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Half-Life 3 artwork from Valve suggests plans for sequel

Half-Life 3 artwork produced by Valve has been revealed online, suggesting how the FPS sequel to Half-Life 2 might have looked had it ever made it to Steam

Half-Life 3 artwork from Valve suggests plans for sequel: Alyx from Half-Life: Episode One stands inside the ruined Combine Citadel

Half-Life 3 artwork created by Valve has been unveiled on YouTube, suggesting what the long-absent sequel to sci-fi FPS hit Half-Life 2 might have looked like had it ever actually made it to Steam, alongside new production images for Left 4 Dead 2, and a possible early version of Half-Life: Alyx.

Of all the great mysteries in the world – the lost city of Atlantis, the disappearance of Shergar, how they managed to ruin the final season of Game of Thrones – the Half-Life 3 release date is perhaps the most plaguing. Almost 20 years since the launch of Half-Life 2, there has been so little by way of official news that it almost seems like Valve has forgotten that Half-Life 3 was ever even pitched or considered for production. It’s a bizarre, almost Mandela Effect kind of thing, where we all remember there once being a potential sequel to Half-Life 2, but Valve swears it never happened.

And so, these new images feel almost like artefacts from a parallel dimension, that have somehow slipped through a wormhole and landed in our own, bleak, Half-Life 3-less universe. Posted by YouTuber and Valve mega aficionado Tyler McVicker, they allegedly come from one of McVicker’s friends, a passionate collector of Valve merchandise and memorabilia. When Valve relocated its main offices, McVicker’s friend supposedly contacted the developer to ask if there were any mementos from the original building that they could obtain or buy. In amongst the haul, they eventually found several works of concept art connected to Half-Life 3.

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Judging from what’s on show here, Half-Life 3’s world looks considerably more desolate than the Citadel and suburbs of Half-Life 2. There’s twisted Combine machinery, barren desert, and alien fauna encroaching further and further onto Earth. There’s also a concept piece for what looks like another member of the Combine race. Tiny and shrivelled, with no discernible features, it’s essentially a pale, chubby blob, almost like a gigantic tic or termite. It’s difficult to tell, but this looks like a child version of the gelatinous, horrifying Combine Advisors that are behind the entire invasion of our planet, and that we expected to learn more about if Half-Life 3 ever released.

You can also see an image of Alyx and her robotic pal Dog wandering through a strange, Dune-looking valley, which may have been intended for either an additional spin-off focusing on the two characters, or to serve simply as an early concept for Half-Life: Alyx. It also seems that Left 4 Dead 2 initially had more enemy types, as well as various different iterations of its iconic cover art.

There’s plenty here to speculate about, especially since the landscapes on display seems to contradict the icy, arctic environments teased at the end of Half-Life 2: Episode Two. Perhaps Half-Life 3 would have been a more globetrotting adventure, or perhaps the story would have been spread across a third Half-Life 2 episode and then a full sequel. We’ll never know.

Or will we? Check out everything we know about the Half-Life 3 release date, rumours, and news and see if you can piece the mystery together. You should also check out some of the best sci-fi games and best FPS games on PC, to help pass the months, years, and decades before Half-Life 3 finally surfaces.