Valve Software stepped out of the shadows on Friday to deny a report posted by gaming blog NSS which supposedly quoted an email from Valve developer John Guthrie. He allegedly said that Valve plans to return to E3 next year, and possibly with the first-ever Half-Life 3 trailer and a playable demo for attendees in hand.
"I can’t confirm all too much since the development is still in early stages, but for now I can confirm that we are going to release on both current and next generation consoles, and we will also release the game on our own platform exclusively for PC and Mac," he supposedly wrote. "We hope to have the first trailer ready for E3 2014, which we (after several times not attending) will finally come back to."
The report said that Valve decided not to develop a third episode for Half-Life 2 because the story will vary somewhat from the original (although many of the main characters will remain). Valve also supposedly decided to move on with Half-Life 3 instead because of an improved game engine, new game mechanics, and the next-generation consoles. It will also be merely a single-player game: no co-op or multiplayer components.
Guthrie has been at Valve since 1997 at the earliest, and has worked on the original Half-Life, Half-Life 2, the two Episodes, Opposing Force and Blueshift, and a number of other non-Half-Life titles. That said, if Half-Life 3 were to be on Valve's radar, he would know all about it. Perhaps this is why the NSS report resonated in social networks and public forums the way it did -- because the news seemingly came from Gordon Freeman himself.
But Valve is calling the report "bogus," and only responded because of how quickly the story had spread. As it stands now, it's been five and a half years since the release of Half-Life 2 Episode 2: the next Episode or a full-blown third Half-Life chapter seems more like vaporware at this point, Duke Nukem Forever-style. There have been indirect hints and teases over the years, but nothing actually confirming that either game is actually in development.
Back in September, there was talk that Half-Life 3 would have RPG and open-world elements, seemingly backing up the new comment about "new gameplay elements." The studio hinted to the game back in April 2012 as well, and one employee was supposedly caught on film wearing a Half-Life 3 T-shirt. Seriously, you can't throw bones like that at gamers without them wanting a little meat in the process. The NSS report just proves how bad fans are itching for a new Half-Life title.