One of the games I hold closest to me is Half-Life. The original Half-Life was the start of Valve, with Gabe Newell riding off of the money he made at Microsoft in the early days (after leaving the company) to form Half-Life. It nearly didn't make it, after years of development hell and reboots of virtually all parts of the game, it was released to great applaud from both critics, and fans.
Half-Life sits on the same throne as Quake and Unreal for me as first-person shooters that defined my teenage years. LAN parties with those first-person shooters were always fun, but it was Half-Life that stood out from the rest. It had a gripping story line, unique puzzles, for it's time - advanced AI, and so much more.
When Valve finally released Half-Life 2, after the hacking scandal with lost source code, it was met by even bigger success. At the time Valve was launching Steam, which was hated by virtually every gamer on Earth. Steam took a couple of years to win gamers' hearts, but it well and truly did. Now it has become the digital distribution platform for gamers, beating virtually every other competitor by a mile.
We've seen a couple of Episodic releases to Half-Life 2, but the last one was Half-Life 2: Episode 2 which was released all the way back in 2007 - seven very, very long years ago. Most people thought we would've seen Half-Life 2: Episode 3 by now, but I think Valve have been waiting... why? Continue reading for my thoughts.
I think Valve were waiting to blow everyone's minds away, on a scale much larger than Half-Life 2. For this amount of time to have passed, Valve can't just release something that will impress - it'll have to do something on a much, much larger scale. There are multiple products and services that Valve are set to launch in the coming months - Steam OS, Steam Box, Steam Machines and Steam Controller. Why would you release something that will completely change the face and structure of your company, without the release of some killer apps.
These killer apps will, in my opinion, be released in the form of Half-Life 3, Left 4 Dead 3, and Team Fortress 3. With these three games, Valve could well and truly change the entire gaming market on its head. Sure, we have 'next-gen' consoles, which are not even pushing out today's titles at 720p at 60FPS, let alone 1080p at 60FPS.
Half-Life 3 would be the absolute killer app for Steam Box, with Valve choosing to move toward the free-to-play system that seems to be making them even more money. Team Fortress 2 went free-to-play a while back, and saw even more interest in the game, making Valve more money than it did when TF2 was being sold.
If Half-Life 3 were to be unveiled at E3 2014, it would overshadow every single other game at the show - no matter what other game it was, Half-Life 3 would be the absolute star. Now Valve, just give it to me already, please?