In a nutshell: Will we ever see Half-Life 3? It’s a question that gamers have been asking for a long time. There once was, however, a version of the game in development, but it joined the long list of Valve’s canceled projects.
The revelation came in ‘Half-Life: Alyx – Final Hours,’ an interactive storybook written by Geoff Keighley that examines the last decade of game development by Valve Software. It lists several canceled games that Valve worked on between the end of Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and VR title Half-Life: Alyx.
The most notable of these shelved games is Half-Life 3, which sounds quite different from its predecessors. Created in the Source 2 engine, it drew gameplay inspiration from Left 4 Dead, featuring procedurally generated levels, enemy placements, and scenarios. Valve even scanned G-Man actor Frank Sheldon so his likeness could appear in the game, but the unfinished Source 2 and the challenge of building shooters in the engine meant the project was scrapped.
Other canceled titles include a Morocco-set Left 4 Dead 3 that was also canned because of the unfinished Source 2 engine. There was an RPG that drew inspiration from The Elder Scrolls/Dark Souls/Monster Hunter, a Half-Life-themed VR shooter that would have been part of The Lab (Valve’s free VR mini-game collection from 2016), a VR project set on the time-travelling Borealis ship seen in Half-Life 2, a Minecraft-like voxel game called A.R.T.I, and another Left 4 Dead game codenamed Hot Dog to disguise the fact it was a L4D title.
As for whether we ever will see a Half-Life 3, Keighley said that much of the team would like to work on a large, non-VR Half-Life game, but the scale of such a project is a concern. One bit of good news is that the success of Alyx means Valve is “not afraid of Half-Life no more.” There’s also a “top secret project” in development at the company that’s been ongoing since 2018.