the same time…I know it’s just my imagination, and will probably never happen…but if the Crowbar Collective and Tripmine Studios joined forces after finishing their current projects, they would made the episode 3 …both teams do great job on their recreations of HL universe

But for now…thank you, Mr. Laidlaw for the long awaited closure :slight_smile:

The website timeouts for me. If anyone else has this issue, here’s a copy:

If I ever finish my mod, I may just make my own spin on this concept. I’m so pissed that Valve never made this, it’s a game that needs to be made.

I’m sure the bms dev team can just do Xen and HL3 - piece of cake!

I want to leave even the slightest bit of hope - it may have been just a dream of Laidlaw’s, but still, hope’s dying.

We got some closure, though. With all this new shit going around, who knows, maybe EP3 will be released for EP2’s 10th anniversary.

Maybe now all these entitled fanboys will stop believing that they were ever owed a game or an explanation.

Oh, who am I kidding.

It’s not a misguided sense of entitlement if the game’s plot was set up with a cliffhanger that brutal. You don’t just end with Episode Two, when you spend years talking about the next episode and just never do it because it’s inconvenient. That is a promise you made to your customers, a promise that was broken. And honestly, considering the tone of that last bit of the Laidlaw leak, it was a promise that Valve broke to Laidlaw as well.

This was a shot across the bow. This was an artful calling of Valve on it’s shit by one of the last of the old guard that made the studio famous.
Marc Laidlaw is a hero for putting all of this out there. And Valve has clearly lost its way as a company.

The fans have spoken. Valve’s own damn writer has spoken. They know what we wanted. And instead, they announced a Hearthstone clone. They deserve every bit of flack they get over this and the only way Valve as a company can fix this is if they get this exact draft out the door or something even more awesome ASAP. If they don’t, they might lose a lot of respect from the people that made them a household name.

Valve needs to stop acting like a publisher. It used to be a developer. It can still do that if they wise up and get to work.

Valve doesn’t owe anyone a game. But the decision to maintain complete radio silence about the game is baffling and, to me, seems to show a complete lack of respect for the community.

Honestly, I hate to say it, but Valve has gained a lot of contempt from me recently. They’re burying all of their people in DOTA 2 and VR, and giving us absolute radio silence about any other projects, and then they go and announce Artifact, their first actual game in who knows how long, and it’s just another fucking card game trying to ride the success of Hearthstone, just like Bethesda did, and just like The Witcher’s devs did. Absolutely no word on anything regarding their other supposed projects in development, not even a nod or acknowledgement that their other games even have a playerbase or fans of any sort. Hell, not even anything about their new fucking engine.

Sorry, I just had to vent a bit.

Man, that girl was flirting with me so hard, and then she just didn’t want to have sex with me. I’m not misguided if I feel entitled to the sex when the blue balls are that brutal. You don’t spend all evening clinging onto my arm and rubbing up on me and then just decide not to have sex with me because you’re a person with bodily autonomy. That’s a promise she made to me, a promise that was broken.

If Valve had collected non-refundable pre-order money for Episode 3, and then gone silent and just never made the game, then gamers would be entitled to something.

Valve lost his passion for the brand. And other project in those years like SteamOS and Steam Machine are a complete commercial failure.

I don’t expect nothing from them. And maybe is better.

I find it funny when reading comments that talk about “final closure”. That’s not what HL was meant to be in the first place, at least in the mind of Marc Laidlaw. HL-1 ended in a cliff-hanger, HL-2 did. HL-2: E3 or HL3 for that matter would have, according to his version of a continuation, ended this way too. It would have brought the story arc of Gordon Freeman probably to an end (he was again rescued by deus ex machina, the vorts, but Alyx taken away by G-man) while being open for another Story-Arc (maybe from Alyx perspective this time ? Or a complete new character and game but still in the same universe like with the Portal series).

There also seems to be a bit of meta-narrative regarding his own history with Valve, the direction they are going in (maybe that is a little bit criticism on how Valve handles things HL3 these days, maybe I am reading too much into it) and how we as the players could and should shape our own ending to HL2 by fanfics, Mods etc., not relying on ValvE to bring closure to the universe or the canon.

“Well, if you care to hear excuses, I have plenty, the greatest of them being I’ve been in other dimensions and whatnot, unable to reach you by the usual means. This was the case until eighteen months ago, when I experienced a critical change in my circumstances, and was redeposited on these shores”

His departure from ValvE 18 month ago. Although the reason he just posted it know, coincidentally with the launch of Valve some almost two decades ago, hasn’t anything to do with it, he confirmed on twitter.

" It has been a circuitous path to lands I once knew, and surprising to see how much the terrain has changed. Enough time has passed that few remember me, or what I was saying when last I spoke, or what precisely we hoped to accomplish. At this point, the resistance will have failed or succeeded, no thanks to me. Old friends have been silenced, or fallen by the wayside. I no longer know or recognize most members of the research team, though I believe the spirit of rebellion still persists. I expect you know better than I the appropriate course of action, and I leave you to it. Except no further correspondence from me regarding these matters; this is my final epistle."

First sentence may refer to how he sees the gaming or story development in games or specifically for HL these days and he did not like where ValvE was taking things and they weren’t sure where to take things (“Enough time has passed that few remember me, or what I was saying when last I spoke, or what precisely we hoped to accomplish”). If resistance is a cover word for HL-3 that means Marc Laidlaw has no Knowledge if it is still a thing internally at ValvE or not, now that he is no longer with them (“I know longer know or recognize members of the research team”). Last could be referring to the fans to just find or make their own closure and wrap their heads around what is canon and what not. He doesn’t care if and where a HL sequel from Valve is going or not going, he wants the community still eager about Half-Life to break the almost prophetic and religious dogma HL3 has over them and just make their own follow-up to HL-2:E2 in form of games (Mods, another Game Developer going for it, etc.) Literature (fanfic, real books), other media (SFM films, maybe real films ? Is that HL movie still a thing ?) or simply leave it to their imagination (“I believe the spirit of rebellion still persists. I expect you know better than I the appropriate course of action, and I leave you to it.”). The last sentence could mean two things: Either in regard to Laidlaw himself being fed up with the questions and that’s where the story line for HL stands for him now (even though not canon) or in reference to the last Epistle aka Episode being the coffin nail for the Gordon Story arc and maybe HL series as a whole in his imagination.

This is all just baseless speculation from my side of course.

That being said, I liked how the story wrapped up here and would have loved to play it ! Ideas like the Borealis being a portal device itself and phasing in- and out of existence would have made for some gorgeous visuals and also interesting, challenging and new gameplay I believe ! I was also keen on the fact that we would have seen maybe a few glimpses of the 7 hour war, Aperture science and (one of ?) the Combines (home ?) worlds ! G-Man should also remain mysterious. If you completely explain him that takes from his character. So I am glad we didn’t get all answers in it.

Regarding ValvE and HL3: they don’t owe the gamers a closure and I am sure their business and development praxis has shifted a fair bit. The fact that developers can work on what they want also indicates that not enough people were keen to pick the HL franchise again and got involved with other projects. If Valve really has 3 new stand-alone titles for VR that also doesn’t mean they “abandoned making games” or “did nothing” . It just means they rather like to focus on other stuff. Endless re-iterations of games or series also tend to loose their vibe (Super Hero movies anyone ? Whole marvel universe kinda thing ?) so sometimes it is best to leave the franchise at the top of your game (what HL2-EP2 certainly was in terms of gameplay for me, not so much of bringing the story to a satisfying closure). I would still love to see them get back to Half Life or Portal sometime in the future, even if it is just a small spin-off. With more focus on games as a service, multiplayer and the social aspect of gaming, getting back to simple single player is also not a option for them. But I don’t like that. Half-Life was always like a interactive movie for me, linear, but highly immersive single player experience. Having Co-op or Online-Modes weaved into the story line would break immersion for me from a story perspective., it just doesn’t fit with HL and the way its story is told. I don’t mind such a game in the same universe though, but then not as a continuation story-wise but in the existing lore and canon like 7 hours war were you can play combines vs. humans or Co-op games with the resistance plotting against the Combine before Gordon arrived.

Just my 2 cents.

Founded in 2004, became one of the first online communities dedicated to Valve’s Source engine development. It is more famously known for the formation of Black Mesa: Source under the 'Leakfree Modification Team' handle in September 2004.