THE SPY

Hey, we added a bit to The Spy that older read­ers might en­joy.

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Aweak pound is bad for busi­ness – es­pe­cially if your busi­ness in­volves in­ter­na­tional travel, the pur­chase of highly spe­cialised equip­ment, and the use of coins to dis­tract guards from their rigid pa­trol routes. The Spy likes to throw stout, hefty coins, im­bued with the tran­sient con­fi­dence of a proud banker wip­ing off gravy stains with a £50 note in his right hand, while em­bez­zling mil­lions from an or­phan­age for sick Vic­to­rian chim­ney sweeps with the left. Alas, the cur­rent state of the econ­omy means weak, anaemic coins, which in turn means The Spy has been forced to sub­let.

Hav­ing a ten­ant hasn’t been great for The Spy’s work. Flat­mates, it seems, have a poor grasp of HQ safety – even ba­sic, com­mon sense rules, such as “Don’t put bread in the de­coy toaster” or “The pen is a gun, the gun is a lighter, the lighter is a re­mote det­o­na­tor for enough ex­plo­sives to de­tach Swan­age from the main­land”. As if that wasn’t bad enough, The Spy was forced to re­lo­cate the dag­ger col­lec­tion, be­cause “night as­sas­sins” is some­how not a good enough rea­son to stuff them in­side of ev­ery pil­low.

If only The Spy had the pa­tron­age of a rich bene­fac­tor – per­haps Valve, who must have plenty of spare cash thanks to the abil­ity to earn money via sem­i­nal shoot­ers, vir­tual hats, and a per­cent­age cut of ev­ery game sold on Steam. So much money that, al­most ten years since Half-Life 2:

Episode 2, there’s no se­quel in sight, de­spite con­stant on­line clam­our­ing. The fer­vour is enough to make you won­der if fans would sac­ri­fice a beloved fam­ily pet for a chance to play Half-Life 3. Per­haps no one would go that far, but they might in­sult an age­ing ham­ster, or rough up an ir­ri­tat­ing par­rot.

De­spite these hy­po­thet­i­cal mild per­ils, Half-Life’s fu­ture re­mains in doubt – es­pe­cially if you be­lieve an anony­mous Valve source quoted in a recent Game In­former in­ter­view. “There is no such thing as Half-Life

3,” said the in­ter­vie­wee, bluntly. “Valve has never an­nounced a

If only The Spy had the pat ron­age of a rich bene­fac­tor – per­haps Valve

Half-Life 3. The clos­est they’ve come is, af­ter Half-Life 2, they said there would be three episodes.” This is true enough: at some point over the past decade, ev­ery­body de­cided they sure hadn’t waited this long for Episode 3. Valve con­tin­ued to say noth­ing. None of this is to say that a

Half-Life project doesn’t ex­ist. In fact, it sounds as if there have been many at­tempts. “I know at var­i­ous times there have been dif­fer­ent groups of peo­ple that have started things that they hoped and imag­ined would be

Half-Life 3,” said the source. “All of

half a life

De­spite Valve’s un­usual struc­ture, all re­ports – both here, anony­mously, and pre­vi­ously from other for­mer Valve staffers – sug­gest there’s a guid­ing hand. “There’s some­thing with that third episode that isn’t sit­ting right with Gabe and other peo­ple at Valve,” says Game In­former’s source. “Ul­ti­mately it just starves to death. The peo­ple that tried to give it life find them­selves bet­ter off work­ing on other projects.”

The source re­veals some of the more ec­cen­tric

Half-Life projects that were sup­pos­edly be­ing con­sid­ered – an RTS and a live-ac­tion ad­ven­ture – but ul­ti­mately, the in­ter­vie­wee seems pes­simistic about

Half-Life 3’ s chances. Of course, it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing that this is a sin­gle source, and that none of this in­for­ma­tion has been ver­i­fied. Or, as Gabe Newell put it in a recent Red­dit Q&A, “I per­son­ally be­lieve all uniden­ti­fied anony­mous sources on the in­ter­net.”

Will Half-Life 3 ever be re­leased? The Spy doesn’t know. Here’s what The Spy can say for sure: there used to be a plasma pis­tol shaped like a hair dryer on this desk, and if The Spy doesn’t go and re­trieve it, The Spy can look for­ward to an­other week of search­ing for a non-va­por­ised flat­mate on Gumtree. Spy out. The Spy them are ac­tual, valid things that are hap­pen­ing in­side of the walls of Valve. To pick one thing and say, this was ab­so­lutely Half-Life 3, or this is

Half-Life 3, that’s hard to do given the na­ture of how Valve works.” If true, this is Valve’s oft-touted cre­ative free­dom in ac­tion.

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