Half-Life fan remake Black Mesa releases on Thursday and Half-Life: Alyx is coming to VR platforms later this month, but Half-Life 3 still seems like a firm possibility sometime very soon based on new comments from the developers at Valve.
In an interview with Game Informer published Tuesday, Valve developer Robin Walker indicated Half-Life 3 could still happen thanks to all the renewed interest in the series.
While Walker wouldn't confirm outright whether or not Half-Life 3 was in development when asked, he stressed that Valve's focus is on Half-Life: Alyx right now. "We absolutely see Half-Life: Alyx as our return to this world, not the end of it," Walker said, implying the possibility of more Half-Life games in the future. Alyx could be the start of a renewed era, so if some kind of Half-Life 3 announcement happens, it'll be after Alyx is released.
"Half-Life means a lot to us, and it's been incredibly rewarding to refamiliarize ourselves with its characters, setting, and mechanics," Walker said. "There are Half-Life: Alyx team members who have been at Valve since Half-Life 2, and quite a few who go back to the original Half-Life."
Despite the long gaps of time between Half-Life titles, there remains a great deal of interest among gamers and internally at Valve. "There are also people on the team for whom Half-Life: Alyx is their first time working on this series at all — and many of them certainly hope it's not the last," he said.
All of these comments clearly indicate that Valve wants Half-Life: Alyx to serve as a new beginning for the critically acclaimed but long-dormant series. While it may not be Half-Life 3 in any official capacity, Half-Life: Alyx furthers the overall narrative of the series rather than feel like a spin-off.
"Half-Life: Alyx is a full-fledged entry in the Half-Life series, both in terms of the sheer amount of content as well as the importance and substance of its narrative relative to the rest of the series," he said. "It's a critical part of the larger story, and it does push that story forward." These statements prove that whatever happens in Alyx, it'll propel the overall story forward — they're practically confirming plans for more Half-Life games.
The game may actually have some connection to Half-Life 2: Episode 2's controversial cliffhanger ending. Walker told Game Informer that "it's not a bad idea for players to have refreshed themselves on the events of Episode 2 before starting Half-Life: Alyx," so this new game will probably address the tragic ending in some way.
Alyx has been described as a prequel, which throws this particular comment into question: Is the entirety of Half-Life: Alyx a flashback?
The Inverse Analysis
Half-Life 3 feels inevitable, but it may not be the game we are currently expecting when it finally happens. At this point, Valve seems fully dedicated to auto chess and VR, and the developer doesn't seem interested in pursuing other projects like Artifact or In the Valley of the Gods. Don't be surprised if Half-Life 3 winds up being a VR game if Half-Life: Alyx proves successful. Hopefully, there will be more Half-Life spin-offs at the very least even if a main title doesn't happen.
Half-Life: Alyx will be released by Valve on PC on March 23, 2020.