Well, they’re going to have to keep waiting, but in an interview with Kotaku, Valve designer Robin Walker and artist Tristan Reidford at least revealed why Half-Life 3 has been taking so long: apparently, there was nothing innovative enough to warrant it.
“One of the problems that they all ran into is, at its core, Half-Life has always been an IP where I think we were interested in solving some interesting collision of technology and art that had reared itself.”
So while the first Half-Life innovated by trying to be the first FPS with a real story, and the second one had all those cool physics challenges and puzzles to bring to the table, there was nothing for a third game to break ground with, despite the studio’s many efforts.
And ultimately, it was the release of VR that really got the studio excited to re-visit the Half-Life universe.
“That wasn’t this abstract problem like ‘Hey, we’re working on Half-Life 3. Why should anyone play Half-Life 3? It was a much more tractable thing. We could play with this new platform, see its strengths, and see what we hadn’t been able to do... That was a thing you could start working on any day. You could sit down and start working on that problem.”
Valve has already announced they’re going to use Alyx’s performance to gauge how much VR has a future in the Half-Life series, and it seems reasonable enough that they would want to carry on this momentum, so… who knows? Maybe Half-Life 3 is closer than it’s ever been before.
Or maybe not. We’ll see.