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Half-Life writer leaks plot for the doomed third episode

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Half-Life writer Marc Laid­law, who left Valve in 2016, posted an ar­ti­cle on his web­site that is al­most cer­tainly the out­line for Episode Three. Ti­tled ‘Epistle 3’, the story con­cerns ‘Gertrude Fre­mont’, who trav­els to Antarc­tica with ‘Alex Vaunt’ to look for a ship called the ‘Hyper­borea’. What in­spired Laid­law to re­lease this in­for­ma­tion, and if Valve ap­proves, is a mys­tery. But the fact he did sug­gests this is a story that won’t be told else­where. Af­ter the fu­neral of Eli Vance, who died at the end of Episode Two, Gor­don and Alyx fly to Antarc­tica to find the re­search ves­sel Bo­re­alis, only to dis­cover that the Com­bine has built a base around it. This is how Episode Three would have be­gun had it ever been made. Af­ter that, too much hap­pens to sum­ma­rize here, but the story ends with Gor­don try­ing to de­stroy the Com­bine home­world, only to catch a glimpse of its ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy and re­al­ize his mis­sion is fu­tile. Gor­don is res­cued by the Vor­ti­gaunts, the G-Man whisks Alyx away, and we end on an­other cliffhanger.

Wal­lace Breen, who sold hu­man­ity out to the Com­bine, was set to re­turn—al­beit with his con­scious­ness trans­ferred into a gi­ant slug. The Bo­re­alis, which is phas­ing in and out of ex­is­tence, would take Gor­don and his com­pan­ions to alien worlds, and let them wit­ness past events. And Alyx would get her re­venge on Ju­dith Moss­man, killing her be­fore set­ting the Bo­re­alis to self-de­struct to de­stroy the Com­bine home­world. It sounds like it would have made for a fan­tas­ti­cally dra­matic Episode Three, which makes Laid­law’s re­veal bit­ter­sweet.

On Twit­ter, Laid­law said his web­site post was “an emo­tional re­lease, not a tac­ti­cal one”. He adds, “It was re­lated to my own in­ter­nal creative process, re­tire­ment, want­ing to put things aside so I can move for­ward.” If Valve does re­turn to Half-Life, it’ll likely start fresh, which might leave a bad taste in the mouth of any­one who’s been wait­ing for a res­o­lu­tion. But Laid­law’s out­line pro­vides some clo­sure. I can’t blame Laid­law for want­ing to put the se­ries be­hind him, and if it helps him move on, so be it. Andy Kelly

It sounds like it would have made for a fan­tas­ti­cally dra­matic Episode

The third Episode would have seen Gor­don and Alyx team up again.

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